Mission Society of the Philippines

Homilies

2nd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME: THE FIRST SIGN, THE WEDDING AT CANA

Jn 2:1-11


TO THOSE WHO have joined a pilgrimage in the Holy Land, they must have seen Cana in Galilee for this is one of the places being visited by the pilgrims. Cana is the place of Jesus’ first sign (or miracle, if you will). In fact, two signs (miracles) took place in Galilee: a) the changing of water into wine in Cana, and b) the remote healing of an official’s son.

Let us go back to some of the details presented in the gospel:

First and foremost, the gospel tells that “There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.” It is believed that Mary is a close relative of the married couple. So, Jesus is also present in that event. There is a symbolism in Jesus’ attendance in that wedding. His presence is a sign that He blesses the love between man and woman joined in marriage. In the book of Genesis, we hear that God instituted marriage at the beginning of creation. And Jesus confirmed it and He elevated it to the dignity of a Sacrament, symbolizing His love for the people.

Secondly, a problem occurs in the wedding; the wine runs out. Then Mary told her Son Jesus, “They have no wine.” The concern of Mary for the embarrassing situation indeed suggests that she is a relative of the married couple. Mary intercedes for the needs of the married couple. Mary is indeed the Helper and Intercessor of the believers. Many Catholics have been attracted to Mary due to this fact. Mary intervened at Cana for the needs of others, and she also continues to make heavenly intercession for all who call on her. Pope St John Paul II explains that Mary places herself between her Son and mankind in the reality of their wants, needs and sufferings. She puts herself “in the middle”, but in her position as mother.

Thirdly, what happened next is the sign or the miracle. Jesus orders the servers to fill the six water jars with water. And the water turns into wine. Richard Crashaw, an English poet and Catholic convert, describes it poetically, “The conscious water saw its God and blushed.” There is rich symbolism in this sign or miracle. The transformation of water into wine anticipates the transubstantiation of wine into blood when Jesus gives himself to the world in the Eucharistic liturgy.

The ‘signs’ in the gospel of John have a different emphasis. The signs have a role in the development of the faith of the people. The gospel passage ends with the phrase: “And his disciples began to believe in him.” Because of the signs, people have come to believe in Jesus.

While food is associated with satisfaction to hunger; the wine is associated with delight on the part of the guests. And people should not be stingy when it comes to wine, and in fact the good wine must be served first, as the headwaiter suggests. The abundance of the best wine demonstrates that God is infinitely generous, to the point of giving to us his greatest gift: His Son, Jesus.

The best wine comes only after a long period of waiting. And thus, Jesus came to us after a long preparation in the history of our salvation. Jesus is the greatest gift of the Father to us, and we are reminded of this fact every time we gather for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. We commemorate the Father’s gift in our banquet of bread and wine. AMEN.


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