Mary and Jesus were invited to the marriage at Cana. Let’s look at the invitation list. We find that the disciples of Jesus were also invited. This included at least the five disciples named in the previous chapter: Andrew, John, Peter, Phillip and Nathaniel.
This was not a small wedding. There must have been many people present. Cana is only about 6 miles from Nazareth and about 30 miles from Capernaum, the home of Peter and Andrew on the Sea of Galilee, and Jesus’ new base of operations. Other people must have come from some distance, as well.
Due to the distances involved, the wedding would typically have lasted a few days, perhaps three or more days. These guests would consume a lot of food and beverage. It’s likely that the families of the couples had no idea how many people would come. It is not so unusual that they would have begun to run out of wine or food if many more people showed up, in excess of the number expected.
Jesus was still forming his small band of disciples. It was still early in his ministry. Jesus’ “hour” had not yet come, meaning his Crucifixion.
Mary was sensitive to the needs and dignity of the young couple. Jesus acknowledges that this was Mary’s concern, not his. Mary concern was to preserve the dignity of the couple by doing some things in the background. Mary told her son, Jesus, “They have no wine.” This act of mercy, the first of Jesus’ miracles, was performed at the request of his mother, Mary, out of sight of those who most benefited, the bride and groom. Mary plays an active role in intercession with Jesus. This is why the Church regularly seeks her assistance and prayers.
In December, Pope Francis opened the Jubilee Year of Mercy, by opening the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica, as a pilgrimage destination for the faithful. He also encouraged other Bishops to make available “Holy Doors” in their respective Dioceses as places of pilgrimage for the faithful during the Year of Mercy. For us the local Holy Doors are open at our Cathedral.
What is the “Year of Mercy”? During this year, we will be exploring more about the “Year of Mercy”. At this point, lets see how Jesus and Mary view mercy in the first of the signs Jesus performed. There was an abundance of wine created miraculously by Jesus for the guests, gallons and gallons of very good wine. There is an abundance of God’s mercy awaiting us. In this first sign, Jesus and Mary showed the importance of marriage, and protected the dignity of the bride and groom.
God’s mercy is unlimited and unconditional. God loves us and wants to save and reconcile us to himself. However, we must walk through the “Holy Doors”. We must ask for God’s mercy. One commentator mentioned that the Holy Door of Mercy is the door to the Confessional.
If you have not been to Confession in some time, I urge you to go to Confession soon and often. I hear that many are afraid to go to Confession, and I would urge you, if you have not been in a long, long time, stop going to Holy Communion. Most likely all of you, and me, are in need of repentance and reconciliation. Make a good examination of conscience. Do not permit yourself to convince yourself that you haven’t sinned. St. Augustine said that even a holy person sins seven times a day.
The Church asks us to go to Confession at least once a year. However, that is just a minimum requirement. We should go more frequently. I attempt to go every month or two. If you have not been to Confession in some time, the first way to participate in the Holy Year of Mercy is to experience God’s mercy in the Confessional.
God’s mercy will admit us to the “Wedding feast of the Lamb”, Eternal Life, with Jesus as our bridegroom. It is not automatic. We have to act. We must seek God’s Mercy. We have to walk through the Door of Mercy to reach the wedding feast.