January 16, 2022

Reflection for Second Week in Ordinary Time


Everyone loves a wedding. We often cry at weddings, though, and it’s hard to tell why. There must be some part of us that is deeply moved when we hear two people making a covenant with each other to love in season and out of season, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, for better and for worse (imagine THAT), even when there is no guarantee that there will be more of the better than of the worse. This is a covenant that defies common sense, yet we know that people do it willingly, happily, hopefully, lovingly.  I believe that this desire to belong to another by means of a covenant of love is a desire rooted in our very soul from the moment of our conception, which mirrors the covenant God desires to make with every soul.  He does, you know.


Today’s Gospel, found in John 2:1-11, is the story of a wedding to which Jesus and His mother had been invited. Jesus brought His disciples. Perhaps they hadn’t been part of the headcount, those twelve thirsty young men, and at some point in the wedding the wine ran out. Not short—but out. It’s one thing when there’s no more rib roast, or wedding cake, but to be out of wine at a wedding would be a source of terrible embarrassment for the groom. The mother of Jesus may have been part of the kitchen crew, or she may have noticed this fact because she was seated near the wine table, but notice she did, and wanted to prevent a calamity for the young couple—not to mention the guests. And knowing that Jesus could do the impossible, she simply whispered to Him, “They have no wine.”


Jesus knew that this first miracle of His would be the beginning of what we call The Public Life, the revelation of His supreme power, even of His identity as God. He wanted Mary to know this, (My hour has not yet come), but because His mother asked him, and to spare the bride and groom a disastrous memory of what should have been the wonderful beginning of their marriage, He not only gave them more wine, but gave them wine that was remarkable for its taste. I don’t know much about what makes wine ‘the best,’ but the master of ceremonies did, and he complimented the groom on this surprise ending to what must have been a magnificent celebratory meal.


This first miracle of Jesus took place at a wedding, a ritual covenant of love, not by accident.  Many scripture scholars and theologians note that this was a special recognition of the sanctity of marriage. One can’t help making the connection to the covenants God had made over and over with His chosen people throughout the Old Testament to show His love and fidelity to them.  It seems that God likes to go out of His way to convince us of His goodness and the delicacy of His bond with the soul. Marriage, covenant, love, wine, thoughtfulness, delicacy, generosity—all of these are part of this short Gospel story that opens the public life of Jesus, and the gift He chooses to give not only to the bride and groom in the ancient town of Cana, but to each of us, often without our asking, sometimes without our even realizing He has done so.


Such a tender God we have. How simply should we ask Him, through the intercession of His mother, for what we need, trusting He will grant it. And how awake we should be to the countless miracles He performs for us in the course of a lifetime in order that we may draw nearer to Him.


The next time I am present at a wedding, I will cry at the thought of God’s love surrounding us even in the midst of virus, bad weather, uncertainty, disappointment.  After all, the wine He gives us will always be the best.


God bless you.


“With Mary, our lives continually proclaim the greatness of the Lord and the joy experienced in rendering service to Him.”

Holy Rule

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