There is more than enough for each of us to be getting on with here, particularly where it is clear which particular grace – which state in life or vocation – is ours, be that the monastic cloister, the secular priesthood, a form of religious life, Christian marriage or the single life in the world. Almighty God has placed me in these circumstances at this given point in time and my task is clear. As St Paul would remind us, our duty is simply to persevere in faith, hope and charity in fulfilling the responsibilities that the grace I have been given places upon me through the normal means of spiritual sustenance available through daily prayer and regular recourse to the sacraments.
There is great joy and peace to be had in arriving at this point in life – be that the profession of monastic vows, ordination, or the celebration of Holy Matrimony. And rightly are these occasions celebrated – as they were at Cana, in Galilee, as the Holy Gospel of this Mass recounts. Our Lord himself attended the wedding feast, together with his mother.
We know well the miracle of the changing of the water into wine, somewhat reluctantly performed by Our Lord at the insistence of his seemingly impetuous mother. We may be tempted to think that this miracle was something ‘rather cute,’ one of politeness, to save embarrassment. But we should not underestimate either the importance, or indeed the mystical significance, of wine in Sacred Scripture. Let it suffice to remember our Lord’s words at the Last Supper:
And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Mt 26:27-29)
That Our Lord ensured that the Wedding at Cana could continue to be celebrated with the very best of wine is clearly an indication of the presence of the Kingdom of God – made manifest for the first time by a miracle that honours, no less, the holy vocation of marriage.
This miracle came about, as I have said, through the somewhat impetuous insistence of Our Blessed Lady. Our Lord even seemed annoyed by her demand. And yet, He complied.
One small detail here should not be overlooked – or rather, one small phrase of our Blessed Lady: “Quodcunque dixtite vobis, facite.” (Whatever He says to you, do it.) These words come from the Virgin of Nazareth who had herself responded to the Angel Gabriel with “Be it done unto me according to thy word,” at the Annunciation. Now, some decades later and – as we heard in the Gospel of the first Sunday after Epiphany – her having pondered the mystery of her Son in her heart, she is able both to ask her Son to act and to instruct those involved, with confidence to get on with doing whatever He tells you.
If we wish to drink of the new wine of the Kingdom of God and be washed clean of our sins by its saving power, if we wish to know the peace and joy in this life that is given to those who serve the Lord according to their own particular spiritual gifts, if we wish to rejoice forever in the next life for our good and faithful service here (cf. Mt 25 14-30) these words “Whatever He says to you, do it,” are imperative.
Procrastination or pelagian ‘discernment’ – where my will, not God’s, is uppermost – have no place. Waiting for the approval of my peers or family is a perilous postponement. The wedding feast is now, and the wine has run out. My God-given place is to provide new wine – the best of wine! – by means of my prompt and willing cooperation with what God asks of me. Today.
If I do not, the particular spiritual gifts he has given me, or which he plans to give me, shall lie dormant or may never even be received. The feast may devolve into a famine for the lack of that precisely new wine I was called to bring.
Our Blessed Mother’s faith is the catalyst of the miracle at the wedding of Cana. At the sacrificial feast of the Kingdom of God enacted on this altar this morning, with great confidence, let us ask her intercession, that we shall have the courage to do what Our Lord requires of us. Today. +