Wisdom Reflections: Weddings - A Time to Celebrate!
Sr. Barbara O’Dea
In every age, in every culture, weddings are a time to celebrate. They are all about relationships – the intimate relationship between two people that becomes a lifetime commitment to each other. For believers, it joins them to God and each other on the path of life. Memories of the wedding endure, anniversaries are celebrated, hopefully, “till death do us part.”
The context of John 2:1-11 is a first-century village wedding at Cana in Galilee. Today so many circumstances are different, yet so much is the same. At this wedding the guest list is impressive. The mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were among those invited. Mary, ever compassionate, sees a tragedy looming. She turns to her son and simply says, “They have no wine.” His response has confused theologians throughout the centuries, but his mother knew in her heart that he would do something.
We don’t often think of Mary as a woman of action but act she did. She turned to the servants and said, “Do whatever he tells you,” then steps into the background. Mary, the mother of Jesus, takes on a new role. She becomes a disciple, one who directs others to Jesus and moves on. Like her, that is our role as believers in every age, wherever we are. We, all of the baptized, are called to be his disciples, to call others to him, to be his witnesses.
Jesus hears Mary’s request. This is not why he came to the wedding. But, reflecting on her word, he hears a call from God and acts. Turning to the servants, he says, “Fill the jars with water. . . draw some out now and take it to the head steward.” There is a twofold transformation here - Jesus, whose hour has not yet come recognizes the call to anticipate it. He acts transforming the water into fine wine. The evangelist proclaims, “Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs,” a link in the chain that will become the hallmark of his mission. Jesus’ public mission begins here.
Gospel stories were written to speak to our lives, to call us to an ever-deepening faith expressed in love of God and neighbor. In the story of the wedding at Cana, there is a strong call to transformation. We see people whose lives take on a whole new dimension. Mary, the mother of Jesus, begins her journey as a disciple. Jesus anticipates his hour and responds by transforming water into wine. The faith of the disciples who accompanied Jesus changes as they begin to believe that he really is prophet and messiah.
What can you do to become more aware of the people and events in your life at home or at work, in the neighborhood or in church so that you will be better able to hear the call of God through them? Set aside a few minutes in your busy lives to ask God to open your eyes, your ears, and your heart so that you may begin to discern the presence of Jesus in others, your companions on the journey of life.
For those among us who are married, what a wonderful time to reflect on your promises of enduring and faithful love and to note the times when too engrossed in other matters, you take the other for granted. A lifetime of faithful love is a powerful witness to others. For all of us, not to be forgotten is the call of believers to reach out to those in need, to become peacemakers, and promoters of justice for all, making the way Jesus lived and taught in the gospel the stuff of our daily lives.
Last but not least, remember the wedding of Cana, and the whole web of relationships it created. At Eucharist, we celebrate our relationships with Christ and with one another as we renew our commitment to be his presence and continue his mission in our times.