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Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign


A wedding feast without wine is an embarrassment to the newlyweds. Imagine drinking tea at your wedding reception? Wine is a must for the feast.” ~ Pope Francis

On this 1st Saturday of January wherein we celebrate the Memorial of Saint Raymond of Penyafort, our Gospel takes us back to the Wedding Feast at Cana (John 2:1-11), the first of Jesus’ countless public miracles (John 21:25). It is here that our Lord is manifested to Israel and the rest of the world as the promised Messiah. In fact during the early portion of John’s Gospel, the beloved disciple recalls many of the miracles performed by Jesus during his public ministry, referring to them as “signs.”

The miracle at Cana is labeled as the first of many signs that reveals Jesus’ glory, like momentary flashes of intense light that swiftly pass away. It is not until Jesus comes to “his hour” that his glory is fullyrevealed. It is the details of this story that have always interested me. Mary’s role immediately comes to mind.

John mentions our Blessed Mother in this tale because her role is indispensable to the outcome. Could Jesus have performed this sign without Mary’s intercession? Of course. But the significance of Mary’s role as an intercessor on behalf of the wedding couple is very telling. It is through Mary that God has willed to become incarnate by way of the Holy Spirit, and it is through Mary that Jesus manifests his glory. He is now set firmly on the path that will lead to his death and the subsequent full manifestation of his glory. It is Mary who initiates this divine sequence of events.

“Woman, how does your concern affect me?” This was Jesus‘ response to his mother when she alerts him to the fact they they’ve run out of wine. At that moment, Mary utters the words of a perfect disciple. “Do whatever he tells you” she tells those who are charged with solving this dilemma. Mary is obedient to her son, ultimately placing the entire matter in Jesus’ hands knowing that he will handle it according to his perfect judgment. Jesus in turn decides to perform a miracle and thus manifests himself as the divine Messiah. Everything would now be different. The plan for the salvation of man was now tangibly set in motion.

Just as Jesus is capable of turning water into wine, so too is he capable of changing a person’s heart from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). To a heart like his. We are called to do what we can, to cooperate in Jesus’ salvific mission. But we are also called to trust Jesus, to get out of his way and let him do his part. To believe that whatever he accomplishes in our lives is what’s best. In this way we act as faithful disciples of Jesus in imitation of Mary, the perfect disciple, cooperating with God’s work of redemption and sanctification.

Love is at the heart of Jesus’ mission, an extravagant love, a love which seeks to give his beloved children only the very best, like the “good wine” he bestowed upon the pensive newlyweds at Cana (2:10). Does God have more to give you? More grace, more forgiveness, more revelation, more blessings?

Signs point to yes.

For more on the First Saturday Devotion, please revisit my previous reflection on the topic:

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