Additional Resource Material for this Sunday
Ideal for catechetical and liturgical dramatization of today's gospel.
2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Cycle C)
The Bride and
Groom of Cana
††††† The wedding feasts in Israel lasted for seven days. Wine was an indispensable item, being the most popular drink, and a symbol of love. Red wine was commonly drunk. There was much eating, drinking and dancing during these feasts. A lot of food and sufficient wine had to be prepared in order not to disappoint the guests who looked forward to this week-long celebration, considered the most awaited event of the year. Among the poor communities, wedding feasts entailed an enormous economic effort on the part of the groomsí families. Although these weddings in Cana are usually depicted as celebrations among the wealthy and the elegant, they had to have taken place in an environment of the poor, to which Jesus and his friends belonged. They were occasions for merrymaking, for excitement, typical of Oriental feasts, and were even a bigger hit among the lower class.
††††† Only John gives us an account of the weddings at Cana. The very structure of his gospel, as well as his style, makes it a theological synthesis of Jesusí message in which every historical detail contains a symbolic meaning. Israelís tradition, her poetry, and the prophetsí writings portrayed the Messiahís coming in the form of a wedding. In the Messianic feast, wine flowed in abundance (Is 25:6). In Cana, Jesus changed the water into wine: The water represented purification as commanded by the Jewish laws, which dictated that religion, for many, should center on the fulfillment of external norms. All this ends with Jesus: the water is changed into wine, which is a symbol of feasting, of inner freedom, of the eucharist which is sharing. The sign of the coming of the Kingdom of God is not the oppressive law, but a communal life. We must read this account, therefore, not in the context of a miracle, but as an announcement of Godís plan. The day of feasting for the poor has come, a celebration without end. There ought to be endless joy, for God will have more and more wine to toast.
††††† Jesus was a cheerful man with an open mind, who sang and danced with his townmates. He was not a mere spectator at their feasts, who would simply bless the occasion with his presence. Rather, he was another participant in these happy gatherings. One does not have to go to the temple nor to a quiet place in order to meet the Lord. God is in the midst of hustle and bustle, in a banquet or in a dance. He even organizes these feasts: Jesus compared once and again the heaven that God prepares for his children to a wedding feast.
††††† Maryís intervention at this moment in Jesusí life has been used, at times, as an argument to boost the theological idea that we need Maryís intercession in obtaining Godís favors: Mary would ask them from Jesus and Jesus, from God. Nevertheless, Christian tradition strongly insists that the only mediator between God and people is Jesus, the Master of history, on account of his resurrection (letter to the Hebrews). Maryís presence in the wedding at Cana and her intercession before Jesus, on one hand is a symbol: The faithful Israel (represented by the mother) acknowledges that ďthere is no more wineĒ in the stone containers (which represent the Mosaic law written on stone tablets). This means that the Law has lost its value, and is devoid of meaning.
††††† On the other hand, it is a proof that Maryís life was like that of Jesus. She shared her daily chores with her neighbors, as well as the problems of her people and their joys. Like any other woman, she did not stand-out on account of any miraculous sign.
††††† Regarding what we call miracles, John, in his gospel always refers to them, using the Greek word ďsemeionĒ (ďsignĒ). This may serve as a clue for us not to reduce a miraculous act to a mere work of wonder that is more or less spectacular. A miracle is always a sign that God liberates or releases human beings: from sickness, from fear, and from the sadness of death... In each of the accounts about the signs made by Jesus, it is necessary to determine what these signs indicate, what form of liberation they are referring to, and of what relevance they can be for us, rather than focus on the significance of whether something extraordinary took place or not.
from the book: A Certain Jesus, Vol. 1 (Chapter
This book offers a new approach to appreciating the life of Jesus. The first part of the Chapter is in dialogue form in an up-to-date conversational language. This makes the reader realize that Jesus was once a very ordinary guy, a typical man in his time. The last part of each chapter contains an explanation of the biblical references, thus giving one the perspective for reflection.
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