My Dear People,
Now we begin Sundays in ordinary time. This miracle at Cana links this Sunday with the feast of Epiphany and with Jesus’ Baptism—all are epiphanies of his glory, which reveals Jesus as the Messiah.
In Jesus was fulfilled what the reading of Isaiah today. In the reading of Isaiah, this is known as third Isaiah: who, unlike the other Isaiah (chapters 1 to 59), shows hope for the people, “No more shall people call you “forsaken,” or your land “Desolate,” but you shall be called “My Delight,” and your land “Espoused.
The prophet was attempting to raise the morale of the people, in the hope that their efforts would be blessed. Even if the result fell short of ideal, the efforts of the prophets may have borne fruit insofar as they inspired people to work at rebuilding their community.
This goes in conjunction with the beginning of Jesus ministry on which the readings of this time are focused. The miracle at Cana was at the beginning of Jesus ministry. This was the very first sign through which his disciples believed in him. Up to this point Jesus had not done any miracle, which explains his reply to Mary, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” By hour Jesus was referring to his time of passion, death and resurrection. Perhaps, Jesus felt, if he started his miracles, then his suffering and death would not be too far beyond. The sign at Cana reveals Jesus as the Messiah, and as soon as he was revealed as the Messiah, people would start persecuting him, which would culminate to his passion and death.
Mary is undaunted by this response and she is confident that Jesus would do this miracle. She told the waiters to do what Jesus would tell them.
At that time the wedding celebrations would last for quite some time, sometime even people passing through would join the celebration. Wine was regarded as an indispensable element in meals and to create a festive atmosphere. Here Mary was assisting with the catering, which was how she realized they were running out of wine.
In the gospel of John, Mary, the Mother of Jesus-this is the title St. John gives her- appears only twice: once here, and the other time on Calvary. Several analogies can be drawn between Cana and Calvary. They are located at the beginning and at the end of Jesus’ public life, as if to show that Mary is present in everything that Jesus did. Her title—Mother—carries very special tones: Mary acts as Jesus’ true Mother at these two points in which his divinity is being revealed. Also, both episodes demonstrate Mary’s special solicitude towards everyone: in one case she intercedes when “the hour” has not yet come; in the other she offers the Father the redeeming death of her Son and accepts the mission Jesus confers on her to be the Mother of all believers, who are represented on Calvary by the beloved disciple. When Jesus says: “Woman, behold your son’, then to John ‘Behold your Mother’”. The word “woman” instead of “Lady” or “madam” is a formal way of speaking. On the cross the same word represents great affection and veneration.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Vincent Clemente