A Reflection for the 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year C).
Isaiah 62:1-5 – 1Corinthians 12:4-11 – John 2:1-11.
This Sunday’s Gospel reading had me thinking back to some of the wedding receptions I’ve attended over the years. Whenever a couple comes to me with a view to getting married, my job is to help them with the marriage preparation sessions, the wedding rehearsal and with the marriage ceremony itself. It’s unusual for me to have much involvement in the rest of the wedding plans, but I’m always happy to work alongside the planners and to help out as needed. It’s not easy to prepare for a milestone event like a wedding, is it? We want everything to be perfect, but sometimes things just don’t play out the way we want them to. All we can do is to do our best and to improvise when things go awry. Sometimes we get things right, and sometimes we don’t.
In today’s Gospel about the wedding feast at Cana, we are presented with Jesus’ first miracle, accomplished at the request of His Mother – the transformation of water into the very best wine for the embarrassed newly-weds. The miracle is wrought in the context of ordinary people stuck in ordinary everyday situations just like ours. Each one of us is interconnected with each other and with God. No man is an island as the English poet John Donne pointed out. We are social beings. We actively need relationship with each other and with God! Now, let’s move on to reflect about the couple, the servants, the steward, and the guests at that wedding.
Think of the couple as one unit, as yourself. You are at the centre of the event of your own life, as were the couple at their wedding. Everybody you meet in the event of your life is participating in that event in one way or another. Some people are there to be with you and to try to make your life go as smoothly as possible. Some people will help you, while others will ignore you if you get in a mess. If your life doesn’t turn out well, people won’t point the finger of blame at anyone but you, because it is your life and you are responsible for it. A big mistake we can make in life is to forget to turn to Jesus whenever we run short of spiritual supplies. Whenever we find ourselves in need of God’s grace, we should ask Him to transform and sweeten our lives again. There are marriages that have lost their sweetness, where the husband and wife have lost the wine of joy and happiness in their togetherness. The word of God tells us that when we invite Jesus to a marriage, He can transform discord into harmony for us as miraculously as He changed the water into wine at Cana.
The Servants. These dutiful people, who are there in our lives to help us when we are in need, deserve to be cherished. They work backstage to meet our needs. Sometimes in life we feel lost and we don’t know what to do. These ‘servants’ are those whom God uses to serve us, both through what they do and through what they bring to our table. They may be family members, friends, acquaintances, priests, parishioners, neighbours, people we encounter at work or in passing. Whoever they are, we must do our best to treat them well. They are there for us when our wine (the things or graces that make us happy) runs out. God can use them to supply those things we need to feel alive again, if only we will ask Him. They can bring a variety of gifts (2R v.4) to our table, including spiritual gifts which we can use to complement each other’s service to God and humanity.
The Steward, in charge of ensuring the smooth running of the wedding, can be perceived as representing society, government and/or the state, in the sense that where the steward has responsibility for making everything go well, the state organises the affairs of its people. To function effectively, society needs the rule of law and order that benign governments bring. We need to remember, however, that no government is perfect when it comes to serving its citizens. All too often, governments are hazy and negligent, as was the steward, who hadn’t the faintest idea where the extraordinary amount of top-notch wine came from.
Jesus and His Mother, in the company of His disciples, contributed vastly to the success of the wedding reception. Without the intervention of Our Lady and the action of Our Lord, the reception would have been a social disaster for the newly-weds. It is important that we too invite Jesus to the events of our individual lives, because He makes up for what is lacking in us. Unless Jesus is there for us, we will fail. Some people consider erroneously that Jesus is irrelevant to them, but inevitably there comes a time in life when we feel empty: the wine of life has a bitter taste or the bottle is drained. Jesus has the capacity to make life taste good, to fill us and make us whole again in the wine transubstantiated into His Blood in the Mass. Our Lady is always keen to demonstrate her concern for us, Her children, by interceding for us and bringing our human needs before Him. We all need Mary to direct us to Jesus, who comes to our party in the company of the saints and angels.
There is a promise that God makes to those who invite Him into their lives. In the 1st reading, God Himself declared that For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent. For Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest (v.1). As long as you personally invoke God’s grace, He will answer you (Jn 16:24)! He will not abandon you (Is 41:10)! He is faithful to you (Deut 7:9). He will turn water into wine for you (Ps 104:14f). He will restore your joy, as He restored the joy of the newly-weds at Cana. He will pour His gifts on you even while you are asleep (Ps 127:2). Amen. God bless you.