Friday, January 6, 2017


Homily for January 7th, 2017: John 2:1-11.
Jesus begins his ministry in this fourth gospel, according to John, by changing water into wine. In Scripture a wedding symbolizes God=s love for his people. At Cana, as at Calvary Mary is the symbol of the Church=s faith and love for the Lord. AThey have no wine,@ Mary tells her Son. Her Son’s response seems discouraging B AWoman, how does your concern affect me?@ B Mary=s confidence remains unshaken. ADo whatever he tells you,@ she instructs the servants.        
The story=s richest symbolism, however, is the changing of water into wine.  Water symbolizes God=s precious gift of the Law to his people. The lifegiving wisdom enshrined in the holy books that we call the Old Testament satisfied his people=s thirst for knowledge of God, the ultimate author of those books. 
Now, at Cana, Jesus changes this water into the exhilarating wine of the gospel B the good news that God has visited his people by sending them his Son, to celebrate with them a wedding feast which symbolizes God=s passionate love for us.
Is all that just a beautiful story -- long ago and far away? Don=t you believe it! Cana is here and now, at the Eucharist. At the table of the word Jesus satisfies our thirst for knowledge of life=s meaning with the wine of the gospel. At the table of his body and blood he strengthens us to live in accordance with the gospel B to live not just for ourselves, but for God and for others. Here, as at Cana, Jesus gives not only abundantly but super-abundantly. The gifts he offers us are beyond limit. We come repeatedly because our capacity to receive is limited.  

Here we invoke Mary, still today the symbol of faith and love, still saying to us what she said to the servants at Cana: ADo whatever he tells you.@ Here at the Eucharist God celebrates with us a joyful wedding feast, the symbol today, as always, of his passionate and unwavering love for us.

So much symbolism. So much beauty. So much drama. Do we realize it B and truly worship?