LAST Sunday at the Baptism of Jesus, Jesus was revealed as the Son of God. The Baptism of Jesus is found in the gospels of Mark, Luke and Matthew but not in the gospel of John although John gives a testimony to Jesus.
This Sunday’s gospel, we find Jesus in the public again - in a wedding feast. The wedding of Cana where John refers to “signs” only appears in the gospel of John. The gospel is very theological compared to the gospels of Mark, Luke and Matthew. Today we will talk about three points: stone water jars, signs of Jesus and Mary, the Mother of Jesus.
Stone water jars. In every Jewish house a stone jar is kept and filled with water for ceremonial washing which is very important. At the feast there were 6 stone jars that could hold from 20 to 30 gallons of water. At this time they were probably all empty already after all the guests used them. And Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water,” and the water used for ritual washing turned into wine.
The six stone jars which normally holds water for cleansing now contains wine associated feast and celebration, the Lord’s Supper. What Jesus touched is transformed. He changed the empty way of man’s religion into a living, joyful, relationship with the Lord, as shown by the wedding celebration.
Signs of Jesus. What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the “signs” through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. In the Synoptic Gospels, people test Jesus by asking him to perform “signs” or “signs and wonders”; but he refuses (cf. John 4:48). In John, “signs” are the “works” which Jesus willingly performs in order to bring people to believe in him. This is the difference. Jesus shows us this sign so we may believe.
When we compare the other gospels and Paul’s writings to the gospel of John, John never uses the noun like “faith” or “belief”, but only the verb “to believe” or “to trust”. Believing is an action that one does, not an object or thing that one possesses; thus, the translation “believing” is better than “having faith.” Believing involves having a relationship so that the other word for it is “trusting” or “entrusting oneself to [God or Jesus].” Jesus invites us to believe not just to have faith. All in all there are seven signs in the gospel of John similar to the seven sacraments where we continue to remember and celebrate the signs of Jesus.
Mother of Jesus. Finally, in the gospel today John mentioned the ‘mother of Jesus’ but he never named her Mary. She appears twice in John's Gospel, at the beginning and at the end, at Cana and at the cross. Each time Mary appears she reveals to us what it means to believe in Jesus – the word made flesh.
The Gospel of John is the most theological of all the gospels. No Jesus was not being rude to his mother by calling her “woman.” John used the language in reference to the first person mentioned in the story of Creation, Eve - both woman and mother. Mary is to be the mother of all peoples. Mary is the new Eve. Mary has a special place in our faith. She listens and is attentive to our needs like she was attentive to the needs of the people at the wedding.
The second time she appears in the gospel of John is at the foot of the cross where Jesus gives her to the beloved disciple and to us who are his beloved. Mary, like our mothers often tell us or command us what to do and today Mary, our mother tells us, “Do whatever He tells you.”
What signs do you see around you that speak to you of God’s glory and great love for us?
Do you believe in Jesus and entrust yourself to him? And will you do whatever He tells you?
Let us empty our stone jars. Fill ourselves with Jesus, who is the “living water” and allow Jesus to transform us. Yes we are sinners but we are first children of God!