Homily – January 20, 2019

There was a wedding in Cana of Galilee. It was not the first wedding in Cana and it wouldn’t be the last but it was a wedding Cana would never forget.

I was a guest at a wedding a few weeks ago. In a way it was over the top. The many showers before hand, the dress, the wedding party, the ceremony, the banquet, nothing was spared. It was far removed from that wedding in Galilee.

The families in Cana were hard working people who couldn’t afford to splurge on anything. I imagine that a wedding banquet was something like a potluck supper – everybody brought something for the common table. The wedding was a community affair, everybody shared.

Tragedy of tragedies they ran out of wine. The party is over. Mary spots the problem and tells Jesus about it. He doesn’t want to get involved. Jesus tells his mother, ’my hour has not yet come. Mary would not be put off and tells the servants, do whatever he tells you.

I don’t think many families in Cana had servants so that would make the lack of wine more embarrassing for the host family. Jesus tells the servants what to do, and there is an abundance of wine, the bride and grown are spared a great embarrassment and the party goes on and Jesus reluctantly let’s his glory be known and his disciples believed in him.

The servants offered Jesus gallons of the stagnant rain water usually used to wash the dusty feet of guests. No matter, he made it the best tasting wine.

We know how important water is to all of us. There is nothing more refreshing that a nice cold drink of water. We all know men and women and even children in Toronto, in Canada, around the world, who because of the circumstances of their lives, drink from the cup of the stagnant water of poverty, illness and disease, discrimination, misunderstanding, marital conflict, drug abuse, sexual abuse, unemployment, homelessness and other life situations that diminish their human worth and dignity. Men, women and children in our neighbourhoods suffer a thirst, a drought for respect and acceptance of themselves as persons, thirst for adequate housing, a just wage, home care or just simple companionship.

This Sunday our gospel lets us watch Jesus as he begins in his years of public ministry, being there for people in any need, offering the celebratory wine of their human worth and dignity, the wine of their healing of mind and body, the wine of being loved by God, and finally the life giving wine of his death on the cross.

Can we imagine that this is our personal life’s mission, as followers of Jesus who was always there for those who needed him? Will we use the gifts given each of us by the Holy Spirit Paul describes in our second reading; gifts of wisdom and knowledge, and compassion, gifts of faith or healing to enrich the lives of others; not with a glass of choice wine but a with simple cup of water of human kindness, love and acceptance.

Remember this promise of Jesus, ‘whoever offers a cup of cold water to one or these little ones will not lose his reward.’

Refreshing others may we be refreshed by the kindness of others.