Today’s Thoughts: I have a few thoughts related to the story in our Gospel today…
First, there is the interaction between Jesus and his mother. Mary to was a guest at the wedding. The fact that she learned that the wine had run out before the other guests, and that she really wanted to help the wedding party seems to indicate that Mary was a favored guest. She may have been a good friend of the bride and groom or the families. Jesus may have been invited because he was Mary's son.
The issue at hand was that the wine had run out. Wine was a very common drink for all the people. Wine was also a very important part of a wedding celebration. At most weddings, great quantities of wine were consumed and the guests expected the wine to last until the celebration ended. It would have been a real humiliation to have the wine run out before the celebration ended.
When Mary found out about the lack of wine she went right to Jesus to seek his help. If Jesus could help, it would spare the humiliation of telling the guests that the wine was gone. Mary does not ask Jesus for help. She tells him only that the wine is gone. Jesus replies that it is no concern of his and that the time for his miracles has not yet come. Yet Jesus does help. He changes water into wine and saves the situation.
It seems that there was non-verbal communication between Mary and Jesus. Regardless of what they say, there seems to be an agreement that Jesus will help. Mary clearly wants Jesus to help. And even though Jesus says it is not his time he does help. What we have in our story today is a glimpse of the relationship between mother and son. It would be great if we had more examples of the relationship between Mary and Jesus but we do not. We only have a precious few about Mary and Jesus.
Another thing that is striking in this gospel is the miracle itself. The miracles of Jesus were meant to reveal his glory and lead people to believe in and follow him and that is true in today's miracle as John reminds us in the last sentence. The miracles of Jesus also revealed his compassion. The recipients of most of Jesus’ miracles were the poor, the sick, the disabled, and those on the margins of life. The miracles of healing, raising from the dead, and expulsion of demons demonstrate the power and the compassion of Jesus.
However, today's miracle is different. The subject of this miracle is not someone who is suffering from a physical or emotional condition. Rather it is intended to prevent the suffering of humiliation. And this miracle is not done out of compassion, although Jesus probably had compassion for the predicament of the bride and groom. Today’s miracle comes at the request of his mother. Like the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, Jesus works a miracle to remedy a temporary problem.
In John’s Gospel, today’s story is listed as the first miracle of Jesus. His public life here on earth is just beginning, as far as we know, Jesus is not yet attracting great crowds. It seems fitting then, that this miracle takes place in a setting where Jesus is with those who know and love him best. He is with his family and other friends probably from the years of his growing up. It is among those he is closest to that Jesus begins the work of preaching and teaching that he came to do. It is among a familiar community that Jesus begins his public life.
Have a great Saturday everyone!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...