Gospel Lectio Divina for the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - January 16, 2022
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.
There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.
Jesus begins his ministry at a wedding. How fitting, as a wedding is a beginning, the beginning of the bride and groom’s life together. We don’t hear much about who was married at this wedding. It’s not mentioned in the Gospel. The message here is therefore clear. Who is getting married is not as important as what marriage signifies. It is a covenant between a man and a woman that signifies their union. Similarly, the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus mark the New Covenant between God and man, a covenant that signifies that God and man will be united forever in heaven. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus talks about himself being the Bridegroom and humanity being his beloved Bride. Does Mary see the parallel between this wedding and the ministry of her son? She must see the connection, because she is the one who calls for Jesus to perform the miracle. Reflect upon the significance of that. Mary knew why her son was born. The union between her and the Holy Spirit makes her the perfect intercessor between our salvation and our savior. It is fitting that Jesus’ ministry starts here, at a wedding–one of the most powerful symbols of union on earth–and it is fitting that Mary is there to kickstart the salvific story of the Gospel.
“Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.”
At first it seems like Jesus is just brushing off the issue. But contained within Jesus’ comment is a foreshadowing of his ministry. “My hour has not yet come” means Jesus wanted more time. There are many events within salvation history that served as catalysts for people’s salvation. No one knows how it all fits together in God’s mind. Perhaps one day in heaven we will know. But in this story about the wedding feast at Cana, it seems like the timing of the revelation of Jesus’ identity is under debate. This whole story proves the effectiveness of prayer. Even though God’s will is perfect, he still listens to our petitions and grants them. If we don’t ask, he won’t do what we don’t ask. If we do ask, he will do what we ask if it is within his will. Mary is filled with concern for souls, and every moment Jesus delays his “hour” another soul may be lost. That’s the way Mary sees it. Jesus, on the other hand, knows there are also evil powers at work that will try to stop him from doing his father’s will. The timing for revealing Jesus’ true identity is therefore a very delicate matter. It took the love and will of the Mother of God to tip the scale.
“Do whatever he tells you.”
Notice that Mary doesn’t tell Jesus to do anything. He just told Jesus the situation, which he was probably already aware of, and then ordered the servants to listen to her son. I often wonder if this is how her intercession works as well. The mystery here is in the question, “Does Mary have the power to influence Jesus, the king of kings, Lord of the universe?” What an interesting dynamic we have here if she does have sway over him. Jesus’ parents are God and Mary. We can imagine Mary praying to God the Father asking for the wisdom to guide her son, but ultimately Jesus must listen and honor his mother because it is the Fourth Commandment and the Father’s will. Mary may have commanded Jesus to do things as he was growing up. In fact, it’s hard to imagine that she never did. There were probably times when Jesus was expected to do whatever his mother told him. But in this story at the wedding feast, I get the sense that she is stepping aside a bit and letting Jesu come into his own. It’s as if she is saying, “My son’s time has come. Watch him make all things new, not just the wine.”
there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings
Everything in the Bible has a layer of symbolism. Last week we read about Jesus’ baptism. This week the focus is on wine, which at this point symbolizes the New Covenant that will be established between God and man with Jesus’ blood. John also mentions that there were six jars for ceremonial washing. This can symbolize the Old Covenant because on the Sixth Day God created man. Jesus is ushering us into the Seventh Day, when he will usher humanity into the new heaven and new earth as a new creation. The connections between creation, beginnings, and water are many in the Bible. In Genesis we read that in the beginning the Spirit hovered over the waters. With baptism by water we are made a new creation in Christ. Water and wine are combined to prepare the drink for Eucharistic meal. Water thus symbolizes the washing away of one thing to make way for the new.
you have kept the good wine until now
So much can be drawn from these eight words. If we see this story in the context of the new creations we are in Christ, as mentioned above, we can see how everything we enjoy in this life, all the joy and desires we have, are just a taste of the glory that awaits us when we are with Christ in paradise. The inferior wine is life here on earth, just a sip of eternity. The new wine created by Christ with water is our new life in Christ through baptism. If only we could see how much God has in store for us, we would not be so tempted by the lesser wines of this world.
his disciples began to believe in him
What disciples does John mean? Jesus has not yet called the Twelve. This last line of this Sunday’s Gospel gives us a better idea of the wide influence Jesus had on the surrounding community. We may think of his deeds from the perspective of the twelve disciples, since they are present in so many of the Gospel stories. But this first miracle was performed even before he called them. The Bible only tells us what is necessary for our salvation. Did Jesus perform other miracles not mentioned in the Gospels? Probably. In fact, even before this first miracle he had disciples. The deeper we look into the story, the more we learn about who Jesus is. May we never stop learning more and more about him.
I have no more wine. Come fill me with yours, the best there is. All this world has to offer is nothing compared to what you offer. Please help me to keep your will in view and to pursue it with all my heart. Despite how hard it may be, I know that in doing your will my life will be most fulfilled. Help to listen to and to do your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen
Sometimes listening to God requires great silence so we hear what God is saying through all the din of life. Other times we do hear what God is saying, and the difficulty in listening lies in the struggle to execute what he is saying. While filling jars with water may not have been too physically difficult, I wonder what the servers were thinking. They were probably thinking that the order was quite counterintuitive, since they needed to get more wine but were being told to fill the jars with water. So the difficulty in listening to Jesus, for them, was in believing that whatever he tells them to do is going to produce more wine. Oftentimes, the hardest part in listening to God is the faith part, having faith that what he tells us to do will actually help us achieve what we seek to achieve. Faith produces obedience. If we do not have faith in someone or something, we will find it hard to obey them. With faith in Christ comes great strength, because in being obedient to him his power works through us. When the time comes, will we have the strength of obedience to listen and do whatever Jesus tells us?
Kilby is a freelance writer from New Jersey and managing editor of Catholic World Report.