The wedding at Cana, the problem is there is no more wine.
The story of the wedding at Cana is known to most Christians and the progression of the story can be divided into three subcategories.
It all begins with a wedding of some unknown couple. Jesus, his mother Mary and the disciples were all invited. The wine, the celebratory beverage toasting a new family has run out. Mary feels the pain of the couple who have become one through marriage and pleads with her son to help them. According to many, Jesus responds in a seemingly curt fashion, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” Then, there are six water jars holding twenty gallons a piece nearby for Jewish ceremonial washing. Jesus instructed the attendants to fill the jars to the brim. The story concludes with the miracle of the water turning into the choicest of wine. The wedding was saved from certain embarrassment and marked the beginning of the signs that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah, and the disciples believed.
Nothing in the story is insignificant. Richly embedded in the Cana wedding is Jesus’ first sign showing clearly the dialogue between the divine and human, a forerunner of the moment when the ‘hour’ comes to fulfillment on the cross. The Cana wedding allows the reader to see yet another view of the divine plan of salvation and the eschatological ramifications for all humanity.
The story’s background of a wedding is important because it is a way of explaining how two persons become one. It draws our attention to the process, although not perfect, will become the template of how the divine and human can be joined again in a communion of love.
After the Fall, the communion was broken with the exception of Jesus. His human nature mingled with his divine nature makes up his divine person, a perfect communion of human and divine. By his obedience even to death, Jesus reinstates the possibility where the divine and human can be intimately joined together again. Jesus is now the new Adam, breaking the old sinful mold of the first Adam by becoming the archetype of what is willed by God for his beloved creatures in the drama of salvation. The ‘hour’ is when Jesus becomes the new Adam.
The Blessed Mother Mary also was in communion with God by being given the unique privilege of her Immaculate Conception. Unlike Jesus, she only has a human nature, a nature not defiled by sin. That is why the angel Gabriel told her she was “full of grace.”
Mary’s inclusion in the Cana prophecy reflects her new role as the new Eve, the mother of all the living in the order of grace. When she speaks to Jesus about the lack of wine, she is speaking for all of us who are eternally in need of God and his gifts. When Jesus refers to her as ‘woman’ he speaks not to his physical mother per se, but as the new Eve. Jesus is reminding all humanity through her, the solution of the problem of eternal want cannot happen by supplying a temporary solution. A complete transformation of the human condition is necessary.
Mary as the new Eve will speak again, instructing the attendants present to do whatever Jesus tells them to do. By doing so, the servants listen to Jesus’ command and act on them. Human beings must do their part for the reunification of the human/divine life. It is absolutely necessary to hear God’s commands and act on them. When the response is positive, the outpouring of God’s grace is boundless.
Finally, there are the 120 gallons of water miraculously changed into the best of wine. 120 gallons! The generosity of God is never ending. The outpouring of grace offered to each person is limitless and the overflowing of wine becomes the symbol of the Holy Spirit. Human beings are now offered the abundance of the Spirit, joining them more closely to the divine.
Even in this life we can perceive the closeness of ourselves with God through the Spirit giving us a foretaste of what will come in the fullest. The fullness can now only be imagined through faith, an outpouring of divine love so vast it will take eternity to hold.