The gospel of Jesus turning water into wine gives us three strong messages: Jesus, an adult, taking the advice of his mother; Jesus “revealing his glory” publicly for the first time; and Jesus serving the people of God by making sure the celebration of the wedding could continue.
Yes, you’re the Messiah, but I’m still your mom. Thirty-year-old Jesus had a different perspective than did his 40-something mother on how involved to become in the problem of the wine shortage. He said that the time wasn’t quite right; she nudged him to do the miracle anyway. His change of mind showed the value he placed on his relationship with his mother. We would be wise, in our own decision-making, to consider the advice of our parents, who may see talent or opportunity where we miss it.
“When my husband was considering dropping out of grad school, my mother advised against it,” says Brigid. At the time the couple had a toddler, and Brigid was pregnant.
“I thought dropping out was a good idea because it would give Bob more time to help me with the children, but my mom pointed out that as the kids get older, he would have more to miss if he went back to school later. I will always be grateful to my mother for that advice.”
Revealing his glory publicly. Jesus never explains why he felt his “hour had not yet come.” Mary, however, seems quite confident that her son can solve the problem of the wine shortage. Jesus’ hesitation can give us some comfort when we feel reluctance to use our God-given talents to be of service. Even the best of us need encouragement to come forward to help the community.
“I wouldn’t have ever volunteered to be a eucharistic minister on my own,” says Kyle. “But when a guy from my parish said they were short at each Mass and asked me to do it, I said yes, and it’s been a really enriching experience. I’m glad he asked me.”
Weddings: A party with a purpose. Our church points to this gospel story as one of the reasons marriage is a sacrament—Jesus’ first public miracle shows the relationship he has with his people, the church. In fact, the church uses marriage language to describe its relationship to Christ, its “bridgeroom.”
“Part of the theology of the sacrament is expressed in the wedding prayers describing the love between a husband and wife as a mirror of Christ’s love for the church,” explains Franciscan Father Mike Bertram, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Milwaukee. “For me, that’s an amazing and challenging description of a couple’s commitment that leaves me in awe. It speaks of a couple’s love, fidelity, and commitment as reminders to all of us of the same great traits seen in God’s love, fidelity, and commitment to us.
“In the profession of vows of a husband and wife, there is a glimpse of God,” says Bertram. “That’s what I see in the sacrament of marriage: two people who love, and in that love we see God. But if all we see is a couple in love with each other, we’ve fallen short and we cut the couple short, too.”
In most marriages the management of ordinary day-to-day life is punctuated by serious decisions and challenges that invite the couple to delve deep into their love and commitment in order to move forward. There is no greater sign of God’s love than a unified couple, working hard together.
By Annemarie Scobey, from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the Best in Class award in 2013 from the Associated Church Press, as well as a First Place General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association for the past four years running. Here’s a sample issue.
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Photo: ©istock/Kristian Sekulic