Very Rev. Fr.Joychen Paranjattu,
Vicar General Diocese of Rajkot
In all the readings of today, we see God showing his might and power. He reveals himself as the all powerful God. In the first reading, the Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s power limited? Soon my words will be fulfilled”. Moses had chosen 70 elders to help him. The Lord descended in a cloud and gave to everyone the Spirit which He had taken from Moses and they all prophesied. Joshua was jealous of two elders who prophesied in the camp. He wanted Moses to prohibit them. However, Moses’ desire was that everyone would receive the Spirit from the Lord and do God’s will. As Moses and the elders entered the camp God sent them quails into the camp, and while they were eating God punished those who had desired Egyptian food and many were buried there. God punished those who looked back to slavery and did not look forward with freedom and trust in God.
The Letter to the Hebrews says that unlike the sacrifice offered by the Levitical priests, Jesus’ sacrifice is once and for all for the forgiveness of sins. His priesthood is eternal. Jesus is not there to punish those who disobey, but rather, to save them.
This saving act of Jesus is presented in the wedding scene at Cana. The Structure of John 2:1-11 is typical of a miracle story: the setting is established (vv. 1-2), a need arises (vv. 3-5), a miracle addresses that need (vv. 6-8), and there is a response to that miracle (vv. 9-11); that is, Jesus reveals his glory and the disciples believe in Jesus. Mother of Jesus, Jesus and the disciples of Jesus were invited for the wedding. Jesus’ mother is never called ‘Mary’ in the Fourth Gospel. She is introduced first because of her prominent role in the story. Unlike the first reading, where God punished the Israelites for their craving for food, Jesus the eschatological figure, in the Gospel, provides for the family what they lack, namely wine.
The wedding setting and the banquet imagery are used to symbolize the messianic era. The passage directly presents the problem: when the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus reports to him, “They have no wine”. It only meant that she wanted him to do something to solve this problem. And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” Jesus’ response to her sounds rude and harsh to us, but he is not being hostile to her. The use of rhetorical effect of the greeting and this expression is to downplay the familial relationship between Jesus and Mary and create a sense of distance between them. The reason is that his hour has not yet come. The word “hour” is a theologically rich term in the Fourth Gospel used to refer to the era of eschatological fulfilment and especially to Jesus’ glorification through his passion, death, Resurrection, and ascension (7:30; 8:20; 12:23; 13:1; 17:1). God alone knows the ‘hour’.
Mary tells the servants, “Do whatever he tells you”. She demonstrates a trust in Jesus’ ability to address the need that has arisen. The disciples believe in Jesus after the miracle (v. 11), but Mary believes in the efficacy of Jesus’ word before it. She trusts that whatever he says will work. Mary had already surrendered her life to the word. Mary teaches us to trust in the efficacy of Jesus, the Word that became flesh. The changing of water to wine is Jesus’ first public act in John, the inaugural “sign” of God’s presence in the world through him. The real bridegroom who served the superior wine, Jesus, has ‘now’ appeared, ushering into the world God’s abundant goodness and grace in a definite way. For John, Jesus’ miracles are ‘signs’ that reveal salvation, abundance, and new life now present in the world through Jesus. Jesus’ reveals his glory as God’s son through whom salvation enters the world. John says, believe and you will be saved. There is a constant invitation in the gospel of John ‘to believe’ in Jesus’ power and to experience God’s powerful intervention in one’s life. He will not abandon us in our need.