Each one, as a good manager of God's different gifts, must use for the good of others the special gift he has received from God. (1 Peter 4:10)

Water to Wine, and Pouring

The chapel at my local parish where weekday morning Mass is offered has a wonderful mosaic behind the altar. The mosaic depicts the wedding at Cana, with Mary on the left, Jesus on the right, and the bride and groom behind a table between them. In front of the table are several tall jugs, and a servant is pouring wine from one of them. Below the mosaic is the legend, “Do Whatever He Tells You.”

I often sit there before Mass and reflect on that mosaic. There is much symbolism in it, even in the three X-shaped fasteners on the draperies behind the wedding table, which often lead me into meditation on the mystery of the Holy Trinity — each is a complete X on its own, and the three X’s together are a single thing. And other mornings, the words below the mosaic help me get my mind and heart and soul into listening for the promptings of each Person of the Trinity to guide me through my day. I think of the Father leaning down to remind me that He made me out of love, and it’s that love that must go from me into the world; then I reflect on the Son’s call to follow Him; and I think finally of the many ways the Holy Spirit prompts me throughout the day.

Most days, I am led by those reflections right into the Mass, and my mind is thus awakened to the beauty of the prayers and gifts that follow.

Recently, though, with my mind so taken up with thoughts of how God calls me to change, my attention has been drawn to those tall jugs, and the servant pouring out the wine. Everyone remembers the story: The wedding feast is in full swing, and somehow the wine is running short. Jesus and His Mother are guests, and we see that Mary knows something about Jesus’ mission here, because she comes to tell Him about it. He responds rather offhandedly, but she knows, as only a mother can know, that the time has come, and she tells the servants to do whatever He instructs. Jesus confirms His Mother’s instinct by telling the servants to fill six large jugs with water and pour it out to serve the guests. They must have been skeptical, but they followed His instructions, and the wine that poured from the jugs prompted amazement among the guests — after all, what host keeps the best wine for later in the party when everyone has already indulged?

It’s Jesus’ first miracle, the first “big splash” of His public ministry, the first step, really, on the long road to that cross on the hill at Golgotha. The story is full of rich symbolism, and it has fueled many homilies and profound writings about marriage as well as about obeying God.

But for me, on this particular day, the image and words before resonated on a different note. I began to reflect, as I often do, putting myself into the picture and imagining the events as if I were there, thinking of myself in the role of a servant, a guest, even the host or the bride or the groom. And I realized that what I really wanted to be was the water in those talls jugs!

I wanted to be the water. I wanted to be the substance that Jesus changed, utterly and profoundly in its very nature, into what was needed at that very moment for the wedding party and their guests. I wanted to be the water that Jesus changed, and I wanted to be the wine that he created from that change, and like the wine, I wanted to be poured out. I thought about how pouring out the wine that Jesus made had created joy and relieved stress for the host of the wedding feast and had created happiness and joy for the guests; and it seemed to me that being like that water-into-wine was a marvelous way to carry God’s love into the world.

This desire has wound its way into my daily prayers and meditations. I feel myself awakening more and more to the ways in which God calls and prompts me to change — to make of myself a better servant of His will, to grow in this loving and very personal relationship He offers.

Make me like the water at Cana, Lord. Change me at the very heart of myself, and like the water-become-wine, pour me out in service to Your people. 

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: