The events in the first few chapters from the Gospel of John show us that it is necessary to reflect on our own eschatological plan for salvation as it relates to the high Christological foundation that Jesus has in our own life.
Starting with the baptism of Jesus, we are reminded that his participation in our humanity requires his full participation in God’s ability to partake of those spiritual moments to become part of our human condition as beloved adopted sons and daughters of God. The mystery of being cleansed by our own baptismal holy water and removing the stain of sin remind us of the importance of the sacrament of baptism. The wedding at Cana miracle from the set of readings on this second Sunday in ordinary time is a foreshadowing event that is a reminder of water being used as a sign of our baptism and the wine representing our Lord Jesus’s blood that was shed for the sin of mankind. During the holy mass and before the gift of wine is transformed, the deacon or priest quietly recites the prayer after placing a drop of water into the wine in which he prays “by the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in His divinity who humbled himself to share in our humanity.” This mysterious hypostatic union event and mystery where God is needed to walk among us to share in our human condition by ultimately suffering for all of mankind on the cross at Calvary is a great reflection to ponder in prayer.
When we think about a wedding party, we oftentimes forget of the importance in continuing to support and pray for the couple as they fulfill their sacramental obligation of service to each other. Perhaps as an alternate wedding gift, we can also pledge a bible, or offer to pray for the newlyweds as they begin their spiritual and earthly service to one another.
Saving the best for last wine in the gospel of John’s story is more than living in the moment, but it is about the totality of the marriage bond and covenant throughout the entirety of the couple’s life together. After all, the marriage encounter reminds us that both the groom and the bride will have those challenging moments where they are called to be strong Christian witnesses in their bond to each other. Any good marriage will have crosses to bear and graces to share. Saving the best wine for last reminds us of our mortal quest to become eternal sons and daughters of God in heavenly paradise as the ultimate goal. Some may say that after the first few years of marriage, the blissful love dwindles, and the spark goes out. Any good marriage will recall that the love of Jesus and His example as the ultimate bridegroom should serve as an example to our own marriage. As a husband, if I am not striving for my spouse to one day see the face of God and become one of the many saints in heaven, I have failed in my duty for I should constantly strive to be a model that leads her closer to Christ Jesus.
As St. Paul reminds us in the 1st book of Corinthians, chapter 13, love is patient and kind and is always one of self-sacrifice. I was reminded by my pastor recently about the mystery of why God gives us the gift of free will. Why would God allow us to choose the good and the bad? Why would man or woman be able to choose adultery, hate, jealousy, or finances over the love of the marriage covenant to each other? Divorces are more commonplace than they were previously, and it is something we must work to overcome as a society. My pastor stated that if we don’t know how to sin and fall in order choose the bad, we will never know what it means in order to love God and choose the good. The parable of the prodigal son in which the son is ashamed by his transgressions of squandering his inheritance and eating filth with the swine is one that we should recognize in the marriage bond where the sin of the spouse and shortcomings of one another as being united in holy matrimony will always come to light. I should have no secrets when it concerns my wife, for we are one. Learning to forgive one another and have the wisdom and fortitude to return as a couple to the Lord in prayer should be a healthy action of any marriage bond.
Returning to the mystery of the wedding at Cana and the countless times that my wife has journeyed with me on the road to Calvary where we both have endured some sacrifices; I am deeply humbled. Her forgiveness of my transgressions where I fell short with my words or actions in performing the duties of my marriage covenant are one example that reminds me of the love of Jesus the Christ. No matter what happens, Jesus will always give us the best wine no matter how bleak and miserable things may appear. The wedding party at Cana reminds us that the Lord’s love endures forever, and we should be ready to receive the best wine when it is our time.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.