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Homilies from Nola Crewe
14th January 2007

14 January 2007              The Wedding at Cana                              John 2:1-13

May the love of Jesus Christ inspire my lips and open our hearts to His word.

Having celebrated Ė endured? Ė the weddings of four daughters and a son, I know something about the planning and anticipation and organizing and dreams that go into those incredibly special days. To-dayís Gospel recounts the most famous wedding of all . . . the Wedding in Cana. We donít know the names of the bride or the groom. We donít know the date or the menu, but we do know that it was a big party with people coming from some distance to attend: so it must have been for an important or popular family.

This all took place at the beginning of the ministry of Christ. This is the story of His very first miracle.

Christ was now a man of 30. Just a few days earlier John the Baptist had recognized Him as the Saviour and His first followers had come to follow Him as their Rabbi . . . that is a teacher of the Jewish faith: one learned in the Torah and the Law. We know that even at 12 years of age he impressed the Temple elders with His wisdom so it is no wonder that men will flock to hear and learn from Him. The invitation arrives, requesting both Christ and his followers to join the wedding party and they travel to Cana. His Mother, Mary has also been invited, and all of them arrive and join in the festivities. When the wedding ceremony is over the partying begins. Like our weddings today, there is laughter and good food, dancing and wine to toast a future of children and wealth and happiness.

Now, like a good Jewish mother, Mary is not only enjoying the party, she is also keeping an eye on things. It is Mary who notices that the wine is getting low and knows that their hosts will be embarrassed and humiliated by the evening ending in such a poor show of hospitality. She approaches her Son and points the problem out to Him. Knowing that God had not yet called Him to make a public demonstration of His powers, Christ reminds His Mother, ďMy time has not yet come . . . ď. But Mary, knew Her son. She knew that he could make things right. And she knew how he cared for others.

So, like many a mother since then, she ignored his protests and proceeded to tell the servants to do any thing Jesus told them to do.  And, just as Mary had anticipated, Christ looked about the room and saw six purification water jars. These were very large . . . each one containing around 25 gallons of water. These were there for the guests use since under Jewish ritual law, Jews were required to wash both before and after eating.

Christ called the servants over and told them to fill all the water jugs to the very top . . . which they did: all 150 gallons. He then instructed the servants to take a cup of it to the Governor, the maitre dí of the feast for tasting. He was amazed at the quality of the wine, which was by far the best of the party, and commented on how unusual it was to save the best for last, when the guests taste buds were already numbed with the beverages they had already consumed. The wedding party could continue. The hosts would be esteemed for their generosity. How His Mother would have glowed with pride at her Sonís generous spirit.

Itís a simple story. No sermon. No miracle of raising the dead or curing the sick or giving sight to the blind. No great throngs to feed. Merely a wedding party continuing with only the servants to wonder at what had happened.

This story is often read at weddings to show how Jesus blessed marriage . . . and by others to demonstrate that Christ did not oppose alcoholic beverages. But I like to think of it as a foreshadowing of what His whole ministry was about. A gentle, loving care for His people. He pleased His Mother. He rescued His host. He ensured the enjoyment of His friends, the newlyweds.

All this he did by the ďsimpleĒ transformation of water into wine. Water that was at the party to transform the unclean into the clean. Wine, that was at the Last Supper to be the commanded remembrance of our Lordís incredible Sacrifice for us. The ultimate transformation of our sins into a pathway to salvation.
So many transformations Christ creates every day . . .

His love transforms our lives . . .

His sacrifice transforms our future . . .

His presence transforms our hearts . . . if we will only open them up to Him.

And that is what this story is about. How Christís love has always been for us and always will be. How He reaches out in the simplest and most complex ways to share our lives: our joys and our sorrows. How He deepens the marriage vows that are promised before Him. How He brightens the colours and enriches the joy. How He changes our future with hope and salvation. How He reaches out a hand to support us over the rough spots in life, how he helps us bear the pain of loss and failure and is the answer to everything.

And best of all, He has the patience to care about our human fusses: whether a wedding goes off as the couple hoped or whether we save face or whether a Mother is honoured.

This lesson is the first of so many examples of Him living by the Commandment He gave us: to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. He cherished His Mother and honoured his hosts with modesty and humility. And with all the company, He celebrated Life.

Now, let us walk in His footsteps in this life, loving and caring for everyone with our whole heart.

Let us strive to live our lives as He demonstrated . . . with the grace and generosity to others that we would wish for ourselves.

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