Life of the Party

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January 20, 2019 – Second Sunday in Ordinary Time -
John 2: 1-11

There might be a bit of humor hidden in today’s gospel. Immediately after mentioning that the disciples of Jesus came to the wedding feast at Cana, the account states that “the wine ran short.” Could that have happened because the disciples of Jesus caused the wine shortage by drinking a little too much? Perhaps.

But let’s move on to matters more significant. For instance, John’s gospel is filled with “signs” indicating the presence of God’s involvement in the life of the world - the establishment of God’s Kingdom. For centuries, the Jews hoped for the beginning of this entrance of God into their history.

From the perspective of John’s Gospel, it began with the coming of the Christ. But how would the reality of God’s Kingdom begin in earnest? With a victorious battle over the Romans? With spectacular heavenly events? With an earthquake or another natural event?

No, nothing like that. Rather in John’s Gospel “the first sign” of God’s activity through Jesus, was the wedding feast at Cana. At a wedding banquet.

Wedding banquets, then and now, were ideally celebrations of love and life. The wedding feast was filled with important meanings. First, it celebrated the love between the couple, a love that would hopefully bring forth new life. These gatherings were rightfully “a little over top” because they created a new social relationship. A good beginning was important for creating the “spirit” of all that was to follow.

As Pope Francis never tires of repeating, “life is designed by God to be joyful.” When the Cana wedding event ran out of wine, a measure of joyfulness possibly disappeared. Possibly replaced by embarrassment. Mary, the mother of Jesus, noticed this – as good moms do. So, she told Jesus to help.

Last week, after his baptism by John, Jesus learned that he was God’s beloved. This week Jesus learned that he was expected to help bring “joy to the world.” And he clearly delivered at Cana. Suddenly, there was the best wine the guests had ever drank. His miracle of changing water to wine shows that God is on the side of those who celebrated the blessings of life. The God of Jesus is a God of joy and hope. We serve God by helping those in need. By feeding the hungry. And providing shelter to those without it. But also, by enjoying the good moments of life sent from God who created us for joy.

©David M. Thomas, PhD