A great marriage

Beloved in Jesus Christ, some people I know, like to read the whole Bible from start to finish, it may take a year to do it; if you do that, you will notice something interesting: the bible begins with a marriage, and ends with a marriage. For example, in the beginning, there, is Adam his wife Eve – the first married couple. Then at the very end of the bible in the Book of Revelation, we read of a great marriage between the ‘Lamb’, Jesus Christ, and his Bride, the Church.
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This image of a marriage, we will find, winds it’s way through the whole story of our salvation. In fact, the prophets[i] often spoke of God’s relationship to his people as that of a Bridegroom and his Bride. They said that because the people had wandered after false gods and sin, unfaithful to the Lord, they were like an unfaithful Bride. But the message was always the same: God will not give up on us.
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The story of our salvation therefore, is the story of the Bridegroom who comes down from heaven to rescue his bride and bring her to his home in heaven. That is why Jesus is called the Bridegroom many times; and that is why the Church is called the Bride of Christ.
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Today in the Gospel, we encounter Jesus at the beginning of his public life, and interestingly, he is there at – a wedding! The way that St. John writes his gospel is very interesting. He says that at Cana, it is a wedding; he doesn’t mention who the bride or groom are, but he does mention Jesus, and Mary and the Apostles. The 12 apostles represent the Church, and we know that Mary is a sign of the Church.
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Christ will do then his first miracle, he will change water into wine. Now it seems that he had not intended to do this miracle; Mary tells him: ‘Son, they are out of wine!’ But Our Lord responds: ‘My hour has not yet come.’ The hour for miracles hasn’t come yet – nevertheless, his mother thinks it’s time. She tells the servants: ‘Just do whatever he tells you.’ And so, Our Lord does change water into wine.
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On Christmas we celebrated the coming of the Savior into the world; today we see this Wedding, which really shows us that the Bridegroom, Jesus, has come down from heaven for us – for his Bride, the Church.
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In ancient times, when there would be an engagement for marriage, the groom went over to the bride’s house for a meeting. The agreement to marry was finally decided when the groom poured – a cup of wine. At Cana, Mary speaks for the Apostles, the Church; ‘They have no wine,’ she says. Does the Groom pour a cup of wine, to agree with the marriage? Not just a cup. Jesus, produces 150 gallons of miraculous wine!
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What can we learn from Cana? First, we see that Jesus is the Bridegroom of our soul, and what will a groom not do for his dear spouse? He will go to any extreme to help us. In many old prayers and prayer books, they often spoke of Jesus as ‘the Bridegroom of the soul,’ emphasizing this nuptial intimacy between our heart and Christ’s; I think we should still pray this way sometimes.
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The Lord loves each faithful soul as if it were alone in the world, and if the person is willing, this Groom will make his Spouse as beautiful as possible, with graces and blessings. Jesus knows each one of us individually and he desires our salvation. He came and died for you and for me. There is not one detail of our life which was not foreseen by this Divine Bridegroom. As Psalm 139 says: ‘Oh Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I stand…. you knit me together in my mother’s womb.’
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Our Beloved knows everything about us from even before we were made, and he is working for our good, seeking us out, assisting each of us in every action of life. Fr. Joseph Schryvers says:[ii] For those who seek the Lord, God’s effort toward us knows no limits. He will use every event in our life, every difficulty, even our own weaknesses, to our advantage; no obstacle can stop him from guiding us – if we seek him. Jesus the Bridegroom therefore is working to save us and sanctify us 24 hours a day; all that is needed is that we say yes to his proposal, and throw ourself into his arms.
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This is the first message of the wedding at Cana. The other is this: Christ has given us a Mother to speak on our behalf. A Mother who intercedes for us. Our non-Catholic friends sometimes say, ‘why do you pray to Mary?’ ‘Why do you ask her to help you?’ I say: ‘I don’t know! Ask the Bible! Ask God, he gave her to us! Maybe Jesus wants to share his glory with his Mom; maybe Jesus wants people to love and call on his Mother? On earth, good sons love it when people praise their mother, and they listen to the desires of their mother. Good sons do that.
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St. Alphonsus says, that when Mary asked for the water to be made wine, it seemed that the time for miracles had not yet come, for Jesus said, ‘my hour has not yet come?’ And yet Mary, as if the favor had already been granted, told the attendants to do whatever he said. But how could this be? The time for working miracles seemed to not be part of the Divine Plan of God. Yet from all eternity, God had also decreed, that nothing should ever be refused from the Mother of Christ. Mary will intercede with Jesus on our behalf.
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In Germany there was a man who fell into serious sin; because of shame, he was unwilling to confess it, tormented in his conscience, he thought of ending his life. That night, in his sleep, he felt a lady shake his arm, and heard a voice say: ‘go to confession.’ The next night, he again heard the same voice calling him. He went to the Church, yet in his stubbornness, he said he’d rather die than confess that sin. But before going home he prayed before an image of the Blessed Virgin. No sooner had he knelt down, than he found himself quite changed. He immediately arose, called a priest and made an entire confession of his sins. He would often say, that he never felt such joy, as on that day.
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Cana teaches us that we should often go to Mary, because she will always bring us the blessings of Jesus.

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[Entrusted to the prayers of St. Augustine]

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[i] Especially Isiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Hosea

[ii] The Gift of Oneself, p. 18

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