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Denaha 4th S,Jan. 30, 2011 ,Jn.2:1-11

Scott Hahn , one of our foremost lay theologians, is a convert to Catholicism. After becoming a Catholic, he began to understand the power and grace of the sacraments. Speaking of the sacrament of marriage, he says: “The Sacrament of matrimony enables us to enlarge our vision of human life to see history as the sphere in which God enables us to become co-creators, co-teachers, co-redeemers with the one who created and redeemed us all, Jesus Christ.” He goes on to us say that as the sacrament of marriage is a channel of grace for the spouses, the time he spends in daily conversations and interactions with his wife is not just a worldly moment but one that is suffused with divine grace. His wife becomes a new tabernacle of the grace of God for him. Those words of Scott Hahn reveal to us the Christian conception of marriage.

In today’s Gospel, we become awe-struck at the presence of Jesus at the wedding at Cana and at the marvelous manner in which he begins his public ministry by changing water into wine.

The reading from the Gospel presents before us one of the most compelling and beautiful scenes in the Gospel of St. John. The marriage at Cana is an event replete with multiple layers of meanings. Mary’s intercession, the compassion of Jesus, the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus, and John’s special emphasis on signs and the hour are all packed compactly in this tight description of the marriage at Cana.

The family at Cana which might have been very close to Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary is caught in a crisis because of the shortage of the supply of wine. Mary intercedes for the family with her son, even without being asked for help by the family. Jesus, in spite of the fact hat he has not begun his ministry, does accede to the request of the Bl. Virgin Mary. She tells the people to do as he tells them. Even though she does not get a positive response from Jesus, she knows He would do what she asks of Him. The guests are surprised by the abundant supply of wine as well as by its excellent quality.

Six jars of water are customarily kept at a Jewish home for the purpose of cleansing for those who get defiled by contact with the dead as mentioned in Numbers19:11-12.Six stone jars used in those times would hold 120 gallons of water.

The evangelist uses the Greek word, semeion” meaning, sign or a miracle, for the miracle performed at Cana. The signs of Jesus according to the evangelist are miracles that reveal the power and glory of God working through Jesus Christ. The Fourth Gospel mentions seven signs in its first part from ch.1-12. Hence, the first half of the Gospel has been called the “Book of Signs.”

What strikes one when reflecting on this passage from the Gospel is the presence of Jesus at a wedding. His presence makes it an important event of grace for the couple. The presence of Jesus symbolizes the flow of divine grace in the lives of the married couple. The abundance of the supply of wine is an indication of the bounteous experience of the grace of God when one gets united with Jesus, the Lord of Life.

At a time like ours, when the institution of marriage experiences great stresses and strains, it would be of immense benefit if we reflect on the presence of Jesus in the life of Christian families. Recent studies have revealed that more than a million of children live in broken homes. Couples are willing to part ways when difficulties and strains affect the marriage. They forget the words of Jesus that “what God has united, let no man separate.” His words on the unity of marriage are clear and emphatic.

As Mary has approached Jesus, so too every Christian family should approach Him. A life without the presence of Jesus will be like a ship without an anchor. It will be wrecked by the storms that rage over it.

Archbishop Sheen has pointed out the need for faith in marriage by writing a book called “Three to Get Married.” According to him, “what binds the lover and the beloved together on earth is an ideal outside both…God.” He also points out that “it would be quite futile to think that marriage life will not experience problems and difficulties because of infidelity or cruelty.” He adds that “what makes life tragic is not so much what happens, but rather how we react to what happens.” He advises the families struggling with tensions and problems arising from lack of love and communication or faithfulness not to break the bond, but to utilize the sufferings for self, for children and for the spouse.

We have to look at our problems in the light of the victory achieved by our Lord over his death on the Cross. With Him around us, we can overcome all obstacles in our life.

The final victory is ours. Suffering and pain have lost the power to take away the joy from the life of Christians who believe in the power of the Cross.


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