Jesus’s miracle at the wedding in Cana is the third epiphany in the of the trilogy of epiphanies: (1) the Visitation of the Magi; (2) the Lord’s Baptism; (3) the Miracle at Cana. During each of these epiphanies, God’s power is revealed in the person of Jesus Christ, whose actions are accompanied by miraculous signs, which point to our Lord as the Savior of all mankind.
These signs also hint at hidden mysteries of our faith. By contemplating these signs in our hearts in prayer, we can penetrate the depths of the mystery and strengthen our faith.
A Marian Déjà Vu
The episode at Cana also hearkens back to this year’s Gospel reading for the feast of the Holy Family, when Jesus told his anxious Mother: “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” This time, it’s “What is this concern of yours to me?” Caring mothers might be appalled at these curt, offhand remarks. Yet, to the contrary, Mary who pondered the signs and wonders that accompanied Jesus’ life, refers us back to Christ: “Do whatever he tells you,” and grow in your faith.
Six Stone Jars for Six Days of Creation
Jesus tells the servants to fill six stone jars (signifying 6 days of creation) with water (water he created). Anyone paying attention witnessed the miracle of transforming water into wine. To the pondering heart, this event was a sign of a grander miracle. God, who parted the waters of the Red Sea, walked on water, transformed water into wine, and from whose pierced heart on the cross poured forth blood and water, can also transform ordinary bread and wine into his own body and blood. Through the sacraments, God transforms his creation and makes all things new.
Hearkening signs: Sacraments of our redemption
The epiphany at Cana reveals God’s power to us in the sacraments, which are outward signs of the graces they confer on our souls. This miraculous event prefigures the institution of three sacraments: Marriage, for the event takes place at a wedding feast; Baptism, through the abundance of water used in this miracle; the Eucharist, since the transformation of water into wine brings to mind the transformation of wine into Christ’s precious blood. Hence, the event and accompanying signs also point us to the Hour of his Sacrifice on the Cross, the one true sign of our redemption.
I’m so glad you posted this. Lately I have been pondering how people say “I believe” and then question miracles. I find it incredulous. If one can believe in God and in Heaven then why is so hard to believe in such mysteries of faith as miracles? I’ve had this experience with others questioning many of the mysteries of faith. Anyway- I’m blabbering- Have a wonderful Sunday!
Blabbering? Definitely not.
The problem is that when people start rationalizing the faith, “belief” can mean anything. Faith becomes “what I personally can accept as true according to my criteria.”
The beauty of our Christian faith is that Christ never imposes. We are always free to believe, and therefore to love.
Thanks for your comment, Foraging Squirrel!
I have found that meditating on this mystery with a little bit of Shakespearean analysis helps tremendously. For instance, when reading Shakespeare, there are very few stage directions or directions on the body language because the body language is in the written language. Shakespeare suggests the action through the speakers content without telling what it is. So when thinking about “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not come,” I think about how tenderly Mary looks at Jesus and how He returns that gaze because perhaps they both understand the gravity of this moment. This is it. His first public miracle! It’s the beginning of the end of this part of the journey. He is no longer going to be able to find a moment of rest because people will flock to Him. Their little holy family is about to exponentially grow. He is going to sanctify marriage, the family, the world by this sacrifice. The mission is becoming revealed. One, two, three…Go! She already knows He will help even though He doesn’t say that because she tells the servers His answer. She saw it in His eyes, His most loving gaze. What a courageous mother to donate her child to the world! And He, He knew what this would mean for her. This was the first manifestation in public of their mediation to the world of humankind. They both knew what it meant, and they both remained a…team. That’s some of what I see in this mystery. It is absolutely beautiful! Complete beauty!
Beautiful reflection! It is interesting that you saw this in light of Shakespeare, because when I was reading this passage the role play between Hamlet and Gertrude came to mind, as an antithesis, of course. It did not fit with this post to add that, but I find it interesting that we were both thinking of Shakespeare.
Studying Shakespeare has its advantages. I always found it interesting that many scholars of literature can glean so much from reading Shakespeare, Joyce, Eliot, etc. with careful analysis but are unable to do this with Scripture…mostly because they have never really read it. If they tried to put as much effort into reading John as they do in other writers, I wonder what would happen. God bless…
Solid post, James. This actually went well with our priest’s homily today…
My thanks, as always!
Thanks, JTR. I had Fr Jason Smith as a homilist this morning. Great homily!
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