There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited. When they ran out of wine, since the wine provided for the wedding was all finished, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ Jesus said, ‘Woman, why turn to me? My hour has not come yet.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ There were six stone water jars standing there, meant for the ablutions that are customary among the Jews; each could hold twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water,’ and they filled them to the brim. ‘Draw some out now’ he told them, ‘and take it to the steward.’ They did this; the steward tasted the water, and it had turned into wine. Having no idea where it came from – only the servants who had drawn the water knew – the steward called the bridegroom and said, ‘People generally serve the best wine first, and keep the cheaper sort till the guests have had plenty to drink, but you have kept the best wine till now.’
This was the first of the signs given by Jesus: it was given at Cana in Galilee. He let his glory be seen, and his disciples believed in him.
Since we often hear this reading being proclaimed as part of a wedding liturgy, one can easily think that this is its only context. This Sunday it is accompanied with the first reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah, giving it a much wider context than that of the family.
Today we can reflect on the Servant of God’s homily on marriage.
My dear couple, before leaving this sacred place, which will have a special significance for you from now onwards, allow me a few words.
With your mutual consent, expressed in front of God’s and the Church’s representative, you have just done a solemn act and you have also received a Sacrament that the Apostle our Father does not hesitate to define great: “Sacramentum magnum”.
Yes, the Christian marriage is great in itself and it what it symbolizes.
The Christian marriage, in fact, is the symbol of the mystical union between Jesus Christ and his Church, as Paul says: “Hoc autem dico in Christo et in Ecclesia”.
Jesus loves his Church with an indescribable love, to the extent that he shed his blood foe her, and left her all his being in the Blessed Sacrament. Well. Marriage is the holy union of two hearts, for whom love is a duty.
Jesus protects his Church. It is he that gives her the strength to defend herself against the persecutions of her enemies. He makes sure that she is victorious and unhurt after each tempest. With his Spirit he guides her firmly on the path of truth and justice. Well, God has placed a man at the side of the woman: he is stronger, more reflective and has the necessary energy and courage to face the problems of life. In marriage God entrusts the man with the mission to defend, protect and sustain his wife, and to use his physical strength and the boldness of his initiatives for her benefit.
The Church, in her turn, reciprocates with the sweetest demonstrations of love. She speaks lovingly about Jesus to all humanity. She solemnly makes memorial of his actions. She surrounds the Real Presence of her Divine Spouse with all the trappings of the Liturgy. She consoles the Heart of Jesus that many rebel souls offend.
In the Christian marriage, the wife, who is richer in sentiments and more inclined to meekness and piety, has the mission to make the life of her husband more enjoyable. She has the mission to pour balsam on the wounds that sometimes evil persons inflict. She is meant to be the consoler of her companion.
There is even more. Jesus Christ and his Church strive for the same holy goal: the good of the souls that are generated and brought up in the life of the grace through the Blood of Jesus and the Church’s Sacraments. Marriage, my dear friends, is also a symbol of this union. When God gives a couple the joy of parenthood, a new mission commences. They are entrusted with the future of other human beings. They have to dedicate themselves to the noblest art of educating the minds and hearts of their children. In the serenity of their domestic shrine, they are to form loyal and virtuous Christians.
That is why St Paul calls this Sacrament ‘great’; yes it is great not only as a symbol, but in itself, that is, by the grace of God, who, with it and through it, communicates himself to us.
Without the grace of God, all that we have said so far would be merely a dream. In fact, if the man’s strength is not regulated by faith and not guided by grace, it will cease being a protective force, and instead it becomes an oppressive tyranny. Without god’s grace, even the woman’s tenderness loses its nature and becomes useless, if not harmful. Paternity becomes an unbearable burden, and the children that are brought up without a sane education will give a lot of heartaches.
I’m sure that you, my dear friends, have understood all this. You have understood that only God can preserve the beauty of your union; he will give you his grace to accomplish your duties. You have been educated within your respective families to respect God; you have come at the foot of the altar to ask Him to bless you, to place the foundation stone of your marriage. Good for you.
Therefore, allow me to express my sincere wishes in the Lord; also those of the Church and of all those who love you and are gathered here. Yes, be happy. Hold on to the grace that you have received abundantly. Do pray: it is a nice way to communicate with God; therein the Tabernacle, Jesus is always ready to hear your prayers. May you see prayer and the Eucharist as the means to help you keep always alive the grace of the Sacrament that you have received. Yes, prayer and the Eucharist continue in time the joy that you are experiencing today; this would go on even after a tiresome life that would have turned your hair gray: you will still feel young in your thinking and affections, and this will be of help to your children, who, besides resembling you physically will also take up your virtues. Be happy, and live saintly.