2ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – C
While the other evangelists usually called the supernatural works performed by Jesus as miracles, St. John called them signs. While the other evangelists reported many miracles in each of their gospels, John recorded only seven signs in his gospel. The Wedding in Cana being the first of the seven signs in the Gospel of St. John and never reported by the other evangelists was very important because of its symbolic or representative value. As a sign, it is meant to reveal the mystery of Jesus.
In the Old Testament, the relationship of God and Israel was likened to the groom and bride respectively and God being the groom would provide the finest wines. In the New Testament, Jesus would refer to Himself as the bridegroom (Mk 2:19; Mt 9:15; Lk 5:34). During the time of Jesus a wedding banquet usually lasted a week in the case of a first marriage and three days in case of a widow remarrying. The groom would be the host of the banquet and provided wine for the guests. In this particular wedding in Cana, the bridegroom was unable to provide the wine for the guests so that St. John presented now Jesus as the bridegroom of humanity who would provide the wine.
Worth mentioning are the meanings of the different symbols used in the wedding for a better understanding of the story. The presence of Mary is very important in the story; John never mentioned her name in his gospel because for him Mary was the representation of the Church. Jesus addressing her as “woman” here would be repeated in the scene beneath the cross (Jn 19:26) which was in reference to the “woman” in Gen. 3:15. Mary being aware of the need of wine brought it to the attention of Jesus who acted in obedience of her so that the first miracle of Jesus happened through Mary’s intercession. It is said that Mary spoke only seven times in the gospels; “Do whatever he tells you” would be Her last recorded words. That would be the most enduring message of Mary to all the disciples of Jesus. The six stones jars which were used for purification represented the incomplete (the number six) and the hardened (stone) Jewish rituals which were useless. The water of the Old Testament used for ritual washings prescribed by the mosaic Law, now futile, was transformed into the wine of the New Testament. The bridegroom of Cana, unable to provide enough wine in his own wedding, was superseded by Jesus as the new bridegroom. The quality and quantity of the new wine alluded to the preciousness and the abundance in the heavenly banquet of Jesus.
The Wedding of Cana as a sign revealed Jesus in His divintiy as the new bridegroom of humanity and we as members of the Church are His bride. Every time we celebrate the Eucharist we re-live the wedding of Cana and at the same we are given a foretaste of the heavenly banquet where God will manifest His glory.
The door swings open and I behold a majestic hall
Crystals with most precious stones adorn the wall
Transparent as glass are the flowers in pure gold
Ground covered with sand made of pearls untold
Around the table are twelve chairs of agate, jasper,
Emerald, onyx, carnelian, yellow quarts, sapphire,
Beryl, topaz, turquoise, amethyst and chalcedony
The light in the inner chamber shining so brightly
Where all my friends are gathered clothed in white
Greeting me a hero’s welcome beyond all my delight
To my amazement, the banquet is prepared for me
It is my wedding to my Beloved Lamb in eternity.
(one of the poetographs in my book Emptiful)