As we begin the Ordinary time of the Liturgical Year, we are taken back to the beginnings of Our Lord’s public ministry (John 2:1-11). The passage from the Gospel of John gives us the narrative of the miracle at the wedding at Cana. In a way, this episode links us to the feasts of the last two Sundays; the Epiphany and the baptism of Our Lord. All three are manifestations of Our Lord’s glory.
In the episode, John the Gospel writer refers to Christ’s miracles as ‘signs’. What occurred at Cana was a sign or symbol of higher truths. The real bridegroom of the wedding was Jesus (cf. 3:25). The miracle he performed was a ‘sign’ greater things to come, namely the transformation of the water of Jewish religion into the strong wine of Christianity.
In is not by accident that the opening prologue of John’s Gospel speaks of a new beginning, a new creation (‘In the beginning . . .’). The phrase mirrors that of the opening lines of the book of Genesis. For the Jews water symbolised their law with its reputed purifying effects. The water jars at Cana symbolised their religion and teaching. This was changed by Jesus into new wine (cf. Mark 2:22), the wine proper to the new age when the wedding-feast of the lamb would be celebrated. It is the lamb’s blood that will purify us from our sins.
As at Cana, and also on Calvary, Mary was present and addressed as ‘woman’ (19:27). At the beginning of humanity there also was the ‘woman’ Eve (Gen. 3:15), mother of all the living . . . And on Calvary Mary is given to believers, represented by John, as their mother.
Cana, only foreshadows what was to come, for ‘Jesus’ hour had not yet come’ at that stage. What Cana symbolised became a reality at Calvary. We celebrate what happened at Calvary at every Mass