If there is one area in our culture where Catholics have a reputation, it is for our weddings. The first reaction to a Catholic wedding is normally, “wow this is LONG!” That is soon followed by, “Wow! You Catholics know how to throw a party!” Both happen to be true, but we are only good at these things because Jesus taught us the way.
At the wedding at Cana, they had a BIG problem: THERE WAS NO MORE WINE! This is a huge problem for any wedding celebration. Imagine if it happened at yours! Wine is a symbol of joy (the reasons are apparent in the effects that the proper consumption of wine brings to a person). Without it, the party ends rather quickly. In fact, the only person for which this would not have been a problem is my classmate Fr. Ben Muhlenkamp. We jokingly say that if he had been the miracle worker at Cana he would have turned all the wine into water (he only drinks water…I know, I thought it was weird too).
At Cana, with the wine skins running dry, they had a huge problem on their hands. Mary, as any good mother would, seeks to solve the problem placed before them. She has faith in her son and His abilities. This is the first lesson we can learn from Cana: trust in the goodness of God. Jesus asks Mary, “Why does this concern me?” and this is a good question. In reality our needs are but a drop in the bucket compared to the real necessities in the world. However, the Lord responds out of love if we trust, like Mary, and do whatever He tells us.
The second lesson we can learn from Cana is that the Lord will not only grant our request, but provide for us in abundance. When Jesus made water turn into wine, he didn’t just make a case of wine. The ceremonial jars, used for washing, would have amounted to dozens of gallons of wine. This would be enough to keep the party going as long as they were able to enjoy. God never gives us just enough; he is always searching to give us more, so that our joy might be in Him.
Why is this wedding celebration so important? This was just the beginning of how our Lord would be spotlighting the institution of marriage throughout His life on earth. Prior to Christ, there was a problem with marriage. The institution was certainly there, but there was something missing. Jesus gave marriage the missing link in the grace that flows from His sacraments. With this grace, marriage becomes transformed. Indeed, it is transformed from water to wine; from the ordinary to the supernatural. Christian marriage becomes a path to heaven and a vehicle of grace in the lives of the faithful. Marriage becomes a sign for the world of Christ’s love for the Church.
Let us give thanks to God for the gift of the Incarnation! Jesus has turned the water of our ordinary world into the wine of grace and joy. This joy is for all who believe and receive the grace present in the sacraments of the Holy Church. To be a little Ignatian: Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam! For the greater glory of God!