A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John:
There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee,
and the mother of Jesus was there.
Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.
When the wine ran short,
the mother of Jesus said to him,
“They have no wine.”
And Jesus said to her,
“Woman, how does your concern affect me?
My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servers,
“Do whatever he tells you.”
Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings,
each holding twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus told them,
“Fill the jars with water.”
So they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them,
“Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.”
So they took it.
And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine,
without knowing where it came from
— although the servers who had drawn the water knew —,
the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him,
“Everyone serves good wine first,
and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one;
but you have kept the good wine until now.”
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee
and so revealed his glory,
and his disciples began to believe in him.
I was excited when I found out that this was the Gospel reading for Sunday.
My daughter, Rose, recently created a stage play of this Gospel story, in the style of a Medieval mystery play, for her action figures to act out. The child action figures sat and watched while Rosie performed all the parts.
In case you want to put on a mystery play of this weekend’s Gospel, it sounded like this:
Virgin Mary: Well, Jesus, Sweetie, isn’t it good to be at our wedding?
Me: No! Rose! It’s not Jesus and Mary’s wedding, they’re just guests! He brought his mom to the wedding.
Virgin Mary: Oh yeah. Isn’t it nice to be guests at our friend’s wedding? Uh-oh. Jesus, Sweetie, they’re all out of wine!
Jesus: Mooooooom! Leave me alone, it’s not the right time.
Virgin Mary: *to the servants* Guys, you’re gonna wanna go along with HIM.
Jesus: Okay, fine. Go pour the water from the foot washing into the wine cups and bring one to the head waiter.
Servants: WHAT? Okay fine. Here. Take your dirty foot water.
Head Waiter: Mmm, this is really good!
*The servants walk out into the audience distributing cups of delicious grape juice to all the children. Exeunt.*
Anyway, what is this Gospel story about?
This Gospel story is about the beginning of Jesus’s public ministry. It’s about the way Jesus began to perform signs and reveal His glory, and His disciples began to believe in Him.
They began to believe in Him at a wedding, when Jesus turned dirty foot water into wine because His mother asked Him to, and so that a bride and groom wouldn’t be embarrassed, and so that everybody could continue to have a good time.
The first revelation that Jesus could work miracles wasn’t the fig tree curling up and dying. It wasn’t Lazarus walking out of the tomb all tied up in bandages like a mummy. It wasn’t walking on water or making the wind disappear or smearing mud in the eyes of a blind man to make him see. It was this.
He brought His widowed mother along to a wedding party, and He did something nice for His friends.
That’s the beginning of everything that happened later.
And we should do likewise.
To be a Christian is to go out into the world and be yourself, doing the things that you do, meeting the people you meet, attending parties, interacting with people, and to manifest the presence of God to them however you can. The main way to do this is to be kind. If there’s a need they have, you should fill it if you can. If there’s a way to spare them embarrassment, you should spare them if you can. If there’s a way to help them be happy a little longer, you should provide that for them if you can.
In practice it’s complicated, but it begins that simply. When your attention is drawn to a need, do what you can. That will be the beginning of your public ministry. Where it takes you, that I can’t say, but it starts with wine at the wedding.
You’re going to want to go along with Him.
Do whatever He tells you to do.
Image via Pixabay
Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.
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