From the Desk of Father Davis
In the second chapter of John’s Gospel we hear that “there was a wedding at Cana; and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had likewise been invited to the wedding.”
Among the highlights of our five Holy Land pilgrimages (so far) has been a visit to the church of the Wedding at Cana. All of the married couples who have traveled with me to Israel on these occasions have been thrilled to renew their marriage vows in the very place where our Lord did his first miracle in the context of a wedding reception in the quaint town of Cana of Galilee. When we visit this holy place, I have the custom of having all the married couples line up in a semi-circular pattern at the entrance to the sanctuary which marks the spot of this event of Gospel fame. They join hands; look into each other’s eyes lovingly, and renew their own matrimonial covenant with one another, using the same vows they embraced years previous. Numerous couples accompany me on this journey to the Holy Land and Cana precisely because of their own proximate wedding anniversaries. Beautiful, indeed, it has been to commemorate such an important personal occasion in such a historical and spiritually significant place. It is always a tender and dear moment for each of them, not to mention for all of us who witness the occasion and see it unfold in real time! Just as Jesus, by his presence, blessed the young Jewish couple who were married at Cana in the times long ago, so too our Lord blesses these married couples who journey to Cana with such love in their hearts for one another, and zeal for the Lord. After our brief ceremony, the Franciscan Fathers, who are custodians of this special church, make available “wedding certificates,” as mementos of the experience of renewing their marriage vows at Cana. It is always an honor for me to sign these certificates, marking this important milestone in their lives. We, then, happily go across the street to a nearby Christian tourist center to sample some “Cana Wine” to help mark the joy of the occasion.
As Catholic believers in Christ, we all now journey through the liturgical season called “Ordinary Time.” In this context it would be opportune for us to capture again the spiritual sense our own journey through life, the deep meaning of our own holy vocations, a profound renewal of our own commitments to Christ and to one another, and to appreciate again the beauty and joy that come from the blessings of Christ in our daily walk of faith. We can surely live our lives in the festive spirit of the wedding of Cana, by partaking of the free flowing “choice wine” that is surely the grace of Christ which daily enriches our lives through prayer, devotion, sacraments, and faith-inspired charity and service, if we but partake of his offer of friendship and life.
In this quest, I always take great comfort along the journey of life, with its up and downs, with its difficulties and harsh realities, that the Blessed Mother is also part of the story. While present at the Wedding at Cana, in her charity, she demonstrated great sensitivity to the feelings and needs of the young newly married couple. She demonstrated concern for details, not to mention tender delicacy in handling situations. All of this lead her to occasion Jesus’ first miracle, launching him into his formal public ministry. Mary, Mother of Christ our life, is just as concerned for all of us, the friends of her Son. As our heavenly Mother already in glory, her powerful intercession and motherly care extends to all the members of Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church. She is the Mother of Jesus; the Mother of the Church; and our Mother too! As such, we have every reason to be confident as we journey forth along our pilgrim way toward Heaven with Mary by our side, interceding with her Son.
As his contemporary disciples, may we recommit ourselves today to Jesus, who accompanies us in our comings and goings, and with Mary’s help, come to enjoy the “choice wine” of Christ’s grace in our lives.