Sunday, January 20, 2019

Wedding Wine

January 20, 2019 –– 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 62:1–5 / Psalm 96 / 1 Corinthians 12:4–11 / John 2:1–11
Wedding Wine

Weddings carry a lot of weight in our society. Many prospective brides come to their plans with images that have simmered in their imaginations even before they became conscious of them. I have no idea what the financial outlay might be each year for the wedding industry, but I know it’s huge. Venues for the reception alone are easily in five figures for a single evening of celebration (and there is usually plenty of wine). All of this is symbolic of the hopes a newly married couple have for future happiness.

Marriage, at its best, offers some of greatest and deepest delights this world can give. Dashed marital dreams can inflict some of the deepest emotional pain. It is in this context that God speaks to his people through Isaiah after their hopes had seemingly been destroyed:

As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you;
and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you.

The image of God being married to his people is woven throughout Scripture. In the New Testament the Church is the Bride of Christ.

It is no accident that the first miracle of Jesus was at a wedding. Neither is it happenstance that the specific act was turning water into wine. There is more about this written by the Church Fathers than one can easily read; one observation by Saint Augustine is that water naturally turns into wine all the time, but usually through a gradual and natural process. Out of this Bishop Barron notes: “God delights in taking what we can contribute––and then lifting all of it up to a higher pitch through his grace.” 

Then there are all the Eucharistic implications of Jesus providing “miraculous wine” so far beyond this one event so long ago. Jesus gives us miraculous wine so that all we are naturally can be transformed into the glory of God. 

We are invited to bring the water of our lives to the Bridegroom who is able to change us into choice wine. What if we had a bride’s expectation each time we came before the altar to receive Jesus?

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