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RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

3RD SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME

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This weekend we have the gospel story of the wedding at Cana which was the first time that Jesus worked a miracle when he changed the water into wine. We hear Mary telling Jesus that ‘they have no wine’ Jesus said ‘Woman, why turn to me? My hour has not come yet.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’  This Gospel is a story with many threads – the insight into the relationship between Mary and Jesus – the miracle of the wine itself – the fact that the miraculous wine is better than the original – the fact of Jesus honoring the young couple in this way – and so on. Images of marriage feasts and bridegrooms, wine and water, appear in the Old and New Testament with great regularity. The relationship between God and Israel was often seen as a marriage – Israel the bride, God the bridegroom. The coming of the Messiah was described in terms of a wedding feast and later, in Revelation, we hear of the marriage feast of the Lamb. Jesus spoke of himself as the vine and of longing to celebrate Passover, blessing wine into the cup of his blood. The abundant wine reminds us of the “new wine” spoken of by Jesus: the new order of things that he was inaugurating through his Paschal Mystery.

In contrast, the water jars of the Jews represent those who refuse to believe in Christ are empty and there must be a large number of empty jars in people’s lives these days for the same reason they don’t believe! The wedding celebration provides the context that enables us to see the greater reality. The bride and groom whose wedding is being celebrated are in the background as a matter of fact scripture says nothing about them or who they were. In the foreground we see Mary and Jesus. Mary, who asks for help when she tells Jesus “they have no wine”, Mary the faith filled disciple, has trust in divine providence. In the place of the divine spouse, stands Jesus. “The Word was in the world, yet the world did not know it.” The care, concern and affection of God are manifest in the Son.  Today there are so many different definitions of marriage and what exactly being married means and as we know so many freely choose not to get married and for some they live together which of course has its own particular problems.  In her response at the wedding at Cana Mary shows herself a model disciple who trusts in God. She shows that trust with the words that are meant for all of us even now we read them again “Do whatever he tells you.”  If we place ourselves at that wedding banquet, Mary is giving us direction. 

She is mother to us all and also the first disciple of her son. She knows the way to live because she learned it by listening to her son and thinking in her heart and in her mind about what he did and said. We should listen closely to what she says as Mary is the one who “keeps all these things in her heart, pondering them.” She learns to understand the message that is Jesus. Do whatever he tells you is Mary’s message for us. Today what does Jesus ask us to do as we think about the wedding at Cana are we like Mary prepared to trust in the Father who can give us all things or are we prepared just to trundle along accepting the things that come along. Or are we prepared to learn and understand the message that is given to us through Jesus whose mother asks us in the to ”do whatever he tells you.”

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