Glad They Came
by Rev. Matthew H. Zuberbueler
Reprinted by permission of "The Arlington Catholic Herald"
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John wrote to show that Christ was
the Messiah, the Divine Son of God.
There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servers, "Do whatever he tells you." Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told them, "Fill the jars with water." So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, "Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter." So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from - although the servers who had drawn the water knew -, the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, "Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now." Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.
"Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now."
Without researching the customary role of bridegrooms at wedding celebration in the time of Jesus, we can presume some basic things about the famous moment of the miraculous wine. The text tells us that the servers saw everything that went on, but the headwaiter did not. The headwaiter is surprised to discover the (higher than ever) quality of the wine. He questions the bridegroom but we don't hear the response. It is likely, very likely, that the whole story became known either at that moment or soon afterward. The happy couple that day had something extra to celebrate and to remember. Did they know the significance of what had happened? Did they come to know it later?
We don't know if the bridegroom knew about the wine running out and the intervention of Mary and Jesus to save the couple from embarrassment. If he did not know, then the question from the headwaiter as to why the best wine was saved for last, would have surprised him as well. In that case, he might have been annoyed by the question or disappointed that he (or someone else designated to manage things) had made such a mistake. We can imagine the headwaiter presenting the groom with a glass of the good wine to make his point. And the groom, surprised, wondering and asking about it would, of course, learn the story. He would ask how it happened. At least later he would.
Having concluded the celebration, with everything cleaned up and put away, the groom, maybe the next day, might have asked what had taken place to discover who made what mistake. The headwaiter by then would have known what the servers were saying. "A guest told her son about the need and he gave instruction to the servers? Yes. And they obeyed? Yes. They filled up all the water jars at his word? Yes. Then, the guest told the waiters to bring some to me and when I tasted it I was amazed at how good it was. At the time, I didn't know where they got it. When you didn't know about it, I questioned them further and they told me it had been water just moments before. I know it seems far-fetched, but that is what happened. I assure you, sir."
If it happened in that way, after the guests were gone, the bridegroom would be left thinking about who had done it, how and why. It is likely that he knew the guests personally. But if he did know Mary and Jesus, or if he did not, it remains true that this revealed something about them he would not have known. Until then, Jesus had not worked any "signs." Even this sign was one he seemed reluctant to do. The trajectory of his life would change dramatically once he became know for something so amazing. Mary's life would also change.
The bridegroom has a need a express thanks for this unusual gift. "Where are Mary and Jesus staying? I must go to them and thank them. What will I say? I want to say "Did you really turn water into wine? Is that rude? How did he do that anyway? There is nothing odd about them. They are the most genuine people. We were honored they came. I have heard that he had been out in the desert praying and fasting right up until the wedding. What could that mean?"
Arriving at the place where they were staying, the bridegroom learns that the left early in the morning.
"I must find them and thank them. Meanwhile, thanks be to God."
Exactly. Thanks be to Jesus, thanks be to God.
"Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him."
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