Wedding Feast at Cana
Feb 12, 2016
When a couple profess their love for each other, they promise to build a life together. In today's first reading we hear the prophet announce: As a young man marries a Virgin, your Builder shall marry you; and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you.
The prophet is highlighting the importance and necessity of having God as the fundamental and foundational part of one's life and one's hope of building a family. In Psalm 127, we hear the Psalmist say unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build. Very similar to the story of the three pigs. How many of us who when constructing our dream home would build it out of straw? That kind of material invites failure and disaster.
In our lives of love, especially with aspiring couples who hope to make a go of it until death do them part, faith must be the primary tool in which to successfully construct this life. In the Gospel of Matthew, when Peter professes that Jesus is the Christ, Jesus responds by saying: You are Peter, and upon this Rock, I shall build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Now that is the kind of rock solid structure we all want for ourselves and that is precisely what a relationship with Christ and His Church provides. The powers of Hell seek only to destroy and tear down.
Where there is joy they hope to supplant it with misery, where there is love, hatred, where there is harmony and peace discord and division. In order to resist such storms of evil, we must build our lives and families upon the foundation of Jesus Christ. Our lives of prayer will then become the re-enforced steel supports that will guarantee that everything stays firmly in place.
The Church is able to successfully combat and defeat the forces of evil because there are no greater weapons in her arsenal of Faith than the Sacraments. A family who is actively engaged in celebrating the sacraments insures that their own home becomes a domestic Church. This is why so often in Scripture God's relationship with His people is spoken of in terms of a Wedding ceremony and Marital relationship.
We cannot imagine a more festive, more joy and fun-filled day than when attending a Wedding ceremony and reception. As the song goes, love is in the air and that love is everywhere especially in the hearts of those joining in the wonderfully exciting festivities. And so today it is appropriate that when trying to describe how it is that God feels about us, the prophet does so in terms of marriage imagery.
Like a couple newly married, God's love for us is always fresh, exciting, and new. God is literally giddy and is head over heels in love with each of us. And there is nothing that God wants more then to celebrate His love for us and do so in a most festive and joy-packed way. And this is precisely the nature of the Sacraments. They are a celebration of God's love for us, a celebration of His commitment to us. And not just any commitment, much more than until death do us part, but one that is to last forever.
We are brought into existence by infinite, eternal and all powerful love...we are living products of this incredible love which is meant to last us an everlasting life of love, peace and joy in Heaven: the never-ending wedding reception.
Typically at a wedding it is the Father who gives the Bride away to the Bridegroom. There is no greater or more precious gift that God the Father gives to His Son Jesus Christ than us. In the Gospels some people came and asked Jesus, how is it that John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?
To which Jesus responds how can the guests of the Bridegroom fast while He is with them. How telling it is regarding the nature of Christ and His mission as Savior that He would refer to Himself as a Bridegroom? But this is precisely why the Father sent Him into the world: For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son and did so that we might enjoy the greatest kind of relationship with Him: the two shall become one flesh relationship.
This is why of all places and events, Jesus chooses a Wedding Feast to perform His first miracle and in doing so put all people on alert that the Messiah has come.
It is not a miracle where Jesus raises someone from the dead, cures a terrible disease or forgives some awful sin... it is a miracle of joy because when you truly and deeply love someone, you want them to be happy. Their happiness then becomes the source and motivation for your own happiness.
And one's condition of joy will be determined by the strength of love in one's life. And if in one's life, one has the love of God, specifically through one's faith in Jesus Christ, then one has an infinite source of love to draw from in which to love other people, beginning with one's family.
In Saint Paul's Letter today he speaks about how essential it is that the Spirit build up each person so that by virtue of each person's talents they will be able to provide some benefit to others.
Think about the dynamic of a team, each player developing his or her talents through hard work and dedication so as to benefit the team. Each Sunday in the Creed we identify the Holy Spirit as the Lord the Giver of life.
When God the Father sent His Son, He did so in the power of the Holy Spirit to the Blessed Virgin Mary and together they conceived Christ that our salvation might be born.
Mary then is the spouse of the Holy Spirit. Again and again, the point that Holy Scripture hammers home is that we are part of an extended family beginning with the Holy Trinity. However the formation of any family begins with that essential commitment of one man and one woman who swearing themselves to each other become one flesh, one family.
Today's celebration of the Wedding Feast of Cana should remind us of the beauty, majesty and joy of the Mass. Jesus turns water into wine. During Mass through the words of Consecration the Holy Spirit descends from Heaven as once He did upon the Blessed Virgin Mary, and descending upon the gifts of bread and wine is able as once He did in Mary, transform these gifts into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
And in so doing we are now given the awesome and most privileged opportunity to receive Jesus Christ in Holy Communion. Emphasis on the word Communion. This is the ultimate building a life together.
As a husband and wife receive each other heart, mind, soul and body and together build a life of love and devotion with each other and for their children, we receive Christ and He us that together we might build lives of love and help build a world filled with more goodness, peace, mercy and joy.
At Cana, everyone is enthralled that the host saved the best wine for last so to speak. In our lives of faith and love with Christ and His Church there will be a constant progression of grace...that always saving the best for last...except there is no last...there is only that providing the best upon best...each grace and blessing its own stepping stone that builds that road of hope and joy that will lead us to the ultimate wedding reception in Heaven, where with God and our loved ones we shall celebrate forever.