Jun 3, 2015

Adult Formation on the Gospel of St. John, the Wedding Feast at Cana.

A study of the role of Mary in the first miracle of Jesus.
Also, the spiritual interpretation of this miracle.

Handout is below the audio.

Listen online [here]!


Catholic Commentary on the Gospel of St John
Following the great saints and Catholic theologians
Session 6 – The Wedding Feast at Cana in Galilee

I. "The third day" --
“The third day, that is, from Christ’s departure for Galilee, and the calling of Philip. For this was the last date mentioned by S. John. The following is the sequence of these days in the life of Christ:”
            January 6th – Baptized, January 7th to February 15th – Fasting in the desert, March 1st – The Baptist testifies to Jesus, March 2nd – The Baptist calls Jesus the Lamb of God, March 3rd – Andrew and John follow Jesus, March 4th – Jesus calls Philip and Nathanael, March 5/6th  – Wedding Feast.

II. There was a marriage --
A. Who was the bridegroom? St Thomas follows St Augustine supposing him to be St John the Beloved. However, more likely it is St Simon the Cananite. (Cornelius a' Lapide)

B. The goodness of marriage. This shows that marriage was sanctified by our Lord, and yet he also calls some to the more perfect life of celibacy in which his disciples imitate him most perfectly.

III.  The Mother of Jesus was there --

A. “And the Mother, &c. “She was invited as a friend by those who were celebrating the marriage,” says Euthymius. For Simon the Cananite, who was the bridegroom, was the son of Cleophas, the brother of Joseph the husband of the Blessed Virgin. There is no mention of Joseph in this place, nor subsequently; for he was now dead.” (Cornelius a’ Lapide)

B. Jesus and his disciple also -- these disciples are most probably Philip and Nathanael/Bartholomew, Peter and Andrew, and John. Not that Jesus regularly went to such feasts, but in this he came forth from his hidden life to be present to the world.

IV. The request of the Mother
“They have no wine.”, “Woman, what is that to me and to thee? My hour is not yet come.”

A. The Mother’s request -- “Observe the modesty of the Virgin. She does not bid, or even ask. She does not say, My Son, provide wine for them. She did not doubt that Jesus in His providence and love would provide it. […] Moreover, the Mother having a certain confidence that she would obtain, here tacitly asks her Son to procure wine. During the thirty years they had lived together in close companionship she had leant from Him that He had been sent by the Father, that by His heavenly doctrines and miracles, He might convert men to Himself and God. It is impossible to doubt that when Christ bade goodbye to His Mother, when He was going to John’s baptism, and after that to enter upon His office of preaching, He had expressly told His Mother the same. Wherefore, she deeming that the present was a fitting occasion for Jesus, by a miracle, to gain authority and belief in Himself, fearlessly asked for a miracle, not doubting that Christ would perform it, and by doing so would gratify His Mother and his relations, and would advance His own office and dignity.” (Cornelius a’ Lapide)

B. The Son’s response – And Jesus saith, What is it to Me and to Thee, &c. Meaning, What have I to do with thee in this matter? […] The meaning, therefore, is this, ‘Thou, o Mother, in this matter, art not My Mother, but as it were another woman. For, from thee I have received human nature, not Divinity. It belongs to My Divine nature to work this miracle, not in accordance with thy desires, and those of relations, but in accordance with the will of God My Father. According to that will I shall work, when the hour and time decreed by God shall come.” (Cornelius a’ Lapide)

C. My hour is not yet come“S. Augustine gives another explanation, to the following effect: The hour of My passion is not yet come, in which I will show what I have to do with thee My Mother, that indeed I have of thee truly assumed man’s nature, and that I am thy Son. When in the weakness of My human nature, of which thou art the Mother, I shall hang upon the cross, then I will acknowledge thee. For He commended her then to His disciple.” (Cornelius a’ Lapide)
“Hear S. Chrysostom: ‘Although He answered thus, yet He complied with His Mother’s prayer, that He might give honour to her, and not seem stubborn to her, nor put her to shame when so many were present.’ And Euthymius says, ‘How very greatly He honoured her is plain from many other reasons, and also from this, that He fulfilled her exhortation.’” (Cornelius a’ Lapide)

D. Mary speaks to the servants – Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye. “S. Gaudentius comments in these words, ‘The Mother would not have said, Whatsoever He saith unto you do it, unless being full of the Holy Ghost from her birth she had foreseen the whole process of Christ’s turning the water into wine.’” (Cornelius a’ Lapide)

IV. Spiritual Reflections on the Passage

A. Even as Noah discovered wine after the flood, Christ made wine from water after his baptism.
B. The water of the Old Testament is made to the wine of the New Testament.

C. He who made water into wine would later make wine into his blood.