Wellspring of the Gospel


Year C: 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Gospel: John 2: 1-11

Although we are in Year C, the Year of Luke, our first Gospel in this period of Ordinary Time is taken from John's Gospel. It is the first of the Sign stories which John uses to reveal Jesus as the Messiah.

The story is of the marriage feast at Cana with its well-known saga of a wedding feast threatening to end in a humiliating lack of wine - and Jesus' miraculous intervention by turning water meant for washing into wine.

It is a Gospel with many threads - the insight into the relationship between Mary and Jesus - the miracle itself - the fact that the miraculous wine is better than the original - the fact of Jesus honouring the young couple in this way - and so on.

Images of marriage feasts and bridegrooms - wine and water appear in the Old and New Testament with great regularity. The relationship between God and Israel was often seen as a marriage - Israel the bride, God the bridegroom. The coming of the Messiah was described in terms of a wedding feast - and later, in Revelation, we hear of the marriage feast of the Lamb. Jesus spoke of himself as the vine - and of longing to celebrate Passover, blessing wine into the cup of his blood.

It is into these layers of symbol that we can set today's Gospel. Jesus was not doing a party trick - nor was he just being kind: as St John says, “He let his glory be seen”. Jesus uses a human event to point to something much greater.
The steward, we are told, calls the human bridegroom over and compliments him on saving the best wine until last. We know, however, who was the provider of that wine. Jesus is a guest at the wedding - but St John is offering a hint of his deeper role as another kind of bridegroom - the promised one who will wed God's people - who will invite them to the marriage feast in heaven - and give his guests the finest of wine.

Take time to reflect on the Gospel - read it slowly - or allow your imagination to play with the story. Allow yourself to dwell on the details and allow echoes and symbols to speak deeply to you. This is the Man whose story we are entering - who will speak in words but also in sign - we need to be alert to both!
The Gospel: What does it mean for me?

Waterlily Which words and symbols speak most clearly to you in this Gospel?

Try to work out why...

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