An Abundance of Blessings
By Phillip Baker
“The mountains shall drip with the juice of the grapes, and all the hills shall run with it.” (Am 9:13)
The Synoptic Gospels’ account of the Baptism of Our Lord reveal Who Christ is as the beloved Son of the Father; however, John does not have an account of Our Lord’s Baptism. Instead, St. John recounts the Wedding Feast at Cana, where Jesus turns 120 to 180 gallons of water into wine. The overabundance of this miracle recalls the prophecy of Amos, who says to a falling House of Israel: “the days are coming (when)… the mountains shall drip with the juice of the grapes, and all the hills shall run with it. I will restore my people, Israel…” (Am 9:13-14). This prophecy comes after God promises through Amos that although He will scatter Israel into exile for their sins, He will call them back and re-establish them under a King from the house of David.
Jesus is that King, “the root and offspring of David, the bright morning star” Who leads God’s scattered people back into one fold (Rev 22:16). He is the Good Shepherd Who gathers God’s scattered brood under His wings so that “there will be one flock, one shepherd” (Jn 10:16). Throughout the Gospels, Jesus expounds again and again what He reveals first at Cana: He is the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies, and He has come to establish a New Covenant.
The Covenant that Our Lord establishes is a marriage covenant between man and God – Jesus shows this in revealing Himself at a wedding. For by sending His Spirit upon the Church, He incorporates His disciples into His Body, His Bride, so that the Church is “a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev 21:6). In the abundance of wine our Lord transfigures, He shows the abundance of the blessings He will shower upon His people. And the greatest blessing He will lavish upon us will be the blood He will shed in abundance upon the Cross. For no covenant is established without blood, and His is the blood of the new and everlasting covenant (cf. Heb9:18). The wine at Cana foreshadows His blood that will appear as wine upon the altars of the new covenant, in Masses throughout the world even until the end of the ages. What shall appear fully in time is foreshadowed in Cana.
The jars that carried the water were jars for ceremonial washing. In the Old Covenant, a number of things could make a person unclean, which meant they were unfit for participation in communal worship. By changing the water into wine, which is a symbol of His Blood, Jesus shows that the ceremonial washing of the Old Covenant is done away with. “For it is loyalty that I desire, not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings;” what good are our sacrifices and offerings if we worship with unclean hearts (Hos 6:6)? Yet washing with mere water cannot purify our hearts for God. What shall purify our hearts but the blood of Christ, given in abundance, the abundance of “blood and water flowing” from His side (Jn 19:34)?
Water to Wine & Wine to Blood; A Prefiguration of Salvation
By Gretchen Erlichman
“Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.” ~John 2:11
The event of the Wedding at Cana wonderfully prefigures Christ’s offering of Himself for our salvation and His invitation to the faithful to share in His Divine Life. Not only was this event Christ’s first miracle of His public ministry, but this miraculous occurrence plays into the whole of understanding His glory and the way He has made an eternal offering of Himself for the salvation of mankind. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “the sign of water turned into wine at Cana already announces the Hour of Jesus’ glorification. It makes manifest the fulfillment of the wedding feast in the Father’s kingdom, where the faithful will drink the new wine that has become the Blood of Christ.” (CCC 1335) It is through this miracle that Christ realizes the invitation to His eternal mercy and love. It is in this invitation that He speaks to our hearts saying: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” (John 6:56)
The miracle of the Wedding Feast at Cana is incorporated into the whole of Christ’s salvific act of love in that it speaks of His glory and omnipotence over all of creation. At Cana, Christ, in a singular moment, turned water into wine, which was usually something that happens over a longer period of time. In the usual course, the grapes are grown, pruned, and collected, all the time being nurtured by the care of the gardener and nature, and are eventually crushed and fermented to make wine. However, at the wedding feast, Christ displayed His command over all things in that, in an instant, the water became fine wine. St. John Chrysostom says: “But now to show that it is He who transmutes water in the vine plants, and who converts the rain by its passage through the root into wine, He effected that in a moment at the wedding which in the plant is long in doing.” (Homily 22 on the Gospel of John) Just as the water was turned to wine in a singular miraculous moment at Cana, so too did Christ merit our redemption in a singular act of love. At the wedding feast, Christ turned water into wine to publicly invite us into the mystery of His life; at the Last Supper, Christ turned wine into His Blood to invite us into the abundance of His mercy; on the Cross, blood and water poured out of His pierced side to invite us to share in His Divine Life.
Furthermore, the wine that was served at the wedding feast at Cana was the finest wine the wedding master had ever tasted; it was the wine of nature perfected by the intervention of the Savior. St. John Chrysostom says that “for such are the miraculous works of Christ, they are far more perfect and better than the operations of nature…it was wine then, and the best of wine, that had been made, not the servants only, but the bridegroom and the ruler of the feast would testify…” (Homily 22 on the Gospel of John) So too, it is through Christ that we are raised to perfection, despite the weakness of our human nature and the effects of our concupiscence. Christ offers Himself in such a way that we are perfected by His love and mercy. Thus, in reflecting on the Wedding at Cana, let us consider how the miracle of the wine at the wedding feast prefigures Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross and the transubstantiation of bread and wine into His body and blood at the Last Supper, by which we are perfected and given a share in His Divine Life.
COME PRAY WITH US!
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” ~Matthew 18:20
Right now, more than ever, we called to come together as a Church to pray and to engage with the beautiful mysteries of our Catholic faith. As a response to this invitation, we are launching a weekly prayer and discussion group called Quarantine Conversations, which will follow the theme of the reflections of the Quarantine Contemplation series. Each week, we will meet on Friday evenings at 6:30pm CST/7:30pm EST to pray a decade of the Rosary followed by a short reflection and time for discussion. Please join us for all or part of these meetings, so that we may join our hearts in praise of our glorious Creator!
(After signing up, you will receive an email with more information about how to download Zoom and information about receiving weekly links to connect to the Quarantine Conversations.)
Hi! My name is Gretchen Erlichman, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace in North Guilford, Connecticut. I am a native of upstate New York, but I am currently residing in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Labouré Society, in which I hope to mitigate my student loans and enter into religious formation. Watch My Video Read My Story Donate Contact
Hi! My name is Phillip Baker and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I am a native of Nashville, Tennessee, where I currently reside as I work to pay off student loan debt from my time at Syracuse University. This is my first 6-month class with the Labouré Society, and I anticipate entrance to religious life with the Friars this July.
Watch My Video Read My Story Donate Contact