“CANA CONTINUES IN CHRIST”
Saint John 2. 1-11
2nd Sunday after Epiphany: 19 January Anno Domini 2014
Sermon Text taken from a Family Devotion written by Bishop Nils Laache c. 1884
Modified, added to, and amended by Fr. Jay Watson SSP
In The Name + of Jesus
Our Lord may have performed miracles before the revelation of Holy Writ, but we don’t know them because God did not preserve them for our learning, marking, and digesting. While some consider Jesus’ encounter with the Apostle St. Nathanael (Bartholomew) in John’s Evangel [Jn. 1. 44-50] to be the Christ’s first miracle, it is our lection this morning that IS considered Jesus’ First Public Miracle!
This supernatural wonder was done before the “12”—producing eye-witnesses and, thus, a contemporary account. This sign was done at a wedding. There is a reason, many reasons, that the Lord chose such a celebration for His revelation.
The creator who made the earth, the vines, the grapes, and everything else—including the bride and groom—turns (transubstantiates) water into wine and thus changes this Cana ceremony from emptiness to fullness, from potential ennui into full joy!
Matrimony is God’s core and crux of His highest creation—man; “in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.” [Gen. 1.27] “And the Lord God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an helpmate for him.” Jesus said: “a man [shall] leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” [Mt. 19. 5-6] The first two, your “parents,” become one flesh. God created this holy comm[union] and sanctified it in the sanctified garden—the original “marriage hall.” And when fellowship with God was shattered at the tree, so too was true fellowship with one’s help-mate and head. Since sin corrupted not just the ground and the individual’s own body, but also the beloved as well, sin has raged through the ages against all husbands and wives. Satan understands, with a twisted animal cunning, that he rots marriages and thus perverts the true and perfect picture of Christ and His own Bride the Church. The devil by severing man from God severs man from woman…the carnage is horrendous: adultery, divorce, spousal abuse, abandonments, abortions, rampant promiscuity, loneliness, unnatural affections, and an endless list of tears and heartbreaks.
You the brethren of the Nazarene, like the “12” are also His Holy spotless Bride as the elect ekklesia—the Church! And thus, you loathe and despise the falsehoods of Satan. By the power of the Holy Ghost your new creation confesses and fights for the sacred and unbreakable “let not man put asunder” nature of Holy Marriage.
Why did Christ let His Divine Nature peek forth for a moment at Cana? Why was this miracle shared with an unnamed couple?
Jesus is the God/Man and all that He does, all that He is, is to forgive and save—not just to rescue and redeem, but to give Life in its abundance; to give peace and family! Messias was in that house at that feast to drive the devil out of the banquet hall and back to hell. The Lord was there, as He is here in this nuptial hall, to create and sustain for Himself not independent people without burdens and restraints, but a Holy People, a peculiar people strong in faith which produces good works and good hearts. To drink the heart of God is to drink the Blood which flowed, and flows, from that heart. Water that become wine pointed forward to wine that becomes The Blood of The Lamb!
He takes infants in His arms by the Sacrament of Holy + Washing, catechizes the young to fear God by feeding them the Word, and is with them in their own marriages “a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” [Eccl. 4.12] Jesus enters the marriage, their marriage and YOUR marriage as the Third strand Who is the FIRST and ETERNAL strand. He then twists the two strands in, with, and under Him so that unity in community would be sanctified. Christ sees that the children, the fruit of the womb, might also be Holy, fed by the Paraclete and also brought to the Font that the birthing cycle would continue in His Water and Blood.
Jesus draws to Himself a bride on earth: “for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” [Eph. 5. 23-32]
Jesus fights for His spouse collectively and individually in each of your lives—when you are single (and the gift of purity, chaste and celibate virginity is a high, high gift indeed) or when you have a spouse. But remember; the water of tears becomes the wine of gladness and merriment. Water brings life and wine brings table joy! Baptism ushers and initiates and the Sacrament of the Altar brings spiritual joy and peace. The Lord’s time came that day in Cana, at least for a moment; His time has now come in fullness and abundance—the fast is over.
The filthiness of your good works is cleansed and that mediocrity of cheap wine is trumped. The Law’s five stone jars is now fulfilled and FILLED with the sweet fine wine of Jesus’ obedience and atonement.
His “Highly favoured” Mother, the Blessed Virgin, submits to His word and will, even as her “fiat” acquiesced through the Spirit’s Grace to Gabriel’s Gospel. Mary on behalf of the Church says well: “whatever He says…”
This is your wedding, this morning’s meal and every day’s nourishment as well; Jesus is with you!
Drink deeply spotless and pure blessed Bride. The Kingdom of Heaven is with you. The King is with you and in you!
In The Name of The Father and of + The Son and of The Holy Ghost