Today the Church commemorates the third mystery of Epiphany, as she proclaims in the Gospel the account of the Wedding Feast at Cana. Here Jesus’s Divinity is manifest in the first of His miracles, as He changes water into the best wine.
The Church’s tradition has always used nuptial language in the Epiphany liturgies because this first miracle of the Lord takes place at a wedding. He is revealed as the Divine Bridegroom, Who has come to this world to claim His Bride, the Church, composed, at least potentially, of all men. This nuptial miracle is worked through the intercession of the New Eve, the Blessed Virgin Mary, God’s Bride, whose consent to the marriage of God and man was besought, as St. Thomas teaches, on behalf of the entire human nature. Thus, the New Adam and the New Eve manifest at Cana the new wine of the new covenant of divine life to which we are all called. What glorious mysteries!
It is a source of great honor and dignity for Catholics in the married state that Christ attended a marriage (the Author of marriage attends a wedding!) and chose a wedding feast for the first of His miracles. Indeed, Christ is symbolically indicating the sacramentality of Christian marriage at Cana, as He takes water (natural marriage) and elevates it to a higher level of being by transforming it into wine (sacramental marriage). This new wine will be capable of signifying His own Marriage to the Church, which is itself indicated by the presence of the Divine Bridegroom and the New Eve.
Our Blessed Mother’s words – her final words recorded in Scripture – are particularly poignant considered as a kind of loving word of counsel to Catholic married couples: “Do whatever He tells you.” It is as if she is saying to our families: “Trust in Him. He is your Bridegroom. He is your God. He is my Son. He is the Author of Marriage and has promulgated its laws. Follow them. Do what He tells you. Lay down your lives for each other on the Cross. Shun all selfishness and lust. Send away any pride or stubbornness. Be generous. Keep His commandments always. Receive children generously. Never defile your marriage by unspeakable evils that separate love from childbearing and make a mockery of God. Keep yourselves holy and pure. Die on the life-giving Cross. Do whatever He tells you because He loves you.”
Mary, Mother of the Church, New Eve, Glorious Bride of God, Resplendent at Cana, pray for all Catholic married couples. Pray also for the healing of marriage and family in our culture, so ravaged by lust, contraception, mortally-sinful entertainment, and divorce. Keep us all in your Immaculate Heart, revealed at the Wedding Feast at Cana. Amen.
Fr. Joseph Previtali