by Andrew Consiglio - Leader and Director of Youth Fellowship
Christmas and New Year celebrations are over and many of us have been to some sort of party or another. Many times, there are people who are what we call ‘the life of the party’ – not necessarily because they are loud but because they have the sort of personality and presence which tends to fill a room. Somehow with them or without them its not exactly the same!
In heaven, God the Father calls together a group of angels for a quick consultation with the ‘Celestial Board of Miracles’. What do you propose Jesus first miracle should be? All agreed that it would have to be something amazing. One angel suggested that He delivers people from loads of demons, another one that He heals 20 lepers, another one that he goes to a cemetery and raises 70 people from the dead. God told them that He would take their suggestions into consideration.
God has a knack for appearing in the most insignificant and unlikely places.
When Jesus is about to start his public ministry, the angels wait in eager anticipation to see what God the Father decided. On the appointed day there was great excitement because they heard that Jesus was going to perform his first miracle in a small place called Cana (God has a knack for appearing in the most insignificant and unlikely places – a cave, Nazareth, Cana, a cross, a tomb). Had they invited 20 lepers? was the groom going to drop dead and Jesus would raise him? And they watched and waited and were amazed at what they saw.
The passage from John 2:1-11
Jesus was and is the life of the party, the giver of Life who fills our lives. Cana was the first of the Seven ‘signs’ we find in John’s gospel. What did it point to? what is God revealing about Himself in this ‘epiphany’?
- God’s love is Providential
- God’s love requires a Response of Faith
- God’s love Transforms us
God’s love is Providential
In those times, the wedding could last up to an entire week (It is providential that I wasn’t born then). It was a very special celebration as it is today – after all you need to keep in mind that the love between a man and a woman is God’s favourite image of how He loves us and His Church.
The bridegroom’s family would also host the extended family, providing them with meals. There was a lot of planning and foresight needed to make sure that there was enough of everything. In the wedding feast however, they had run out of wine due to this lack of foresight – and this was very embarrassing in that culture.
But God has has best foresight even when we do not. That is the meaning of ‘providence’ (pro-vedere) – that which is seen before. Jesus’ Presence at the wedding was ‘providential’!
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
God’s love is providential. Nothing is too insignificant for Him, even a couple running out of wine at their wedding. He does care about he details.
What matters to me matter to Him.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
(1 Peter 5:7)
On another note, this also teaches us that it’s very wise to invite Jesus to your wedding, your relationship and your marriage!
God’s love requires a Response of Faith
The role of Our Lady here is very significant she is the Great Intercessor, the Untier of Knots.
She told Jesus ‘they have no more wine’, in great faith that despite the fact that His ‘hour’ had not yet come, He would do something about it.
As sin came through the first woman Eve, so Mary as a second Eve, through her faith and obedience is instrumental in giving us Jesus and also the birth of His first miracle. Our Lady’s intercessory role is effective always.
The key line in this passage is ‘ ‘Do whatever he tells you to’, words that matched her words to the angel when she was told she would be the mother of Jesus: Let is be done to me according to His will. In fact this is what trusting God is all about. Faith consists in doing whatever Jesus has told us to do, regardless of how difficult or seemingly pointless it may appear at the time.
God’s love Transforms us
In the Bible water and wine both symbolise the Holy Spirit whose Presence in us fills us with joy and is the real agent of transformation.
Note the 3 times there has been this transformation in the story of salvation
- In Egypt, the water was transformed into blood (River Nile) – for the Egyptians, the Nile was a false god that they worshipped. They and the people of God had to realise that to break free from the bondage of sin, we first have to experience the bitterness and ugliness of sin. Our idols just don’t satisfy – rather they have the potential to deliver spiritual death! This is what the Holy Sprit begins to show us to lead us to conversion.
- In Cana, the water was changed into wine – lifeless living is transformed when Jesus is there and fills us to overflowing with His Holy Spirit. This happens at the time of our conversion and first encounter with the Gospel.
- In the Upper Room (Cenacolo) Jesus changes the wine into blood – His blood. This points to His Death and Resurrection and to the Eucharist. All the grace we need to be saved and transformed, first received in our baptism, and then sustained through prayer and the Eucharist, flows from there. The life-giving blood of Jesus, which cleanses us from sin, prepares us for the ultimate wedding feast in Heaven.
To be transformed into wine God employs both the extraordinary and seemingly ordinary. Whilst the miracle at Cana was a sign of the Lord’s extraordinary intervention which He still does today, wine is ordinarily made through a much longer and arduous process. The grapes have to be crushed and the grape juice needs to go through fermentation.
We should expect God to work in both ways in our lives. Our moments of pain and struggle, the everyday challenges that life presents, are used by the Lord to transform us and make us more holy. Needless to say, we need to co-operate and respond with faith and sincere prayer:
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to loose living. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.’