Second Sunday after the Epiphany

A Celebration of Marriage

In Judaism, marriage is very special. (It should be for us as well.) There is cause for great celebration. Yes, Jews drank wine as part of the celebration. There is no reason to believe that Jesus did not join in. In fact, the Pharisees accused him of drinking with sinners and tax collectors.

From today’s Gospel reading we have an account of the first miracle performed by Jesus:

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.”   (John 2:1-10)

This miracle was performed at a wedding celebration. What did this mean? The Gospel of John often has  many levels of meanings. Let us see if we can go deeper into the significance of this celebration.

We read in the Book of Isaiah:

For as a young man marries a young woman,
so shall your builder marry you,

and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice over you.   (Isaiah 62:5)

Isaiah compares God’ s affection for Israel to that of a young man’s love and desire for his bride. The wedding feast is illustrative of this affection. It is a celebration of lives coming together and forming one life. That is the prayer that Jesus prayed for his disciples:

And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.   (John 17:22-23

God the Father’s desire is that we would be married to him and his Son. Reading again from Isaiah:

You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate;

but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
and your land Married;

for the Lord delights in you,
and your land shall be married.

For as a young man marries a young woman,
so shall your builder marry you,

and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice over you.   (Isaiah 62:4-5)

God wants to rejoice over us as his bride. He longs to be with us more that any bridegroom does for his bride. The psalmist wrote:

How priceless is your love, O God!
your people take refuge under the shadow of your wings.

They feast upon the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from the river of your delights.

For with you is the well of life,
and in your light we see light.   (Psalm 36:7-9)

Jesus miraculously kept the supply of wine from running out. God has so much more for us than wine. He will give us a drink from his “river of delights,” He is our well of life that never runs empty. Jesus told that Samaritan woman at the well:

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”   (John 4:13-14)

The Church is said to be the bride of Christ. De we seek unity with him and the Father? We live in difficult times. Can we celebrate our marriage to God? Do we look forward to “the marriage supper of the Lamb?”

From the Book of Revelation we read:

Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready;
to her it has been granted to be clothed
with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.”   (Revelation 19:7-9)

John’s Gospel reveals the heart of God. Do we know his heart? Do we know how much he loves? Enough to send us his only eternal Son to pay the price for all our sins. All we need to do is believe in him and trust in his love.

Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.   (John 2:11)

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Filed under Epiphany, homily, Jesus, lectionary, liturgical preaching, liturgy, preaching, Revised Common Lectionary, sermon, sermon development, Year C

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