Today, we celebrate with great joy the Feast of the Miracle at the Wedding of Cana of Galilee and the Feast of the pure martyrs, St. Demiana and the forty virgins. I wish you all joy and blessings today and pray that God may grant you many happy returns.
Our gospel reading this morning, which came from the Gospel according to St. John 2:1-11, spoke to us about the first miracle that our Lord performed in His ministry at a certain wedding in Cana of Galilee. We are told that, on the third day, there was a wedding in Cana and the mother of Jesus, St. Mary, was there. Our Lord was also invited to this wedding along with His earliest disciples. When the newlyweds ran out of wine to serve their guests, St. Mary approached our Lord and said to him, simply, “They have no wine.” Our Lord responded, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” Without responding, St. Mary tells the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Our Lord commanded the servants to fill six stone waterpots with water and give some to the master of the feast. When he tasted it, he found it to be good wine. St. John the Evangelist tells us that this was the first of our Lord’s signs in His ministry.
The Sign as a Manifestation of our Lord’s Divinity
This wonderful miracle at the wedding of Cana was a revelation of the Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is quite interesting that the account of the miracle at the wedding of Cana appears only in the Gospel according to St. John and not in any of the other three gospel accounts. This fact highlights the difference between St. John’s account and the other three, because our Lord Jesus Christ is presented differently in his gospel account. Whereas the Gospel accounts of St. Matthew, Mark, and Luke begin with historical events like the annunciations or the birth of Christ, the Gospel account of St. John begins with an account of Christ before history, before the ages. He tells us,
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (Jn 1:1–4).
Thus, St. John reveals the Divinity of Christ to us from the very first words of his gospel account. When St. John wrote his Gospel account, he quite obviously wanted to emphasize Christ’s Divinity so that we may believe in Him. This is how he himself saw Christ, as he tells us in 1:14: “[W]e beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father.”
Realizing that St. John emphasized the Divinity of Christ helps us to understand the structure of his gospel account, because he records exactly seven miracles of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he calls “signs.” In these seven signs, we understand Christ’s Divinity not from what He says, but rather, from what He does. His actions in all of these signs reveal His Divinity.
The very first sign is what we are celebrating today, the transformation of the water into wine at the wedding feast. St. John tells us in today’s gospel reading, “This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory” (Jn 2:11). The Greek word used for “beginning” is arche, which refers to a commencement of something. What exactly happened in this sign? As St. Hilary of Poitiers teaches us, our Lord did not make new wine by mixing it two liquids. Instead, He created new wine from water. His action this morning was an action of creation showing that He is the Creator, which reminds us what St. John said of Him at the beginning of His gospel account: “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (Jn 1:3). Our Lord showed His creative power when He created wine from water. Remember that, when God created the world through Christ, there was no order in creation; everything was without form and void. When God created the world from nothing, however, He set everything in order. In the same way, at the wedding, there was confusion and anxiety when the wine ran out. Our Lord, however, through His creation, set everything in order. This action shows Christ’s Divinity in that He is the Creator Who has authority over His creation. Thus, in this first sign, we clearly see the power of Christ’s Divinity.
The second sign of our Lord Jesus Christ recorded in the Gospel according to St. John is the curing of the nobleman’s son at the end of chapter 4. The third sign occurs when our Lord heals the paralytic at the pool in chapter 5, followed by the fourth sign when our Lord multiplies the five loaves and two fish in chapter 6. Afterwards, we see the fifth sign in our Lord walking on water, which is also in chapter 6 and then the sixth sign, which is the healing of the man born blind in chapter 9. The seventh and final sign recorded by St. John is the raising of Lazarus from the dead in chapter 11.
If you look at these seven signs recorded in the Gospel according to St. John, you will see a progression of the revelation of Christ’s Divinity. In the first sign, which we commemorate today, our Lord transformed six pots of water into wine and His disciples “believed in Him.” By the seventh and last sign, our Lord raises Lazarus from the dead and says to his sister, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” (Jn 11:40) The progression is made clear that, in the first sign, our Lord Jesus Christ transformed water into wine so that He might eliminate the sadness and despair of the bridegroom and bride, but by the last sign, our Lord raised Lazarus from the dead so that He might eliminate sadness and despair completely. Thus, we see a progression from the first sign to the last sign that calls people to faith so that they may see the glory of God. In fact, each one of the seven signs is a revelation of God’s glory in the Person and Work of our Lord Jesus Christ. What St. John does in his gospel account is to give each and every one of us a glimpse at the Divine Glory of God in the Person and works of our Lord Jesus Christ.
What we celebrate today, therefore, my brothers and sisters, is the beginning of these signs in which God revealed His Divine Glory to mankind. St. John recorded them, and the Church celebrates the first of them as a feast, to call each and every one of us to see Christ’s Divine Glory, to understand that He is God. For many of you, this may seem like an obvious conclusion, but it nonetheless worth emphasizing, because there is an unfortunate trend in the world today to follow our Lord Jesus Christ simply as a moral teacher. There are many in the world today that focus on what they call the “historical Jesus,” which is essentially an account of Christ’s life and teaching without any regard for the fact that He is the Son of God. As one of the Western Fathers wrote,
And so let us too believe wholeheartedly that he whom we confess to be the Son of man is also the Son of God. Let us believe not only that he shared our nature but also that he was consubstantial with the Father; for as a man he was present at the wedding, and as God he changed the water into wine. If such is our faith, the Lord will give us also to drink of the sobering wine of his grace.