In the context of this Sunday’s Gospel reading we are called to reflect on the theme ‘they have no wine’ for the wedding feast at Cana. We see Jesus, his mother and his disciples at a wedding. And it is not the religious ceremony but a wedding party. Jewish weddings of those days could last a week. This was a time of grand cele-bration and Jesus and Mary along with the disciples were part of it. The message here is very clear: Jesus brings joy and he shares in the joys of others. Jesus desires, that our religion is meant to be a joy-filled experi-ence. Christian joy is a sign of being fully alive. St. Irenaeus says, “The glory of God is a person who is fully alive.” Today’s story is indeed a great revelation of God’s presence and activity in our midst. We see God revealing him-self again in what Jesus does in this wedding scene. He worked this first miracle in order to give a temporal fa-vour, an earthly gift to save a newly married groom from embarrassment. It had the other effects to convince the recent disciples that he is the chosen messiah and also the efficacy of the intercession of Mary on our behalf.
Since this incident took place in the context of a marriage and where Mary finds the family having not enough wine for the wedding feast, I would like to reflect on the ‘lack wine’ we find in our marriages. Marriage is a call to love, is one of the Christian vocations. Married people are challenged to love one another in the spirit of Christ. In a Marriage one particular imperfect human being is called to love another imperfect human being as Christ loves him or her. Such love requires several Christian virtues, such as sacrifice, faithfulness, forgiveness, and a commitment to growth. The call to love within Christian marriage necessarily involves a commitment to growth. Fidelity is not simply staying with someone rather it includes a willingness to grow and to be with one’s partner as he or she grows. It is even possible to say that within every marriage there are several marriages that succeed one another over time: laying the foundations, having children, establishing careers, emptying the nest, adjusting to retirement, facing death.
However, contrary to these great virtues of marriage our society faces “lack of wine’ in our marriages be-cause people tend to search for the fullness of life in other things such as money, food, sex, travel, security, repu-tation, etc. Yes, we know they are necessary, but none of these lasts. In the pursuit of searching for this temporal happiness people gradually begin to lack wine in their marriage, i.e., the ‘Grace of God’. Only the simplest joys of life really satisfy in the end, like the joy of love, the thrill of friendship, the caring in family and the ways we enjoy the goodness of creation. A man asked once at the end of his life – what is happiness? ‘Find happiness now’ was the answer – ‘be satisfied, be grateful, for what you have, for what you have received, for what God has given you.’ There is a fullness of life in being happy and that is the ‘New Wine’, new way of life, new way of thinking, new opportunity which fills the emptiness with fullness of goodness …and asking God for the wine we lack.
The happiest are not always the ones who had or are having the easiest life. They are the ones who have found peace with themselves, others and God. Because of the gift of the fullness of God in ‘new wine’, we always have a happier home, joy-filled life. Jesus of the wedding feast of Cana, give us the faith and hope to know that we can always make a change for the better in our lives, and the love to live by what we receive in one’s married life.
Fr. Jacob Alvares