2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

COMMENTARYCATENA AUREADISCUSSION QUESTIONS
SOURCE: Larry Broding

In Brief

Our Sunday Visitor

  • Today’s reading is the first miracle story in the Gospel of John.
  • Throughout John’s Gospel, Jesus’ “hour” referred to the combined moments of his passion, death, resurrection and ascension.
  • At the wedding in Cana, Jesus responds to his mother’s request by performing a miracle to symbolize that hour.

⛪ COMPARATIVE REFERENCE

Setting the Scene

A wedding in Cana in Galilee

SERMON WRITER: Why would his first sign be wine for a party? Why not one of the more significant miracles? Keep in mind that, in this Gospel, Jesus speaks and acts on more than one level. It is only on a surface level that this story is about wine for a party.

FR. EAMON TOBIN: Jesus uses a simple wedding occasion to reveal himself as the bridegroom Israel has waited for, for hundreds of years. He is sent by God to woo and wed a new bride, a new Israel, joining Jews and Gentiles into one body.

SERMON WRITER: The significance of Cana is its insignificance. Just as God regularly chooses unlikely candidates to do his work (Moses, David, Gideon, etc.), so also he chooses unlikely places to reveal his glory.

A Wedding Invitation

The mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited…

✏️ APPLICATION
  • FR. TONY KADAVIL: St. John Mary Vianney suggests that we invite Jesus, Mary (and the Saints) to remain with us in our homes as a solution for many of our family problems. He used to encourage parents to create an atmosphere of prayer, Bible-reading, mutual love, mutual respect, and sacrificial service at home, so that the presence of Jesus and Mary might be perpetually enhanced and experienced in the family.

Mary’s Request

“They have no wine.” 

AGAPE BIBLE STUDY: The purpose of this incident is to instruct us and to help us to understand the power of Mary’s intervention, not just on behalf of the bride and groom at Cana, but her concern and ability to intervene for all her children who keep God’s commandments and bear witness to Jesus (Rev 12:17).

✏️ APPLICATION
  • FR. EAMON TOBIN: “They have no more wine” could symbolize a time when our lives are on empty, when we have no more to give. What helps you to deal with such times?
🔴 CATHOLIC THEOLOGY & PRAXIS

Jesus’ Response

“Woman…” 

AGAPE BIBLE STUDY: This verse is a scandal to some and a stumbling block to many.  It becomes a stumbling block to those who incorrectly interpret this passage as a rebuke and an expression of Jesus’ separation from Mary, suggesting that she is not any more important to Him than any other sinner in need of salvation.  It is also a scandal for Catholics who love Mary and cannot understand why Jesus would speak so disrespectfully to His mother!

FR. EAMON TOBIN: John’s Gospel never calls Mary by her name. At the beginning and end of the Gospel, Jesus addresses his mother, “Woman,” which defines her larger role in salvation history as the ‘New Eve,’ the universal woman.

MARY AS THE NEW EVE

Women in the Church

AGAPE BIBLE STUDY: How perfect is God’s plan that although sin and death entered the world through the disobedience of the woman Eve (who led the man Adam into sin), we can now compare the role of women in salvation history to the woman Mary, the new Eve, who leads her son, Jesus, the new Adam, to His first glorious work at Cana!  All women have Mary as their role model in fulfilling their vocation as mothers to raise holy children who will continue to work for God’s plan of salvation.

Satan used the virgin Eve to bring destruction, and God used the Virgin Mary to bring about our redemption from sin.  Just as a woman and a man cooperated in bringing sin into to world, in God’s plan of redemption, a woman (in her obedience to God) and her Son cooperated to bring God’s salvation.

Without Mary’s role as the new Eve, women would still bear the burden and condemnation for leading Adam into sin.  Mary releases women from that burden.

SOURCE: Michal E. Hunt’s Agape Bible Study. Used with permission.
🔴 CATHOLIC THEOLOGY & PRAXIS

“How does your concern affect me?” 

AGAPE BIBLE STUDY: The problem lies in the interpretation of a Hebrew idiom, rendered in Greek as ti emoi kai soi.  This idiom should be translated: “What to me and to you?” which means, “What has it to do with you and me?”  This expression implies a divergence of views, but the precise meaning must be determined, as always, from the context of the passage that clearly shows His comment to His mother was not a rebuttal much less a rebuke!

'WOMAN' IN OTHER SCRIPTURE PASSAGES

AGAPE BIBLE STUDY:  It is helpful to look at this same Hebrew idiom in verse 4 in other passages in Scripture. The Hebrew idiom appears in five Old Testament passages:

  1. In Judges 11:12, where Jephthah responds in a hostile challenge to the King of the Ammonites.
  2. In 2 Samuel 16:10, where David says ti emoi kai umin (plural, in the Greek Septuagint translation) to his cousins, the sons of Zeruiah, meaning that he does not agree with their advice (also see 2 Sam 19:23).
  3. In 1 Kings 17:18, when the woman of Zarephath reproaches Elijah for the death of her son.
  4. In 2 Kings 3:13, the prophet Elisha refuses the King of Israel’s request to consult with him.
  5. In 2 Chronicles 35:21, when Neco, King of Egypt, tells King Josiah there is no quarrel between them to cause them to go to war.

The Greek phrase “ti emoi kai soi” = “what to me and you,” appears six times in the New Testament:

  1. In Matthew 8:29, when the demoniacs of Gadara shouted to Jesus What do you want with us (“what is it to me and you/singular”), Son of God?
  2. In Mark 1:24, when Jesus cures the man possessed by a demon at Capernaum when the man shouts What do you want with us (“what to me and to you/plural”), Jesus of Nazareth?
  3. In Mark 5:7, when the man with the unclean spirit says the same thing to Jesus in his attempt to urge Jesus to let him alone.
  4. In Luke 4:34, that repeats the exchange with the demoniac of Capernaum and
  5. In Luke 8:28, that repeats the story of the Gadara demoniacs.
  6. In John 2:4, when Jesus responds to his mother’s request concerning the wine.

The phrase does not always imply a reproach but sometimes suggests a divergence of opinion.  The shade of meaning can be determined from the context.  In this passage, Jesus’ objection is only that His hour has not yet come.

SOURCE: Michal E. Hunt’s Agape Bible Study. Used with permission.

Jesus’ “Hour” 

“My hour has not yet come.”

AGAPE BIBLE STUDY: To some scholars, the reference to “the hour” refers to the “hour” of his glorification.  To others, it is the “hour” that marks the beginning of His public ministry and His manifestation as the Messiah.  But all scholars will agree that in John’s Gospel the reference to Jesus’ “hour” most often points to the “hour” of Christ’s passion and death on the cross…

It will be His blood that is shed that will become the “best wine” of Holy Communion that provides the blessings for all of humanity through His sacrificial death. (HUNT)

VERSES IN JOHN REFERRING TO THE 'COMING HOUR'

AGAPE BIBLE STUDY:

Scripture reference in John’s Gospel Scripture passage referring to the “coming hour”

(emphasis added)

1.  2:4 Jesus to His mother: “my hour has not yet come.”
2.  4:21 Jesus to the Samaritan woman: “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
3.  4:23 Jesus to the Samaritan woman: “But the hour is coming, indeed is already here, when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth…”
4.  5:25 Jesus to the Jewish crowd: “In all truth (amen, amen) I tell you, the hour is coming; indeed it is already here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and all who hear it will live.”
5.  5:28 Jesus to the Jewish crowd: “Do not be surprised at this, for the hour is coming when the dead will leave their graves at the sound of his voice.”
6.  7:30 They wanted to arrest him then, but because his hour had not yet come no one laid a hand on him.
7.  8:20 He spoke these words in the Treasury while teaching in the Temple.  No one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
8.  12:23 Jesus replied to them: “Now the hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified.
9 & 10.  12:27 Jesus to His disciples: “What shall I say: Father, save me from this hour?  But it is for this very reason that I have come to this hour.”
11.  13:1 Before the festival of the Passover, Jesus, knowing that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father, having loved those who were his in the world, loved them to the end.
12. 16:25 Jesus to the disciples: “I have been telling you these things in veiled language.  The hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in veiled language but tell you about the Father in plain words.”
13. 16:32 Jesus at the Last Supper linking His “hour” to the disciple’s “hour”: “Listen; the hour will come; indeed it has come already when you are going to be scattered, each going his own way and leaving me alone”
14. 17:1 After saying this, Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said: “Father, the hour has come: glorify your Son so that Your Son may glorify you”
SOURCE: Michal E. Hunt’s Agape Bible Study. Used with permission.

Mary’s Direction to the Servants

“Do whatever he tells you.” 

SERMON WRITER: Her response is modeled after Pharaoh’s instruction to the Egyptians during the famine (Genesis 41:55), where Pharaoh showed his confidence in Joseph by putting him in charge of managing the crisis. Jesus’ mother demonstrates the same confidence that Jesus can and will do something to remedy crisis at this wedding.

FR. EAMON TOBIN: Notice how Mary does not draw attention to herself. Rather, she tells the waiters to “do whatever Jesus tells you to do.” The essence of faithful discipleship is doing whatever Jesus tells us to do. When it comes to faithful discipleship, Mary is our model

AGAPE BIBLE STUDY: It is the same advice Mary gives to all her spiritual children in the family of God: to do as her Son tells them and to be obedient to the will of God in their lives.

The Six Stone Jars

Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons.

FR. EAMON TOBIN: A central theme in John’s Gospel is what scholars call replacement theology. John presents Jesus as the one who replaces Jewish customs, rituals and feasts with himself. Previously used as a means to holiness, these customs and rituals are now replaced by Jesus himself, whose teaching, Death and Resurrection saved us and offer us new life.

AGAPE BIBLE STUDY: Ritual purification was very important under the Laws of the Old Covenant.  We know that these jars held “holy water” because John tells us that they are stone vessels and not the usual fired pottery vessels that contained wine.  Holy water was kept in stone vessels.  Using the symbolism of numbers, John may be calling attention to the number six as just short of perfection, which according to tradition is the number seven.  The Old Covenant rituals of purification were not complete or perfect but were only a preparation for the purity and perfection promised in the New Covenant.

✏️ APPLICATION
  • VINCE CONTRERAS: How unconditionally do you do whatever Jesus tells you to do (verse 5)? Do you ever try to place limits on what he can tell you to do? What spiritual gifts has he given to you and to those around you to help carry out his will (see Second Reading)?

Jesus as the Bridegroom

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.”

AGAPE BIBLE STUDY: The president of the feast is not a servant but is a friend of the groom.  Some scholars suggest that he is what we would call “the best-man”; it is a suggestion that fits well theologically with what John the Baptist will teach at the end of chapter 3.

SOURCE: Michal E. Hunt’s Agape Bible Study. Used with permission.

Good Wine, Symbolism of

AGAPE BIBLE STUDY: What does this superior wine coming at the end of the feast suggest symbolically?

📖  CHURCH FATHERS

AGAPE BIBLE STUDY:  St. Thomas Aquinas and other Fathers of the Church saw this abundance of good wine kept for the end of the celebrations as symbolizing the crowning moment in Salvation History when God has sent His own Son whose teaching will perfect the old revelation of God received by the patriarchs and Old Covenant Church.  Now the graces Christ brings will far exceed their expectations.

The wine replacing the water, in essence, symbolized the replacement of the Old Covenant and the superabundance of the New Covenant, the temporal blessings of the Old Covenant with the eternal blessings of the New.  They also saw this good wine coming at the end as prefiguring the reward and the joy of eternal life, which God grants to those who desire to follow Christ in obedience. (See St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on St. John)

SOURCE: Michal E. Hunt’s Agape Bible Study. Used with permission.
SYMBOLIC IMAGERY: DRINKING THE BEST WINE (OT)

AGAPE BIBLE STUDY:

The Symbolic Images of the Old Testament Prophets:
The Image of Drinking Wine
Image Group
Part I
Covenant relationship
Part II
Rebellion
Part III
Redemptive Judgment
Part IV
Restoration Fulfilled
Drinking
Wine
Joy of drinking good wine
Becoming drunk
Loss of wine and drinking the “cup of God’s wrath”
Rejoicing in the best “new wine” at the Master’s table
examples Scripture
Jeremiah 40:12;
Isaiah 62:8-9
Isaiah 5:11-12; 28:1; Jeremiah 8:13; 48:26; 51:7;
Joel 1:5
Joel 4:13; Isaiah 51:17; 63:2-3; Jeremiah 13:12-14; 25:15-31; 48:26
Ezekiel 23:32-33
Promise: Zech.9:15-16
Filled: Luke 22:19-20;
1 Corinthians 11:23-32;
Revelation 19:7-9
SOURCE: Michal E. Hunt’s Agape Bible Study. Used with permission.

🔵 THE GOSPEL IN DRAMA & ART
SHOW/HIDE VIDEOS

DRAMATIZATIONS

ART

LEARN MORE: The Wedding at Cana (second video) is one of 22 murals by Canning Liturgical Arts for the restoration of the Cathedral of Saint Patrick in Norwich, CT.

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS: Painting of the Marriage at Cana

Commentary on the Four Gospels,
Collected out of the Works of the Fathers, by Saint Thomas Aquinas

JOHN 2:1-4

1. And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:

2. And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.

3. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.

4. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xxi. [al. xx.] 1) Our Lord being known in Galilee, they invite Him to a marriage: And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee.

ALCUIN. Galilee is a province; Cana a village in it.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xxi. 1) They invite our Lord to the marriage, not as a great person, but merely as one they knew, one of the many; for which reason the Evangelist says, “And the mother of Jesus was there.” As they invited the mother, so they invited the Son: and therefore, Jesus was called, and His disciples to the marriage: and He came, as caring more for our good, than His own dignity. He who disdained not to take upon Him the form of a servant, disdained not to come to the marriage of servants.

AUGUSTINE. (In Verb. Dom. Serm. xli) Let the proud man blush to see the humility of God. Lo, among other things, the Son of the Virgin comes to a marriage; He who, when He was with the Father, instituted marriage.

[In this passage] are condemned the errors of [those] who detract from the honor of marriage. For if the undefiled bed, and the marriage celebrated with due chastity, partook at all of sin, our Lord would never have come to one.

BEDE. (Hom. 2d Sund. after Epiph.) His condescension in coming to the marriage, and the miracle He performed there, are, even considering them in the letter only, a strong confirmation of the faith. Therein too are condemned the errors of Tatian, Marcion, and others who detract from the honor of marriage. For if the undefiled bed, and the marriage celebrated with due chastity, partook at all of sin, our Lord would never have come to one. Whereas now, conjugal chastity being good, the continence of widows better, the perfection of the virgin state best, to sanction all these degrees, but distinguish the merit of each, He deigned to be born of the pure womb of the Virgin; was blessed after birth by the prophetic voice of the widow Anna; and now invited in manhood to attend the celebration of a marriage, honours that also by the presence of His goodness.

For the Word is the Bridegroom, and human flesh the bride

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. viii. c. 4) What marvel, if He went to that house to a marriage, Who came into this world to a marriage. For here He has His spouse whom He redeemed with His own blood, to whom He gave the pledge of the Spirit, and whom He united to Himself in the womb of the Virgin. For the Word is the Bridegroom, and human flesh the bride, and both together arc one Son of God and Son of man. That womb of the Virgin Mary is His chamber, from which he went forth as a bridegroom. (Ps. 19:5)

BEDE. (in loc.) Nor is it without some mysterious allusion, that the marriage is related as taking-place on the third day.

  • The first age of the world, before the giving of the Law, was enlightened by the example of the Patriarchs;
  • the second, under the Law, by the writings of the Prophets;
  • the third, under grace, by the preaching of the Evangelists, as if by the light of the third day; for our Lord had now appeared in the flesh.
The wine was made to fail, to give our Lord the opportunity of making better;

The name of the place too where the marriage was held, Cana of Galilee, which means, desire of migrating, has a typical signification, viz. that those are most worthy of Christ, who burn with devotional desires, and have known the passage from vice to virtue, from earthly to eternal things. The wine was made to fail, to give our Lord the opportunity of making better; that so the glory of God in man might be brought out of its hiding place: And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto Him, They have no wine.

But how came it into the mother’s mind to expect so great a thing from her Son?

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xxi. 1, 2) But how came it into the mother’s mind to expect so great a thing from her Son? for he had done no miracle as yet: as we read afterwards, “This beginning of miracles did Jesus.” His real nature, however, was beginning now to be revealed by John, and His own conversations with His disciples; besides that His conception, and the circumstances of His birth, had from the first given rise to high expectations in her mind: as Luke tells us, “His mother kept all these sayings in her heart.” (Luke 2:51) Why then did she never ask Him to work a miracle before? Because the time had now come that He should be made known. Before He had lived so much like an ordinary person, that she had not had the confidence to ask Him. But now that she heard that John had borne witness to Him, and that He had disciples, she asks Him confidently.

ALCUIN. She represents here the Synagogue, which challenges Christ to perform a miracle. It was customary with the Jews to ask for miracles.

“What have I to do with thee?”

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. viii. c. 5) Some who derogate from the Gospel, and say that Jesus was not born of the Virgin Mary, try to draw an argument for their error from this place; for, how, say they, could she be His mother to whom He said, “What have I to do with thee?” Now who is it who gives this account, and on whose authority do we believe it? The Evangelist John. But he himself says, “The mother of Jesus was there.” Why should He say it, unless both were true. But did He therefore come to the marriage to teach men to despise their mother?

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xxi. [al. xx.] 2) That He greatly venerated His mother, we know from St. Luke, who tells us that He was subject unto His parents. For where parents throw no obstacle in the way of God’s commands, it is our duty to be subject to them; but when they demand any thing at an unseasonable time, or cut us off from spiritual things, we should not be deceived into compliance.

AUGUSTINE. (de Symbolo Serm. ii. c. 14. [5]) To mark a distinction between His Godhead and manhood, that according to His manhood He was inferior and subject, but according to His Godhead supreme, He said, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?”

“My hour has not yet come”

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xxi. [al. xx.] 2) And for another reason, viz. to prevent any suspicion attaching to His miracles: for these it was proper should be asked for by those who wanted them, not by His mother. He wished to show them that He would perform all in their proper time, not all at once, to prevent confusion; (xxii. [al. xxi] 1). for He said, “My hour has not yet come;” i. e. I am not yet known to the persons present; nay, they know not that the wine hath failed; let them find out that first; he who perceives not his want beforehand, will not perceive when his want is supplied.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. viii. c. 9. et seq. sparsim) Or it was because our Lord as God had not a mother, though as man He had, and the miracle He was about to work was the act of His Divinity, not of human infirmity. When therefore His mother demanded a miracle, He, as though not acknowledging a human birth, when about to perform a divine work, said, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” As if He said, “Thou didst not beget that in Me, which works the miracle, My Divinity.” (She is called woman, with reference to the female sex, not to any injury of her virginity.) “But because thou brought forth My infirmity, I will acknowledge thee then, when that very infirmity shall hang on the cross.” And therefore He adds, “My hour has not yet come:” as if to say, “I will acknowledge thee when the infirmity, of which thou art the mother, shall hang from the cross.” He commended His mother to the disciple, when about to die, and to rise again, before her death.

But note; just as the Manicheans have found an occasion of error and pretext for their faithlessness in our Lord’s word, “What have I to do with thee?” in the same way the astrologers support theirs from the words, “My hour has not yet come.” For, say they, if Christ had not been under the power of fate, He would never have said this.

But let them believe what God says below, “I have power to lay it (my life) down, and I have power to take it again.” (John 10:18) and then let them ask, why He says, “My hour has not yet come.”  Nor let them on such a ground subject the Creator of heaven to fate; seeing that, even were there a fatality in the stars, the Maker of the stars could not be under the dominion of the stars. And not only had Christ nothing to do with fate, as ye call it; but neither hast thou, or any other man.

Wherefore said He then, “My hour has not yet come?”  Because He had the power to die when He pleased, but did not think it expedient yet to exert the power. He was to call the disciples, to proclaim the Kingdom of heaven, to do marvelous works, to approve His divinity by miracles, His humility by partaking of the sufferings of our mortal state. And when He had done all, then the hour was come, not of destiny, but of will, not of obligation, but of power.


JOHN 2:5-11

5. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.

6. And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.

7. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.

8. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.

9. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,

10. And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.

11. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xxii. [al. xxi.] 1.) Although He had said, “My hour has not yet come,” He afterwards did what His mother told Him, in order to show plainly, that He was not under subjection to the hour. For if He was, how could He have done this miracle before the hour appointed for it?  He also wished to show honor to His mother, and make it appear that He did not go counter to her eventually. He would not put her to shame in the presence of so many; especially as she had sent the servants to Him, that the petition might come from a number, and not from herself only; “His mother saith unto the servants, ‘Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it.'”

BEDE. (in loc.) As if she said, Though He appear to refuse, He will do it nevertheless. She knew His pity and mercifulness. And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Hydriæ1 are vessels to hold water: hydor being the Greek for water.

ALCUIN. Vessels to hold water were there, after the manner of the purifying of Jews. Among other traditions of the Pharisees, they observed frequent washings.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xxii. [al. xxi.] 2.) Palestine being a dry country, with few fountains or wells, they used to fill waterpots with water, to prevent the necessity of going to the river, if they were unclean, and to have materials for washing at hand. To prevent any unbeliever from suspecting that a very thin wine was made by the dregs having been left in the vessels, and water poured in upon them, He says expressly, According to the manner of the purifying of the Jews: which shows that those vessels were never used to hold wine.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. ix. c. 7) A firkin is a certain measure; as urn, amphora, and the like. Metron is the Greek for measure: whence metretæ1. Two or three, is not to be taken to mean some holding two, others three, but the same vessels holding two or three.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xxii. 2) But why did He not work the miracle before they had filled the waterpots, which would have been much more wonderful; inasmuch as it is one thing to change the quality of some existing substance, another to make it that substance out of nothing? The latter miracle would be the more wonderful, but the former would be the more easy of belief. And this principle often acts as a check, to moderate the greatness of our Lord’s miracles: He wishes to make them more credible, therefore He makes them less marvellous; a refutation this of the perverse doctrine of some, that He was a different Being from the Maker of the world. For we see He performs most of His miracles upon subject-matter already existing, whereas were He contrary to the Creator of the world, He would not use a material thus alien, to demonstrate His own power. He did not draw out the water Himself which He made wine, but ordered the servants to do so. This was for the sake of having witnesses of the miracle; And He saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast.

ALCUIN. The Triclinium is a circle of three couches, cline signifying couch: the ancients used to recline upon couches. And the Architriclinus is the one at the head of the Triclinium, i. e. the chief of the guests. Some say that among the Jews, He was a priest, and attended the marriage in order to instruct in the duties of the married state.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xxii. 2) Or thus; It might be said that the guests were drunken, and could not, in the confusion of their senses, tell whether it were water or wine. But this objection could not be brought against the attendants, who must have been sober, being occupied wholly in performing the duties of their service gracefully and in order. Our Lord therefore bid the attendants bear unto the governor of the feast; who again would of course be perfectly sober. He did not say, Give to the guests to drink.

HILARY. (iii. de Trin. c. 5) Water is poured into the waterpots; wine is drawn out into the chalices; the senses of the drawer out agree not with the knowledge of the pourer in. The pourer in thinks that water is drawn out; the drawer out thinks that wine was poured in. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was, (but the servants who drew the water knew,) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom. It was not a mixture, but a creation: the simple nature of water vanished, and the flavour of wine was produced; not that a weak dilution was obtained, by means of some strong infusion, but that which was, was annihilated; and that which was not, came to be.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xxii. 2, 3) Our Lord wished the power of His miracles to be seen gradually; and therefore He did not reveal what He had done Himself, nor did the ruler of the feast call upon the servants to do so; (for no credit would have been given to such testimony concerning a mere man, as our Lord was supposed to be,) but He called the bridegroom, who was best able to see what was done. Christ moreover did not only make wine, but the best wine. And (the ruler of the feast) saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine, and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse; but thou hast kept the good wine until now. The effects of the miracles of Christ are more beautiful and better than the productions of nature. So then that the water was made wine, the servants could testify; that it was made good wine, the ruler of the feast and the bridegroom. It is probable that the bridegroom made some answer; but the Evangelist omits it, only mentioning what it was necessary for us to know, viz. the water being made wine. He adds, This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee. (Hom. xxiii. 1.). It was very necessary to work miracles just then, when His devoted disciples were all collected, and present at the place, attending to what was going on.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xx) Should any say that there is not sufficient proof of this being the beginning of miracles, because it is added, in Cana of Galilee, as if some had been preferred elsewhere: we answer, as we did before, that John says below, That He might be made manifest to Israel, therefore have I come baptizing. (c. 1) (Hom. xxi. 2). Now if He had performed miracles in the earlier part of His life, the Jews would not have wanted another person to point Him out. If our Lord in a short time became so distinguished for the number of His miracles, that His Name was known to every one, would He not have been much more so, had He worked miracles from His earliest years? for the things themselves would have been the more extraordinary, being performed by a Child, and in so long a time must have become notorious. It was fit and proper however that He should not begin to work miracles at so early an age: for men would have thought the Incarnation a phantasy, and in the extremity of envy would have delivered Him to be crucified before the appointed time.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. ix) This miracle of our Lord’s, turning the water into wine, is no miracle to those who know that God worked it. For the Same that day made wine in the waterpots, Who every year makes wine in the vine: only the latter is no longer wonderful, because it happens uniformly. And therefore it is that God keeps some extraordinary acts in store for certain occasions, to rouse men out of their lethargy, and make them worship Him. Thus it follows, He manifested forth His glory.

ALCUIN. He was the King of glory, and changed the elements because He was their Lord.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xxiii. 1) He manifests His glory, as far as related to His own act; and if at the time many knew it not, yet was it afterwards to be heard and known of all. And His disciples believed on Him. It was probable that these would believe more readily, and give more attention to what went on.

AUGUSTINE. (de Cons. Evang. l. ii c. xvii. [38.]) If now for the first time they believed on Him, they were not His disciples when they came to the marriage. This however is a form of speech, such as saying that the Apostle Paul was born in Tarsus of Cilicia; not meaning by this that he was an Apostle then. In the same way when we hear of Christ’s disciples being invited to the marriage, we should understand not disciples already, but who were to be disciples.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. ix. c. 5) But see the mysteries which lie hid in that miracle of our Lord. It was necessary that all things should be fulfilled in Christ which were written of Him: those Scriptures were the water. He made the water wine when He opened unto them the meaning of these things, and expounded the Scriptures; for thus that came to have a taste which before had none, and that inebriated, which did not inebriate before.

BEDE. (in v. 1) At the time of our Lord’s appearing in the flesh, the sweet vinous taste of the law had been weakened by the carnal interpretations of the Pharisees.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. ix. 5. et sq.) Now if He ordered the water to be poured out, and then introduced the wine from the hidden recesses1 of creation, He would seem to have rejected the Old Testament. But converting, as He did, the water into wine, He showed us that the Old Testament was from Himself, for it was by His order that the waterpots were filled. But those Scriptures have no meaning, if Christ be not understood there. Now we know from what time the law dates, viz. from the foundation of the world. From that time to this are six ages; the first, reekoning from Adam to Noah; the second, from Noah to Abraham; the third, from Abraham to David; the fourth, from David to the carrying away into Babylon; the fifth, from that time to John the Baptist; the sixth, from John the Baptist to the end of the world. The six waterpots then denote these six ages of prophecy. The prophecies are fulfilled; the waterpots are full. But what is the meaning of their holding two or three firkins apiece? Had He said three only, our minds would have run immediately to the mystery of the Trinity. Nor perhaps can we reject it, even though it is said, two or three: for the Father and the Son being named, the Holy Ghost may be understood by consequence; inasmuch as it is the love between the Father and the Son, which is the Holy Ghost. (c. 17.). Nor should we pass over another interpretation, which makes the two firkins alluded to the two races of men, the Jews and the Greeks; and the three to the three sons of Noah.

ALCUIN. The servants are the doctors of the New Testament, who interpret the holy Scripture to others spiritually; the ruler of the feast is some lawyer, as Nicodemus, Gamaliel, or Saul. When to the former then is committed the word of the Gospel, hid under the letter of the law, it is the water made wine, being set before the ruler of the feast. And the three rows1 of guests at table in the house of the marriage are properly mentioned; the Church consisting of three orders of believers, the married, the continent, and the doctors. Christ has kept the good wine until now, i. e. He has deferred the Gospel till this, the sixth age.

SOURCE: eCatholic 2000 Commentary in public domain.

RELATED:  THE COMPLETE ANTE-NICENE & NICENE AND POST-NICENE CHURCH FATHERS COLLECTION (ecatholic2000.com)

RELATED:  LIBRARY OF CATHOLIC CHRISTIAN CLASSICS  (ecatholic2000.com)

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.
SOURCE: Fr. John McKinnon at JohnMcKinnon.org

VINCE CONTRERAS

Studying God’s Word

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Jesus is not yet known as a miracle worker, so why does Mary approach him (verse 3)? What do you learn about Jesus’ relationship with his Mother from this story?

How does Jesus’ use of the word “woman” (v. 3) point to a parallel between Eve and Mary (Genesis 3:15; John 19:26-27; Revelation 12:1-6, 13-14)? Should it be seen as a sign of disrespect—or a sign of honor and election?

What associations might be attached to the headwaiters expression “the good wine” in verse 10 (Isaiah 25:6; Amos 9:13; John 6:53; 1 Corinthians 10:16; Revelation 19:7-9)?

SOURCE: Sunday Scripture Study by Vince Contreras, Used with Permission
EDRIANNE EZELL

Our Sunday Readings

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SOURCE: Our Sunday Readings by Edrianne Ezell, Used with Permission

FR. EAMON TOBIN

Sharing God’s Word

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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Turn to the person next to you and share what verse in the Gospel caught your attention. The facilitator can decide which is more helpful: to share the next questions with the whole group, or to share in smaller groups of three or four.

2. The second reading speaks about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit blesses us with gifts so that we can bless our community. How has the Holy Spirit gifted you so that you can be a blessing to your parish and/or wider community? Might you have a difficult time naming your gift and finding a way to share it with the community?

3. “They have no more wine” could symbolize a time when our lives are on empty, when we have no more to give. What helps you to deal with such times?

4. The Gospel is a powerful example of Mary’s intercessory role before the throne of God. How real is this Marian role in your spirituality?

5. Name one thing today’s Gospel says to us that we disciples of Jesus need to heed and act on.

SOURCE: Commentaries on the Lectionary by Fr. Eamon Tobin (1947-2021), Used with Permission

SHARED PRAYER

Let us now pause to see how something(s) said in the reading might lead us into shared prayer.

“Holy Spirit help me to see a gift that you may have given me that I am not using to be a blessing to others.” “Mary, help me to be like you and see when others are in need.”

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord, Jesus, you remain the bridegroom come to reveal your Father’s extravagant love. In union with many of the saints, we dare to call you the spouse of our souls. May we revel in your passionate love shown on the cross, and reveal that love to those most in need of it.

SOURCE: Commentaries on the Lectionary by Fr. Eamon Tobin (1947-2021), Used with Permission

FR. CLEMENT D. THIBODEAU

Echoing God’s Word

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1. What special dimension of God’s revelation do you hear when the Scriptures speak of God inviting us to the wedding? How do you feel about the abundance of food and drink in God’s kingdom?

2. Relate the Church’s celebration of the Eucharist, day after day, everywhere on earth, to the generosity of God toward his people. We have holy Communion every day and not once a month like the churches of the Reformation. God is generous to us!

3. In what ways could your parish more effectively communicate the overarching bounty of God in its weekend celebrations of the Eucharist? Do the signs and symbols speak as loudly as they could?

4. Comment on the feeding of the hungry by agencies of the Church in our times. Do you see this ministry as a manifestation of God’s generosity? Do soup kitchens and food banks have any connection with the Wedding of Cana scene?

SOURCE: Echoing God’s Word by Clement D. Thibodeau (1932-2017), Used with Permission

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