2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Jan. 20, 2013)


I had to grin at Sunday’s Gospel of the wedding at Cana. If the wedding at Cana was anything like modern weddings I’ve been at, there were more than a few members of the bridal party that were soused, plus some of the guests. And here we have Jesus making 180 gallons of even better wine!!! Jeez ow!!! That was one happy party!!!

We can get too hung up on the details of the Cana story. Why did He change the water into wine, why did He talk to his Mother that way, why did He do something that would encourage more drinking? To focus on those details is to miss the point.

Y’see, everything in John’s Gospel is there for a reason. John didn’t even call this wine-making a miracle. He called it a sign. John does not call anything a miracle in his Gospel; instead he points to seven signs. None of the other Gospel writers saw Cana as something worth recording. They were much more impressed with the healings and exorcisms.

We understand signs as ways to give information about something, so too with John. The story of Cana is, for John, a sign pointing to a man who would be an agent of transformation. Only in John’s Gospel do we have Jesus saying, “I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” I believe this statement is what the miracle at Cana is all about. Water, something good, the basic necessity of life, is changed into wine – the symbol not just of life, but of abundant, joyous and celebrative life. In changing the water into wine and allowing the wedding celebration to continue, Jesus is clueing people in on His mission. Jesus has come to transform the world. The message of transformation at Cana is not about making the bad good, but about making the good even better.

“I came that they might have life, and have it more abundantly.” Not just life, but abundant life … joyous life … life lived in freedom. It means that when the ordinary water of our everyday lives becomes wine through the touch of Jesus Christ, then what Rabbi Kushner said above is true. It also means that even the worst circumstances that life can offer have a richness and depth that they never had before.

Love deeply, pray faithfully, laugh often!

herb yost reflections

Fr. Herb, C.S.C.

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