Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
. . . the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory (Jn 2:11)
On October 16, 2002, Pope John Paul II added the Mysteries of Light to the Rosary and called our attention to the importance of the Gospel proclaimed on this 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time: “Another mystery of light is the first sign, given at Cana (cf Jn 2:1-12), when Christ changes water into wine and opens the hearts of his disciples to faith, thanks to the intervention of Mary, the first among believers” (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, no. 21). Indeed, the wedding at Cana, one among the six stories that the evangelist John called signs. A sign points us to something else. So, the fact that Jesus attends the wedding at the beginning of his public ministry points us to what?
A wedding, in Holy Scriptures, stands for God’s relationship with his people. We see this metaphor in the First Reading today: “As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you” (Is 62:5). Keep in mind that the setting for our First Reading is from Third Isaiah: the time was after the Babylonian exile and the people were rebuilding their ravaged holy land and temple. The exile had been a terrible suffering for the Israelites, and now rebuilding their lives was not an easy process either. God assured them of his love by using marriage as a metaphor for the relationship between God and his people. Thus, Jesus attended a wedding at Cana at the beginning of his public ministry as a sign pointing us to the fact: “the Word made flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn 1:14), God entered our lives in a very powerful way. In fact, in Jesus, God fulfilled the promise to his people as proclaimed in the First Reading. In Jesus, heaven and earth are wedded together or humanity and divinity joined to the Divine Person. This bond can never be broken. No wonder in the prayers of the Church, the wedding of Cana is often referred to as a moment of Epiphany: “The three mysteries mark this holy day; today the star leads the Magi to the infant Christ; today water is changed into wine for the wedding feast; today Christ wills to be baptized by John in the river of Jordan to bring us salvation” (the Antiphon for the Canticle of Mary, Evening Prayer II of the Epiphany of the Lord). The sign of Cana manifests the love that God has for us, his people.
Any manifestation of God also casts a light on us human beings. As the result, in the second reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians shows us how personally God loves us and how uniquely we were created: “Brothers and sisters: there are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit” (1 Cor 12: 4-8). While St Paul is speaking here of spiritual gifts, we know that everything we have — intellectual gifts, material resources, even our personalities — all are undeserved blessings from above. All gifts are intended to cultivate a relationship with a loving God who revealed himself to us as the sign of the wedding at Cana points us to. Another way to put it, these gifts are given so that we can assist one another to be faithful to God using the metaphor of spousal relationship in the wedding at Cana.
The Holy Scriptures on this Sunday calls you and I to use all of our gifts and talents to join the Psalmist: “Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all you lands. Sing to the LORD; bless his name. Announce his salvation, day after day. Tell his glory among the nations; among all peoples, his wondrous deeds” (Ps 96:1-3). We are called to do so because, through Christ, humanity and divinity joined together in a bond that cannot be broken. Amen.