“They have no wine.” Jesus told her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother told the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” They filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” They took it. When the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine… the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves beautiful wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the beautiful wine until now.”
Our Gospel for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time has two messages. First, we must read of Jesus’ relation with his mother in much the same way we look at the typical relationship between an ethnic mother from Brooklyn with her child. An Anglo child would never speak to his mother as Jesus does with his mother. In a typical ethnic neighborhood, this is normal. We first see this brash way of speaking when Our Blessed Virgin first meets Elizabeth, when the two women are pregnant. There, we need to keep in mind that Elizabeth, as wife of a priest who gives service in the temple, was probably wealthy. The Magnificat about condemning the wealthy. As Our Blessed Virgin was brash with Elizabeth, so Jesus us brash with his mother.
“There were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons.” As a point of reference, the human body, if empty, holds about thirty gallons. The ceremonial washings we ritual washings of purification. The passage tells us to do penance. When we drink the ceremonial water of penance, the water washing through us becomes wine. “When the people have drunk freely, an inferior one…” This is because the people are drunk and will no longer no the difference.
This is what penance does for us, when it is sincere. We become filled as with wine. We act like we are drunk. Our first reading sums things up:
“You shall be called “My Delight,“ your land “Espoused.” The NAME delights in you and makes your land his spouse. As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you.”
Why is it that the whole world loves a lover, but nobody loves a churchgoer? We call the beginning of our liturgy the Introductory Rites, the Entrance, the Greeting, the Penitential Act, the Glory to God, and the Collect. The Penitential Act gets us ready for the Glory to God. In the Penitential Act we drink the water of those thirty gallons. We then sing the Glory to God. We become the virgin, the Bride of Christ, who marries the young man, Jesus. Our Builder, God, marries us. We become the Bride of Christ. God rejoices in us, and we in him. We then go out into the world and express that love. The question for us, “Are we married to Christ or not?” “Are we the bride of Christ or no?”
When we leave our Cathedral, it is through the Narthex. The Narthex is a plant, but not just any plant. Prometheus used the Narthex to bring fire down from the gods. Let us drink down the fire of the Holy Spirit this Sunday and leave Mass to go forth to love and serve God by bringing his wine to the world.