Saturday, February 13, 2010

First Sunday of Lent - The wedding at Cana

Wedding of Cana

The Great Lent starts by commemorating the first miracle performed by Jesus i.e. turning water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana of Galilee. This is a passage that is full of symbolisms and inner meaning.

Wine in Rabbinic Judaism is a symbol of Jewish Torah or Law. At the Wedding of Cana this old wine (ie old Jewish Law), was not sufficient to satisfy the needs of the guests in the banquet. To make the guests satisfied and content, Jesus had to make new wine (ie new law). The new law that Jesus gives through pouring out of his blood is sufficient to make every one more than content and satisfied.

The six jars were used to store water for the ceremonial cleansing. There were only six jars, one short of seven the biblical number of perfection and fullness. In the Gospel we also read, Jesus instructing the servants to fill them up. So we can also infer that these jars were not full. The six jars, one short of number seven and the fact that there were not full is to show the inadequacy or incompleteness of the old Jewish customs.

There is a sacramental image in this miracle. Jesus asked the ‘servants’ to fill the jars with water. In the original Greek text of the Gospel, the word used for servant is DIAKON (Deacon) and not DULOS (meaning domestic servant or slave). Jesus asks the deacons to get water in the jars kept for the purification rite. The water is then turned to wine and nobody knows how it happens. Then He asks the deacons to serve the wine to the guests. In the Holy Qurbana the bread turns into the body of Christ and the wine turns into the blood of Christ. Nobody knows how it happens. It is a divine mystery.

In this passage we also see the presence of St. Mary the Mother of God. Jesus addresses his mother as ‘O Woman’. The Greek word used in the original text is ‘gunai’ and it does not have any tone of disrespect. Addressing someone as ‘gunai’ in those times is the equivalent of addressing someone as ‘O Madam’ or ‘O Lady’. In the entire Bible, St. Mary the Mother of God speaks very few words. In the Gospel reading on Kothine Sunday she says: "Do whatever He tells you" .In this passage we can see the role of saints; they stand with us in prayer (in this case taking a particular need of lack of wine to the Lord) and directs us to follow Jesus.

The Church requires us to read and meditate on this passage on the opening day of the great lent which prepares us to the most important event of pouring out of the cleansing wine on the cross and the glorious resurrection.

Like the bride and bridegroom of Cana, let us invite Jesus into our hearts. The presence of Christ by way of ‘being invited’ will certainly remove all our inadequacies and turn them into moments of greater joy and satisfaction. Mary and saints are always there and they pray with us and ask us to follow Jesus’ commandments.


Before Holy Qurbana

Holy Qurbana


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