In the marriage act, love is triune: wife gives self to husband and husband to self and out of that mutual self-giving is born the ecstasy of love. The spirit too must have its ecstasy. What the union of husband and wife is in the order of the flesh, the union of the human and the Risen Christ is in Holy Communion
Fulton J. Sheen Those Mysterious Priests, 1974: 157
The Prophet Isaiah in this morning’s first reading looks forward to a a messianic future, a future which finds its fulfilment in the person of Jesus Christ. He uses the language of a wedding, between a man and a woman to express the joy between God and his people, Israel, and by extension, with the church, a new Israel and the fulfilment of prophesy. Though we live in a highly sexualised culture we can still find this imagery strange, and yet it speaks of deep love and joy: the kind which holds nothing back, the complete union, shown to us above all in the passion and death of Our Saviour Jesus Christ. As husband and wife are united in one flesh, we have come so that we may be fed, be fed by Christ, be fed with Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit God is active in our lives, transforming us, by his grace, so that our human nature may be transformed, into His Divine nature.
If we were to listen to the many voices around us which criticise Christianity, we would think that we were of all people the most pitiable, ours is either a weak death-cult of a failed Jewish magician and wonderworker, or a strange oppressive force which actively works against human flourishing and actualisation.
Nothing could be further from the truth, as our vocation as Christians is JOY. The one whom we worship liked nothing better than to hang around at parties with social undesirables, and was accused of being a drunkard. Most of us have outside our houses one or two wheelie bins, which hold about 30 gallons, or 150 litres, or 200 bottles of wine. Multiply that by 6 and you’re looking at 1,200 bottles of wine, a hundred cases, and this after the wine ran out, what we’re dealing with in the wedding at Cana must have been some party, and it is only a foreshadowing of the joy of the Kingdom, it points to something greater than itself.
Our starting point as Christians is Mary’s advice to the servants: Do whatever He tells you. Our life is rooted in obedience: we listen to God and we obey, for our own good, and the good of the Kingdom, so that we are not conformed to the world and its ways, but rather to the will of God, so that we can truly enter into the joy of the Lord, in humble obedience, fed by Him, and fed with Him, who died for love of us in obedience to the will of the Father.
The world around us struggles somewhat with extravagance, and rightly so: when we see Arabian oil magnates riding around in gold-plated supercars we are right to be concerned, yet in the Gospel we see something strange. The steward had a point: you serve the best wine first, while people are sober and can appreciate it, but the Kingdom of God turns human values on their head – the joyous new wine of the Kingdom is finer than any human wine and is lavished upon undeserving humanity, so that it might transform us, so that we might come to share in the glory of God, and his very nature. Thus, at the Epiphany we celebrate three feasts: Our Lord’s manifestation to the Gentiles, the proclamation of the Messiah to the whole world, his baptism, to show us the way to the Father, a sign of love and obedience, and the Wedding Feast at Cana, as a sign of the superabundance of God’s love, shown to us here today in the Eucharist where we drink the wine of the Kingdom the Blood of Christ so that we may be transformed by the power and the grace of God, so that we may share his Divine life, and encourage others to enter into the joy of the Lord.