Thank you to David Morson who kindly writes ‘ a Journey through St John’s Gospel to Holy Week’..
I love being a guest at a Wedding because besides sharing in the joy of family and friends it is also, to coin a phrase, like being in a very pleasant “lock down”. You are there for the day and there is nowhere else to go or be. All you have to do is celebrate and be happy. I am sure Jesus and His Mother and disciples were feeling the same when they were invited to the Wedding at Cana. However, there is always a concern for those organising the Day that everything will go well and without problems.
So, the deep embarrassment for the Bridegroom, who was responsible in Jewish Culture for the provision of the wine at a the Wedding, was palpable when he was informed that it had run out!
St John takes this very human situation and transforms it into a beautiful spiritual message.
For the Jews, a Marriage symbolised the relationship between God (,the Bridegroom) and His People, Israel, (the Bride). They has a Covenant or Contract Agreement. If they kept God’s Commandments, they both became and remained His People
For St John, Jesus became the Bridegroom, who through the Miracle, fulfilled the Bridegroom’s obligation to provide the Wine for the Bride, His Church whom He loved. St Paul’s Letter To The Ephesians.
A New Covenant or Contract was achieved when, on the night before He Died, Jesus offered Bread and Wine as His Body and Blood, as His self sacrifice of love and redemption for those who were to follow Him.
Unlike the Synoptic Gospels, John calls the Miracles of Jesus he records as, “Signs,” because they point to, (as does the whole Gospel), the Death and Resurrection of Jesus as the complete expression of God’s “Glory” or essence in the ,total and unconditional love expressed in the Cross..
St John opens his account of the Miracle, by referring to the Wedding taking place on, “The Third Day”, a direct reference to Easter Sunday. When His Blessed Mother asks Him to help the situation of the lack of Wine, He replies “My Hour has not yet come”. Throughout the Gospel, St John uses the word, “Hour” to refer to the time of Jesus’ Death on the Cross and acknowledges in the Garden of Gethsemene that “the Hour has come”
For us today, the way Jesus addresses His Mother as, “Woman” seems disrespectful, but in Aramaic the terms” Woman” and “Mother” are interchangeable’ Significantly however, Jesus’s use of the term was in fact a form of fundamental spiritual recognition of the role Mary was to play. She was to become the new Eve, (the Mother of all the Living), whose offspring will crush the Serpent’s Head whilst it would bruise His heal. thus heralding a new creation where a return to eternal life was possible. This was also a direct reference to Mary at the Foot Of The Cross with John when Jesus give Mary to John as his Mother, the Mother of all who follow Jesus and partake in His Sacrifice.
The six stone jars which were filled with water were significant. First, they were waiting to be filled. Secondly, the water becomes the “best wine”. These jars were used as vessels for the purification washing required to fulfil the Old Covenant expressed in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Now they are filled with the wine of the New Covenant the Blood of Jesus shed to reveal His Father’s relationship with us.