Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!
Second Sunday after Epiphany—18 January AD 2009

Six stone water-jars were placed there . . .
each holding two or three measures . . . and they filled the jars to the brim.[1]

Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English

    In today's Gospel, we are privileged to hear about the last of the three events of the Epiphany, the working of our Lord's first miracle at the wedding feast at Cana.  And, it is a particularly beautiful and important story because it tells us something about the relationship of Jesus to Mary, and of their relationship to those around them.

    Our Lord does not seem to have intended to work this miracle.  But Mary noticed the embarrassment of the bridal couple—she wasn't even asked.  And, notice that she doesn't ask Jesus; she simply tells Him, “they have no wine.”  And she doesn't even seem to pay attention when he raises an objection about it being the wrong time to start working miracles.  She just tells the servants to follow our Lord's instructions.

    Our Lord does not seem to have intended to work this miracle, but there is no possibility of Him disappointing and letting His Blessed Mother down.  And, perhaps we are not to surprised when we read that the wine was the best that anybody had ever tasted.

    But this Gospel narrative is more than just a story about something that took place 2,000 years ago.  It should remind us of several things that are realities in our own lives.

    St. Augustine tells us that the six empty water-jars are symbolic of our human existence.  Each jar represents a human soul; alive with natural life, but some how lacking.  The jars are not full, and what they contain is relatively common.  Yet through the mediation of the Blessed Virgin, and the intervention of our Lord, those still human vessels are capable of being tilled to the brim with an exquisite beverage—a sort of divine elixir by which our “stone pots” take on a little share of God's divinity.

    This water made wine is a symbol of what we pray for at each Mass, as the priest adds a drop of water to the wine in the chalice, and prays “that through the mystery of this water and wine, we may become partakers of His divinity, who humbled Himself to partake of our humanity.”  The water made wine is but a foreshadowing of the human soul which is elevated by Sanctifying Grace to contain a spark of the Life of God Himself.

    Now, we should ask ourselves, “How will this miracle be brought about in us?”

    Well, in one sense, it has already been brought about.  Through Baptism, the vessel of our soul was filled to the brim with Sanctifying Grace, and we became a temple of the Holy Ghost.  And, even if we should loose that grace through serious sin, it is restored through Sacramental Confession.

    But, in another sense, this transformation of water into wine—of humanity into divinity—is something which must go on continuously.  First of all, it must keep going on because it can never be complete—obviously, we will never become God—but we should go on and on trying to become more and more like Him.

    And this isn't as difficult or impossible as it might sound at first.  The Blessed Mother has noticed our need, just as she saw the embarrassment of the couple at Cana.  And she will inform our Lord in a way that we could never dare—We would have to go on our knees and beg, and be judged on the basis of our own very little worth—She, on the other hand, will go as His Mother, with every expectation and assurance that her request will be fulfilled on our behalf.

    This Mass also contains some down-to-earth things that we can do in order to grow closer to God—ways in which we can use His grace to gain His grace.  Saint Paul tells us today that we are all part of Christ's Mystical Body—dependent upon one another—each with our contribution to make.  We can do our part:  “with mercy, with cheerfulness . . . loving without pretense . . . hating evil and loving what is good . . . loving one another with fraternal charity . . . fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope . . . patient in tribulation, persevering in prayer . . . blessing those who persecute . . . rejoicing with those who rejoice, and weeping with those who weep.”[2]  By loving God in our fellow Christians, we thus come to love God Himself more, drawing closer to Him, and filling our vessels with His Grace.

    “We are not of this world” —our focus is on the things of heaven—yet we are in the world, and must work out our salvation through it.  God made the world, so it must be good.  Men and women are good, and marriage is good, and food and drink are good, and friendship and celebration are good—otherwise Jesus would not have been at Cana to work this first miracle.  It is only when we loose sight of our heavenly goal, and settle for an earthly one, that we take the goodness of God's creation and distort it into something evil.

    This Mass is an invitation to a divine wedding feast.  Mary has seen our need and told the angels to set a place for us at her Son's table.  Through her intervention, “the good wine has been saved until now.”

    Only a fool would stay outside, rejecting Jesus and Mary—drinking warm water from a stone pot.



[1]   Gospel: John ii: 1-11.

[2]   Epistle: Romans xii: 6-16


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