There is much worthy of reflecting upon in today’s gospel (Jn. 2:1-11) which gives the account of our Lord’s first public miracle – the turning of water into wine and the wedding in Cana. We can see in the image of the couple running out of wine on their wedding day a symbol of the ending of the Old Covenant and the freshness of the New Covenant beginning with our Lord turning water into wine. We can see in Mary’s noticing of the wine running short a concern for the young (and probably poor) couple who will soon be greatly embarrassed by not being able to provide for their guests. The first step of true mercy is noticing needs and not being indifferent toward others in their plight. This is a good witness Mary gives us during this Year of Mercy.
What I was struck by in praying over this gospel passage was the depth of the relationship (and this word is important) between Jesus and his mother. Mary does not even need to ask. She knows her son and even if she does not know fully how everything will play out she knows who he is and why he has come. “They have no wine,” is all that she needs to say. Our Lord knows what she is implying, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” Our Lord acknowledges the truth of Mary’s concern and for a brief instant we are invited into this amazing and profound exchange between the sacred heart of Christ and the immaculate heart of Mary. Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman had a phrase regarding the true place and moment of encounter and conversion in life: “Heart speaks to Heart”. “Fill the jars with water,” Mary responds. Jesus, who is God made man, acquiesces; “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” The water is turned into wine which nourishes and refreshes!
Heart can only speak to heart in the willingness to enter into relationship. New life (and even miracles) can occur only when we let go of isolation and fear.
When St. Francis began the great spiritual journey of his life he made a simple prayer to God for an “honest faith”. Part of having an “honest faith” is to live a personal relationship with Christ. We can relate to Christ in a multitude of ways but that does not make them fully honest and therefore life-giving. I can see Christ as a great human being worthy of admiration or a wise teacher whose lessons are worthy of my attention and learning. I can see Christ as the authentic human person. I can see Christ as a means to my personal well-being. There might be some truth to these viewpoints of Christ but they all fall short both of honest relationship and of who Christ is.
Christ is savior. This is the honest faith of the Christian and it is the most profound relationship any of us can have with Christ. When we know Christ as savior then we know him as the one who saves us from sin and death and the one who calls us to follow him wholeheartedly. Christ is savior and this is truth – pure and simple.
Faith can be life giving and even transformative only when it is lived in relationship with Christ. Ideas of Christ might be interesting and even satisfy for a time but it is only relationship with Christ that turns water into wine. Mary witnesses this for us. Heart speaks to heart.
We should all learn from St. Francis and pray for an “honest faith” – a faith willing to let heart speak to heart. Our hearts to the heart of our Savior and his sacred heart to our little hearts.