The Wedding Feast of Cana and the Springtime of Grace

This week we resume the reflections upon lessons from the life of Mary and in particular focus upon the wedding feast at Cana. See John 2.

After Jesus’ baptism and 40 day preparation in the desert, some disciples joined Him knowing that He could give them truths from heaven. When Mary attended a wedding in Cana in Galilee, she asked Jesus and His disciples to join her and the family.

In that era, Jewish wedding feasts lasted for up to a week; and sometime during that week, the wine started to run short. Mary, ever attentive to the needs of others, brought the problem to Jesus. Jesus seemed at first reluctant to perform a miracle, saying that His hour had not yet come. As the great American evangelist Fulton Sheen described, Jesus was pointing out to Mary that, if she asked for this miracle, His public ministry would begin, and with it His way to Calvary.

Mary did ask for the miracle, saying, to the waiters “Do whatever He tells you.” Jesus then had the waiters fill with water large jars that were meant for washing and take it to the head waiter. The waiters, probably thinking that it was complete folly or a joke, did so all the same.

Likely worrying about the wine situation and not knowing what has just been happening, the head waiter was astonished to taste this former water, which Jesus had made the best of wine. Thinking that the families have been hiding their best wine, he sought an explanation from the groom, who was himself as puzzled and happily surprised as the head waiter. This miracle, which joins Marian and family devotion, compassion, humility and even humor, launched Jesus’ public ministry. In this event, we can see God reversing the Fall and original sin.

Instead of Eve’s attentiveness to the serpent and temptation, Mary teaches us to be attentive to families and the needs of others. Reversing the failure of Adam and Eve to turn to God in prayer when they were being tempted and then when they sinned, Mary shows us how to turn to Jesus and be willing to abide by His instructions, knowing them to be the path (often in mysterious ways) to great joy.

Making up for Adam’s weakness and failure to resist sin, Jesus clarifies the issue for Mary, and then is willing to perform, in a subtle way, the miracle she requested. Revering the cooperation in sin, and then conflict in blame, of Adam and Eve, the new Adam and Eve cooperate for a new couple. And, if we are willing, they will also cooperate together for our families and the family of God to bring forth a new springtime of grace.