Categories: Pastor's Desk

When I was a child, I remember going to several birthday parties where my friend’s parents had hired an illusionist for entertainment. It was mesmerizing to see this person go through their tricks, using sleight of hand to make it appear as if they were performing magic. One of the tricks that was often performed was changing a glass of water into some other liquid, like milk or apple juice. The illusionist never let anyone taste the transformed liquid, though: because if they did, it would be clear that it was all a trick, using little more than water and a bit of food colouring.

In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus changing water into wine at the wedding of Cana. Jesus’ actions, however, are far more than just a simple party trick. John refers to this action as a sign, which sets the stage for the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. John speaks of signs, not miracles, because each one reveals a truth about Jesus, the Word of God. That is also why John’s Gospel only contains seven signs, while the other three Gospels contain many more miracle stories. John wants us to reflect on each of these signs, and to allow them to speak to us about who Jesus is, and why he chose to dwell among us as our Saviour.

What lessons do we gain from the sign at Cana? The first is that Jesus does not perform this miracle to call attention to himself. He does not stand up in front of the crowd and say, “Look at what I’m going to do!” He does it quietly, so as not to draw attention to the predicament. In a culture where wedding celebrations went on for days, running out of wine would have been an embarrassment. So, Jesus chooses to preserve the dignity of the couple, and performs this sign quietly in the background. This is a reminder of the importance of humility in the Christian life. The quality of the wine, as well as the sheer quantity produced- about 600 litres, remind us of the abundance of God’s grace, present in our lives, through the saving work of Jesus Christ.

This Gospel passage also teaches us an important message about Mary’s role in the history of salvation. Mary speaks five words to the servants in today’s Gospel: “Do whatever he tells you.” Mary speaks these words to us as well. She calls us to listen to her Son, and gives us a call to mission, in order to be of service to others. Throughout this week, I invite you to spend some time in prayer, reflecting on how you can heed Mary’s words in your own life.

Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Steven Huber, CSB