Second Sunday after Epiphany—18 January AD 2009
stone water-jars were placed there . . .
holding two or three measures . . . and they filled the jars to the brim.
Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
we should ask ourselves, “How will this miracle be brought about in us?”
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.”
a fool would stay outside, rejecting Jesus and Mary—drinking warm water from a