Chinese Mass：Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.
Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)
After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering
Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)
Talk and discussion meeting First Tuesday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church
[1st Reading – Is.62:1-5; Ps.95; 2nd Reading – 1Cor.12:4-11; Gospel – Jn.2:1-11]
“THE BEST WINE”
The marriage at Cana in Galilee is a well-known story and the gospel writer, John, uses it to tell us that this was the first “sign” given by Jesus, where He let his glory be seen and where his disciples believed in Him. But what “sign” is John referring to? Is it the sign of Jesus’ power? Is it the sign of the “hour of Jesus” which Jesus mentioned earlier on? Is it a sign of the presence of God with his people? John conveys this message and shows us what kind of sign is it by referring us back to the Old Testament.
We know of the place Cana because of this marriage and Jesus often talked about marriage banquets in his teaching. In the Old Testament, marriage is used to show the relationship between God and Israel where the relationship is placed on the same level as the relationship between the bridegroom and his bride. A look at the first reading will help us to understand the importance of this resemblance. So, by putting us into this wedding celebration, John is putting us into the relationship between God and his people. Jesus, as was “the mother of Jesus… and his disciples” were all invited as guests. Here, Jesus is depicted as a Rabbi with disciples. Rabbis knew what was written in the Law and were looked upon as Teachers of the Law of Moses.
Interestingly, the disciples were not mentioned again in this story. Instead Mary (the one through whom Jesus became flesh) robs the scene and for a short while became the protagonist. She was the one who went to Jesus and told Him that they had no wine. Wine was very important in wedding banquets, in meals, and throughout the whole of the Old Testament. The same wine became very important in the New Testament as well because it became the sign and symbol of Jesus’ Death and resurrection (i.e. our Salvation). So, when Mary told Jesus that the “spouses” had no wine and Jesus’ answer to Mary was that “his hour” had not yet come, his mother acted as the Prophets of old and spoke in God’s name to the servants (those who were in attendance) to “do whatever he tells you!”. Mary’s words at the wedding in Cana are an echo telling us to do the same thing.
We all know what happened next. Even though “his hour” had not yet come, at his mother’s request, Jesus asked the servants to fill the stone jars with water and he changed the water into wine. These jars were meant for the ablutions (customary among the Jewish traditions). Thus Jesus, at the asking of those in need (through his mother Mary), intervened as God used to do in the Old Testament: Jesus took from one humble and maybe insignificant thing (i.e. the water and the jars for ablution) and He managed to bring forth something new and precious and saved the wedding banquet (i.e. relationship feast) by providing the “best” wine.
If we keep in mind the relationship of God with His people in the Old Testament, through the steward’s words to the bridegroom (God Himself), Jesus was the “best wine kept till that moment”!
“Lord, may your Spirit which is given to us through various gifts help us to recognise you as the true and best wine in our life. Thank You Lord!”
Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.
(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )