Jesus as Groom revealed at Cana

Al Cariño, OMI
Editor: Mindanao Cross
Reproduced with Permission

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Weddings are happy occasions. More so in barrios where all the people participate in the feast regardless of differences in age, social status or even religion. The banquet is not only a celebration of the families of the bride and groom but also of the entire barrio. Finally, it is the venue for renewing friendships and celebrating blessings received.

Since God made Israel His Chosen People after He entered into a Covenant with them, the relationship between Him and His people had been described by the prophets as one between a bridegroom and bride. It was for this reason that for God, the greatest sin of His people was infidelity. And this happened when they worshipped idols. For doing so was equivalent to turning their backs on the very God who chose them as His spouse.

The history of the People of Israel could be described as an alternation of infidelity to and reconciliation with God. When they were unfaithful God punished them, say by allowing them to be vanquished by their neighbors. On the other hand, when they came to their senses and repent, they were rewarded, say, with victory over their conquerors thus allowing them to live in peace again. But there came a time when they had become so incorrigible in their infidelity that God allowed them to be exiled to Babylon.

It was while they were in exile that God through the prophet Isaiah promised them, "No more shall men call you "Forsaken," or your land 'Desolate,' but you shall be called 'My Delight,' and your land 'Espoused.' For the Lord delights in you, and makes your land his spouse" (Isa. 62:4). God did this to signify a future reality — that His people Israel would not be stuck with the name "Forsaken" because the time would come when He would take His people to Himself again as a groom his bride.

We see the beginning of this in the wedding of Cana (Jn. 2: 1-11) where Jesus revealed His glory through His first great "sign." Jesus, along with His mother and His disciples was invited to the wedding banquet. At one point, the wine ran out. Mary went to her Son and said, "They have no wine." Jesus responded, "Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come." (To John the Evangelist, the "hour" signified Jesus' passion and death which led to His glorification ([resurrection]). Thereafter, Mary told the servers, "Do whatever he tells you." And Jesus took over from there. He told the servers to fill six stone jars (each containing 20 to 30 gallons) with water. This done, He ordered the servers to take a cup to the headwaiter. After tasting the water turned wine, he called the bridegroom and complimented him profusely saying, "Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now."

From the headwaiter's statement, we come to know that it is the groom's responsibility to provide wine to his guest. But when he said this, he did not know that the wedding banquet was an unusual one. For unknown to him, there were two bridegrooms present — the one who just got married and Jesus, the real bridegroom. Thus he was talking to the wrong groom when he complimented him. For it was not he but Jesus who provided His guests with wine and in great abundance. And in doing so Jesus revealed He was the Groom as well as the glory that would be His and the people's through Him.

In the Old Testament, wine in abundance signified the richness and overflowing plenty that God promised His people when the day of messianic deliverance came. This was Jesus' intention in performing His first "sign" — that the time when Jesus would claim the people as His bride had come and He would be extremely generous in the gifts He would give. Then they would no longer be called "Forsaken" or "Desolate" but "Spouse." This would take place when His "hour" had come, that is, when the Bridegroom had been "glorified," after He had given His whole self in love in His bride's behalf.

As early as the wedding banquet in Cana, Jesus had already revealed through a "sign," that He was a Groom out to reclaim His bride, namely, those who believe in Him and this includes us. This took place when His "hour" came, namely His glorification after His passion and death. At that point, the wedding would take place which in effect would make us His spouse. The subsequent banquet was extremely generous for "From his fullness we have all received" (Jn 1:16), that is, we receive His richness and overflowing plenty.

Mary was responsible in making Jesus perform the sign that revealed Jesus as our Groom even if His "hour has not yet come." For this reason, let us pray to Mary that through her intercession we will always remain faithful as Jesus' spouse and thus continue to drink of His "wine" — His richness and overflowing plenty.