All of you, I’m sure, have been to weddings. They are happy occasions and we want the best for the couple starting out on their journey. We try and provide them with gifts to help them establish their new home. Older people try to pass on some wisdom to the bride and groom, to help them on their way. Just like at a child’s first Communion, you would never want them to be embarrassed. Once in a while you may have come across a wedding where something went wrong and the bride and groom were embarrassed and it’s awful. It is a day which should be as perfect as possible.
Mediterranean weddings during the time of Christ would have lasted about a week and have involved the whole village. Who would want their wedding to be remembered for the one that ran out of wine, the sign of celebration. It would be considered a bad omen.
Mary the mother of Jesus, becomes aware of the problem and points it out to Jesus. She intercedes for the couple, just as she intercedes for us. Would Jesus refuse something asked by his mother? He didn’t refuse her request on this occasion either, even though he objected that this was not the time for his public ministry to begin. That is one of the reasons why we continually turn to Mary for help, because we know that she is looking out for us.
In the bible, wine is a sign of God’s blessing, a sign of celebration, a sign of happiness. What is amazing is the amount of wine that Jesus made. 6 stone water jars containing 20 to 30 gallons amounts to almost 1,000 bottles of wine. Even for a big wedding that is an awful lot of wine. What is this telling us? It tells us that not only is God with us in the ordinary things of life, but that God wants to bless us lavishly, with great abundance, not just to give us what we need, but far more.
Generally, when we pray for our needs, we hope that God will answer us, although we often wonder if He will. Does God even hear us when we pray? That is question that many people ask. From what the Lord tells us through the Scriptures, He assures us that He always answers us. ‘Ask and it shall be given to you. Knock and the door shall be opened to you. Seek and you shall find’ (Matt 7:7). He doesn’t say ‘Ask and it might be given to you.’
In another parable Jesus tells us to pray for what we need to the point of annoyance (Luke 18:1-8). He uses the story of the unjust judge, who fears neither God nor man. But a widow keeps demanding her rights. It says that initially he refuses, but in the end the judge gave her what she asked simply because she was wearing him down. And Jesus says, that is how we should pray. We should pray to the point of annoyance.
Then we go back to the miracle of water and wine at Cana. Not only did God come to the couple’s rescue, but he did so with outlandish generosity. The Lord is telling us the same thing. Keep asking for what you need and God will answer you and with great generosity. We may not always recognize the answer given, or it may not be the answer we hoped for, but God always answers when we ask.