THEME: MARRIAGE – PROFOUND VALUE IN CHRIST
READINGS: Isaiah 62:1-5/ 1Cor.12: 4-11/ John 2:1-11
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Marriage for the Christian has a value which goes beyond the social event we celebrate on a wedding day. Indeed it has a value that is more profound than a man and a woman living together for life. This is a message that the wedding at Cana, in Galilee (John 2:1-11) inspires. By transforming water into wine our Lord Jesus Christ calls our attention to the spiritual transformation that takes place when a Christian man and Christian woman celebrate their commitment of love and life on the day of their Holy Matrimony. This means that the ‘wedding’ is not a mere social event of the gathering of family, friends, church members and the priest to witness the exchange of ‘vows’ [consent] by the couple. More than that, the gathering involves Jesus, Mother Mary and the saints [disciples of Jesus] in glory, as was in the case of the wedding at Cana. And it is Jesus who, through the power of the Holy Spirit, transforms the two (water) into one (wine).
In the power of the same Holy Spirit, the couple now transformed in Christ are to live out the new value of oneness in love in their daily lives. How? Let us pick out a few lessons from that fact Jesus used water at the wedding at Cana. Actually, Jesus could have provided wine without asking for some water. But since he asked for water, it means that for every couple to continue enjoying the miracle of transformation, they have to offer Jesus something. To know what to offer Jesus, let us consider the uses and characteristics of water.
Secondly, since six (6) stone jars were filled with water at the wedding at Cana, I will limit myself to six brief lessons: three (3) from the uses of water and three (3) from the characteristics of water.
USES OF WATER
The three uses of water we shall consider are:
- For drinking
- For cooking and,
- For washing
a. DRINKING: We may take various types of drink (beer, wine, coke, etc), but our thirst may not be quenched or satisfied. For most of us, only water really satisfies our thirst. Water, therefore, signifies satisfaction.
So as long as a husband and the wife (in view of their faith) satisfy each other’s genuine spiritual, emotional, material, social, financial and intimacy needs, they are offering Jesus some water to transform into the joy (wine) of marriage.
b. COOKING: many marriages, particularly African marriages, cannot survive if meals are often taken outside the home.
Jesus did not ask for any extraordinary thing in order to provide the couple at Cana with wine. He asked for ordinary water. Similarly, when a husband and the wife perform their ordinary duties of providing “chop-money” and cooking, Jesus brings contentment in the marriage.
c. FOR WASHING: Water is used for washing and in baptism it signifies the cleansing of our sins. In other words, water signifies forgiveness. Similarly, anytime a wife and the husband forgive each other, they offer Jesus the water of marriage which he transforms into a long lasting union.
CHARACTERISTICS OF WATER
The three characteristics of water we shall consider here are:
- It is colourless;
- It is shapeless;
- It is tasteless.
a. COLOURLESS: That water is colourless means that it may signify transparency or honesty.
A wife and the husband should, therefore, be emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and financially transparent to each other. When they do this, Jesus will transform the colourless water of their marriage into mutual trustworthiness. And such trustworthiness gives a sweet wine taste to their marriage. On the other hand, when one discovers that his or her partner is dishonest or unfaithful, it brings bitterness in the union.
b. SHAPELESS: Water is shapeless; it takes the shape of its container. This means that water signifies flexibility or adjustment. When, for example, a wife’s ‘shape’ changes with time (for instance, due to child-birth), her husband should also make the necessary adjustments. On the other hand, if at a point in time, the husband is without a job, his wife should also adjust to the new situation. When they both learn to adjust, Jesus transforms the shapeless water of their marriage into the sweet wine of marriage.
c. TASTELESS: The tastelessness of marriage signify those ordinary moment of the marriage when there are no excitements, as well as, the familiarity that soon creeps into marriage a few months or years after the wedding.
When husband and wife do not allow boredom to lead them to look for excitement in a third person, when they do not allow familiarity of each other to breed contempt, Jesus transforms the tasteless water of their marriage into the sweet wine of steadfast love.
I would like to conclude with a prayer for all couples: may you always endeavour to provide Jesus with the water of your marriage and when you do so,
- May he transform your water of satisfaction into the wine of joy in your marriage, AMEN!
- May he transform your water of cooking into the wine of contentment and good health, AMEN!
- May he transform your water of forgiveness into the wine of a long lasting marriage that only death can separate, AMEN!
- May he transform your colourless water into the wine of trustworthiness and faithfulness, AMEN!
- May he transform your shapeless water into the wine of fruitfulness of the womb and prosperity, AMEN!
- May he transform your tasteless water into the sweet wine of steadfast love, AMEN!!
By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis