Reflections on the Readings for Sunday 20 January 2013
Isaiah 62:1-5; Psalm 96:1-3, 7-10; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; John 2:1-11
Jesus came to bring us life in all its fullness. How appropriate then that St John chooses the story of the wedding in Cana as the first of the stories of Jesus’ works. Jesus takes water, the drink of everyday life and the means of ritual purification, and turns it into wine, the drink of joyous celebration.
The prophets had spoken of the age of restoration – when God would come to the aid of God’s people and be experienced in their midst – in terms of a wedding banquet. The people of God who felt themselves forsaken and ignored by God would once again know themselves to be the beloved community in intimate relationship with God. In Jesus, these hopes are being realised.
St John calls the miracles ‘signs’ because they point to the reality of who Jesus is and what he has come to do. Psalm 96 exhorts God’s people to proclaim God’s glory. I wonder … when the disciples begin to see Jesus’ glory in his actions at Cana and to believe in him, do they see the miracle worker, or the lover? Are they struck by his power, or by his invitation to celebrate?
When Paul describes the gifts of the Spirit to his Corinthian audience, he is doing it for a very specific purpose. He’s trying to move them out of their competitive, divisive frame of mind and relational style to the point where they realise that all the different manifestations of giftedness and power and ability are there for one purpose, to build up the whole community in love. Whether it is Mary prodding her son to act, Jesus instructing the servants, the servants pouring the water, the steward presenting the cup to the host or the host sharing it among the guests, in and through it all God is reaching out, inviting everyone to life and to love.