The Wedding in Cana (F. Manns)

The Wedding in Cana

"On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, 'They have no wine.' And Jesus said to her, 'Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.' His mother said to 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.' So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, 'Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.' So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that become wine, without knowing where it came from (although the servers who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, 'Everyone serves the good wine first, and then when the people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.' Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him" (Jn 2: 1-11).


Mary is there at the wedding in Cana, with Jesus' brothers, like any relative keen on maintaining family, friendly and social ties with the people around. Mary is also observing, by her presence, a commandment of the Jewish law about a work of charity such as honoring and blessing the family and the fiancés. Evidently John's account of the Wedding in Cana adds a deeper meaning to the scene, since John pays close attention to the symbols in events and people.


Mary finds that wine has run out. She talks to her son and makes a natural observation, "They have no more wine", but Jesus reacts on a different level. The fact of there not being any more wine, which takes the guests by surprise, allows him to go to a higher plane. Himself astonished by the effect of his mother's words on him, he answers by a question: "What is there between you and me?" [1 ] Behind Mary's words, on a symbolical level, one can hear the words of the faithful remnant of Israel, of those who are waiting for the Messiah.


Wine in the Bible is a symbol of the joy that God promised to His people, and of the reestablishment of the Covenant.  Joel 4: 18 talks about it, "On that day the mountains shall drip new wine." Amos declares, "Yes, days are coming, says the Lord, when the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the vintager, he who sows the seed; the juice of grapes shall drip down the mountains, and all the hills shall run with it" (9: 13). Isaiah, when evoking the eschatological banquet, does not hesitate to declare that wine shall be freely given out. Zechariah in 9: 16-17 picks up this theme again, "And the Lord, their God, shall save them on that day, his people, like a flock. For they are the jewels in a crown raised aloft over his land. For what wealth is theirs, and what beauty! grain that makes the flourish, and new wine, the maidens!"


Wine will pour out when the Messiah comes, a symbol of joy and of superabundant spiritual blessings. Jesus accepts his mission and Mary is the instructor of his first steps.

As Solomon's mother had crowned her son on the day of his nuptials [2], Mary is present near Jesus, when he ushers in the first signs of God's kingdom being present among us. By her intervention with the servants, she brings Jesus to the world of men. Consequently, she gives birth to the community about to enjoy the messianic wine [3].


[1 ] What is there between you and me? sometime signifies, "What past quarrel is opposing us?" Cf Jgs 11:12; 2

2 Ch 35: 1; 1 Kgs 17: 18. But also, " What do we have in common?" or "What relationship binds us?" The remark comes to mean, "We are not on the same wavelength, we do not see things the same way." John's text in 7: 6-10, helps to explain Jesus' attitude. In fact Mary understands the answer as a yes, since she goes find the servants and asks them to do whatever Jesus will command.

[2 ] Song 3:11

[3 ] Mary doesn't make any commands. She contents herself by drawing Jesus' attention to the situation and trusting His hidden potential - the virtuosities of Jesus - that she has sensed within her Son. As soon as the Son's passage into public life is realized, the mother falls into silence and accepts the distance that Jesus now establishes betweem himself and others, as a result of His constant aim toward a universal fraternity.

Fr. Frederic Manns

Jn 2: 1-12: Wedding at Cana

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited.


And they ran out of wine, since the wine provided for the feast had all been used, and the mother of Jesus said to him, 'They have no wine.'


Jesus said, 'Woman, what do you want from 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.


Then he said to them, 'Draw some out now and take it to the president of the feast.'


They did this; the president tasted the water, and it had turned into wine. Having no idea where it came from—though the servants who had drawn the water knew—the president of the feast called the bridegroom and said, 'Everyone serves good wine first and the worse wine when the guests are well wined; but you have kept the best wine till now.'


This was the first of Jesus' signs: it was at Cana in Galilee. He revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.


After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, but they stayed there only a few days.