THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

Her Doctrine and Morals

Second Sunday after the Epiphany

14 January 2018

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Dear Friends,

There is nothing unknown to Jesus. He knew that in going to this wedding feast in Cana, that they would run out of wine, and He knew that He would perform His first public miracle on this occasion. The Gospel narrative speaks to us in human terms and so it appears that everything was incidental or came about by chance. There is a much greater depth for us to consider when we understand that this occasion was foreseen, willed and decreed by God for the benefit of men.

The place of this first public miracle was not in Jerusalem among the chosen people; rather, it was in Cana among the Gentiles. Jesus has come for all men, but especially to those who were lost. Those with the Mosaic Law had something already, but the Gentiles had nothing — so Jesus begins with them. Or, perhaps we are given a forewarning of the rejection of Jesus by the "Chosen Ones." In either case, we see that in His Kingdom there is neither Jew or Gentile. All are invited, all are welcome.

He has His disciples there with Him to instruct them and to feed their souls with a spiritual remembrance of this first of His public miracles. Yet, He did not perform this miracle right away, so that there would be greater understanding and appreciation for the miracle. Also, He waited until His mother makes the request. He shows us his love for His mother. He gives us the example of obedience.

This first miracle is associated with marriage — the origin of human society. St. Cyril suggests to us that with the fall of Adam there was a curse upon marriage — in pain and sorrow the woman will bear children (Gen. Iii. 16); however the Savior, by His Presence "sanctified marriage, and He Who is the Joy and the Delight of all men, has taken away the ancient sadness of childbearing." Marriage is elevated and honored. The sacredness of marriage is manifested for all who will see it. It is a newer and higher law that the once chosen people of Israel were incapable of grasping, but which the unprejudiced understood and accepted without question or doubt. The humiliating and degraded position of women among the pagans that was readily adopted by the Israelites, is overturned by Our Lord. Marriage is not a slavery, but is a cooperation with God in Love and Creation. Her sorrow is turned to joy as water is turned into wine.

We also find in this miracle the preparation for the miracle that Jesus would give us at the end of His earthly life in this world — the Holy Eucharist. The Creator made all from nothing — it is truly a small thing for Him to take something and turn it into something else. As water is made into wine, so wine becomes His Blood, and bread becomes His Body.

The wine that was made from water was of the best quality. God's miracles are of the highest quality. The devils often imitate the miracles of Jesus, but there is a discernible inferiority to their imitations. Jesus did not make vinegar or watered down wine — He gave them the best, as was testified by the chief steward. When Jesus cured the lame, He commanded them to get up and walk — not hobble or crawl. When He raised the dead, they came forth in living flesh — not animated corpses. Likewise, when He performs the miracle of transubstantiation upon our altars bread and wine are made into His living Body and Blood — the true Jesus Christ; Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. It is not the dead body of Jesus that we receive in Holy Communion, but the true living Jesus Christ.

Jesus came to the wedding feast invited. He did not impose Himself. From this, we must understand that God will not impose Himself upon us. He waits for us to open our hearts to Him. He occasionally knocks upon the door of our hearts to let us know He is here, but He waits for our invitation to enter in and dwell with us. He waits humbly and patiently hidden in the Holy Eucharist for us to invite Him into our bodies. He will not impose His presence upon us, nor will He impose the joyful gift of transforming the bitter waters of our lives into the sweetest joys of wine. We must invite Him, we must welcome Him. Once He enters in, then He will do the rest. We only need to trustingly and faithfully put it all in His hands — do whatever He tells you. We can put the bitter waters of our lives before Him, but He is the one that makes the transformation. Then He will bid us take it out and serve it to the chief steward. We will see, understand, and taste how that which was once bitter is now sweet. The heavy cross is made light. Sin disappears and grace takes its place. Our shame is transformed into our joy.

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