Season of Light – WEEK TWO: Wedding at Cana

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23 Oct 2019

Praying with the Luminous Mysteries: Jesuit Communications offers a series of reflections around the five Luminous Mysteries. This week we explore the second mystery – The Wedding at Cana in Galilee.

Parishes and prayer groups: Feel free to print and share our PDF resource, attach it to your parish bulletin or post it on your parish website or Facebook page: Download Season of Light – Week Two PDF.

Gospel reading:
John 2:1-12
Reflection
In the Scripture for this mystery, the wedding in Cana of Galilee, the enormous joy of the celebration turns quickly towards concern. The hosts are due to suffer the humiliation of their poverty – there is no more wine. Mary compels a reluctant Jesus to act. She tells the servants to ‘do whatever he tells you’. Jesus transforms the water into an abundance of wine – a sign of the gifts and love that come in his presence.

Questions
1. Dr Paul Power sees weddings as singular and unusual occasions. What were your own earliest memories and ideas about weddings, and how have new insights emerged in time?

2. Dr Power writes of the seasons of a committed marriage: ‘we have managed to survive through all these things, and more’. What light do you find in his words?

The wedding feast is just the beginning
Dr Paul G Power is a former educator and educational psychologist. With his wife, Kim, in 2008 he founded the Sunflower Foundation, a charity dedicated to supporting the education and empowerment of girls in developing countries. Paul describes the ‘everyday miracle’ of a committed marriage emerging once the wedding feast is but a memory.

The final verse of a humorous old Irish song* says:
We drank good health to the bride and groom and wished them both good speed
And hoped they’d have more children than they’d be fit to feed
We all came home together as the sun began to rise
So I’ll say no more about it for I’m tired of telling lies.

As a young lad, when I attended Irish social functions with my father, I heard this song sung regularly. I used to wonder whether real weddings would be as outlandish as the one portrayed in the earlier verses of the song. I subsequently never attended any wedding quite as outrageous as this, but I came to learn that weddings are indeed interesting and somewhat strange phenomena.

The story of the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee (John, 2:1-11) also presents something of a mystery. Whose wedding was it? Why were Jesus, his mother and the disciples invited? How many other people were there?

Wedding feasts used to last for a week in those days and the wine was all gone too soon. When Mary said to her son ‘They have no wine’ I like to think that she was moved with compassion, concerned for the hosts and their capacity to show hospitality to their guests.

In any case, Jesus said: ‘Woman, why turn to me? My hour has not come yet.’ Despite this rebuke, Mary instructed the servants to do whatever Jesus told them, showing implicit faith in her son and knowing that he would do something to rectify the situation. Jesus turned the water into wine, indeed wine of better quality than what had been consumed before.

There are many lessons we can learn from this story. For me, it reinforces the lesson that a wedding is but the beginning of a marriage. When my wife and I were married some 56 years ago, we were definitely ‘in love’, in the romantic sense of being infatuated with each other and wanting to spend our lives together. But, like Jesus, our hour had not come yet. At the time, we had no idea what it would be like to share our living space, organise a household, give birth to children and raise them to be sensible human beings, face the traumas and tribulations of illnesses and accidents, live with the joys and jubilations, deal with adolescents, cope with work commitments (ours and theirs), come to terms with the ageing process, adjust to changes in the environment, the global and local geopolitical landscape, deal with crises in the church, and so on. We have managed to survive through all these things, and more, because we have both worked at it and been committed to our life together as a couple.

The miracle at Cana was ‘the first of the signs given by Jesus… He let his glory be seen, and his disciples believed in him.’

The everyday miracle for most of us whose marriages survive over time is that we take note of the signs, we are open to one another, and we believe in one another. And that’s no lie.

*The Wedding Invitation, by Michael Devlin.
For more on the Luminous Mysteries, visit pray.com.au/mysteries-of-light

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