In the Gospel today, Jesus, Mary, and the Apostles were invited to a wedding in Cana. Many more people came to the celebration than were expected so as the festivities continued, the wine ran out.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus, became aware of the problem and asked her Son Jesus to do something about it. The first incident recorded in the Gospel of St. John is the marriage in Cana in Galilee. It is interesting that the first miracle Jesus worked was not
- Restoring health to someone or
- Raising someone from the dead;
- Rather it was saving a wedding celebration.
The miracle which took place at Cana is the first of seven miracles recorded by Saint John in his Gospel. JOHN SAYS: “Thus did He reveal His glory and His disciples began to believe in Him.”
The miracle revealed
- that Jesus is God,
- that He had begun His Public Ministry
- that he has the power to change substances – He changed the substance of water into wine.
As the account unravels, it was Mary who took a stand on the situation. “They have no more wine! Do something! They need You!”
2.) Mary knew the power of her Son.
1.) Jesus responded to Mary’s request because He knew the needs of the families at the wedding.
Jesus called the waiter in charge and directed that water jars be filled to the brim with water; then He changed water into wine. With this miracle, at the wedding Feast of Cana, Jesus not only began He began His Public Ministry which would take Him from Cana in Galilee to Calvary in Jerusalem, but also began to prepare His Apostles for the gift of the Eucharist.
The miracle of Cana is a miracle of “transformation and change”. Transformation is the key to understanding everything in the Gospel. Jesus was constantly involved in transformation:
- water into wine;
- blind eyes into seeing eyes;
- withered limbs into working limbs;
- guilt into forgiveness;
- sorrow into joy;
- bread and wine into body and blood;
- Crucifixion into resurrection;
- death into eternal life.
The next two miracles that John recorded in chapters four and five are cures – a sick boy and a blind man. Again the apostles were taking all this in and could come to the conclusion that Jesus has tremendous power and can change the natural course of nature.
Then we come to chapter six of John’s Gospel. The narrative opens with Jesus feeding 5,000 (not counting the women and children). Here, Jesus used five loaves and two fish to feed this vast crowd. At face value, this miracle was an act of charity feeding hungry people; but Jesus was also teaching His Apostles that
- not only can He change substances like water into wine
- but He can also expand substances like bread and fish to feed a multitude of people – as many as He wants to.
That same night, John records Jesus final act of preparation for the Eucharist. He comes to the Apostles walking on the water. Jesus of Nazareth has
- changed a substance of water into wine;
- cured a dying boy,
- given sight to a blind man,
- expanded the substance of 5 loaves and 2 fish to feed thousands,
- now He has the ability to control nature by walking on water.
The next day, (John tells us in chapter six) the people came to challenge Jesus: “our fathers ate mana in the desert” can you top that? Jesus told them that the Real Bread from heaven comes from the Father. “WOW! GIVE US THIS BREAD!” He responded: “I Myself am the bread of life that has come down from heaven. If
anyone eats this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” His listeners were stunned because they understood Him literally and correctly! He again repeated His words, but with greater emphasis and added: “if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks My Blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. My flesh is real food and My Blood is real drink. Whoever eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood remains in Me and I in him.”
Jesus made no effort to soften or explain away what He had said. He made no attempt to correct misunderstandings – because there were none, and they walked away. Twelve times in the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel, Jesus said: “I am the Bread of Life Who came down from heaven.” Four times He said they would have to “eat My flesh and drink My Blood”. And Jesus concludes, in the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel, by announcing that one of His Apostles is a “Devil” – this is the one who would refuse to believe in the Eucharist – this is the one who would betray Him – Judas Iscariot
The fulfillment of the promise of the Eucharist took place at the Last Supper – the separate consecration of His Body and Blood were the sign of the ripping – apart of Blood from Body in the death of the Cross.
As we return full – circle to the marriage in Cana, we again hear the words of Mary to the stewards: “Do whatever He tells you.” We do what He tells us when we, like those two disciples on the road to Emmaus, recognize His real Presence here in “The Breaking of the Bread” – the gift of the “Real Presence” – the “Holy Eucharist”.