SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (January 20, 2019)
As we move into ordinary time, we hear a passage from the fourth Gospel, John, symbolized by an eagle because of the theological heights to which he soars.
Today’s Gospel recounts the first of the seven signs in the first half of John’s Gospel. At first hearing, signs sound like miracles. A more careful listening reveals an important difference. John’s “signs” have two levels: the one that our senses read and the one that points to a deeper reality – some aspect of the meaning of Jesus’ life. John’s Gospel is different.
Abundant wine traditionally symbolizes God’s generosity. Water jugs of that period contained about 25 gallons. Just the additional wine was enough for 100 guests to have 30, 8oz glasses of wine each. Could we call that a staggering amount of wine? This would certainly provide a challenge to wine enthusiasts.
This episode begins with Mary. Mary’s faith elicited Jesus’ response - which was, at first, reluctant. John makes it clear that Mary’s faith is central to the action of the story. She is also the catalyst for the belief of others.
John makes a startling statement: “They began to believe at this time.” Mary’s faith, her initiative, her trust, brought those present - guests and disciples alike - to trust Jesus. As we know, trust is faith.
Wine in abundance was an Old Testament symbol of god’s salvation at the end of time. This first sign of Jesus in Cana points to Jesus as the source of wine in abundance. John’s gospel is subtle; it is not a simple, “miracle story.”
Do we appreciate the signs that Jesus has placed in our lives? Do we grow from what god has done in our lives and allow it to deepen our faith and significantly change our lives?
Do we allow life changes in our relationship with god to spark the growth of faith in others? This is what the gospel is challenging us to do today. We learn from a sign.