The First Sign at Cana

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office

Psalm 18:1-20 (Morning)
Psalm 18:21-50 (Evening)
2 Samuel 23:13-17b
2 John 1-13
John 2:1-11

The First Sign at Cana

Have you ever hosted a special event for a loved one? Even with joyful anticipation, the planning and preparation can be so stressful and take several months, yes?! The big evening arrives, the extravagant dinner is served, everyone is enjoying the celebration. Suddenly, the caterer tells you there are only a few bottles of wine left. The night is young, the guests are unaware; what do you do?

To us, this doesn’t qualify as a show-stopper. Somebody runs to the liquor store, no guest notices, the flow of the evening continues. But close your eyes, open your imagination: remove the cellphones, the speed of transportation, the convenient retail stores, and the mass production of alcohol. Place in the scene, an ancient culture where hospitality to guests was a grave responsibility, so much so that mistakes or mishaps were badges of shame pinned to the hosts’ reputations for the rest of their lives.

John’s gospel tells the story of a wedding in Cana. When Mary turned and said to her son, “they have no wine,” perhaps she had helped with the laborious planning. Perhaps she was related to one of the families of the newlyweds, caring deeply that they not be shamed, wanting to spare the bride and groom that lifelong badge of humiliation. Whatever Mary was feeling, it eclipsed the timing Jesus planned to begin his public life. Although Jesus replies abruptly, “Woman, what concern is that to you and me? My hour has not yet come,” he still does what his mother asks of him. Mary is not put off by his response; she knows her son. “Do whatever he tells you,” she directs the wait staff, confident Jesus will perform a supernatural sign in order to help.

The bridegroom is complimented — “You’ve saved the best [wine] till now!”

At this joyful event, Jesus began his public ministry, revealing his glory as the Son of God, pouring his Spirit into us in abundance, giving us God’s best.

(P.S. Jesus’s first public miracle is teeming with beautiful symbolism and rich metaphor; google to read more on it!)

Written by Bernadette Reda

Bernadette is a writer, mom, wife, grandmum, and communication scholar who finds inexhaustible joy and humor in her dogs, nature, music, writing and fixing small appliances while gleefully torturing loved ones with witty puns and homemade jokes.

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