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After I was ordained, I presided at a wedding and the couple insisted that I go to their reception. Naturally, I didn’t know anyone there except the bride and the groom. I couldn’t hang out with them because they were busy. I sat at a table with people whom I met for the first time. After they had had a few, they asked me, “Why can’t priests get married?” I was going to answer the question, but one hundred decibels of the Village People filled the hall and I was unable to be heard. Once the music started, everyone left my table to go to the dance floor. So there I was sitting at the table alone asking myself: “What am I doing here?”
So my question is this: “What is Jesus doing at a wedding? Doesn’t He have something more important to do, like save the world? Why begin his ministry of salvation at a wedding?” Jesus is at the wedding because He is the groom. How do we know this? It is the groom’s job to provide the wine at the wedding. The mother of Jesus goes to Him because He is the groom and it is His job to supply the wine. In the very following chapter, John the Baptist tells us that he is very happy to listen to the voice of the groom. In the next chapter, Jesus meets a Samaritan woman with marital issues at a well where Jacob and the other patriarchs had met their wives. So the woman met the groom at the well and discussed fidelity, the super glue to a union between two people.
So now we know that Jesus is the groom. Our next question is. Why would Jesus want to get married? Answer: to have a family. God wants children. The marriage at Cana is a message to us that we are part of the royal divine family. You receive special privileges when you are in this family.
I think at one point in our lives we were bullied. It is the worst feeling. People put you down to make themselves look good. Public shaming is awful. You are humiliated in front of all the people whom you like. The most dangerous person in the world is the one who believes that there is no love for him. They have nothing to lose. The message today from the wedding of Cana is the opposite. We have everything to lose. We are part of a family with privileges. And lots of them.
One day Jesus was in the synagogue on the Sabbath. He saw a woman who was hunched over for eighteen years. Think about that! For eighteen years she has not held a baby; for eighteen years she has not held a job or made a significant impact on society; for eighteen years she has not had a good night’s sleep. After eighteen years of suffering, a synagogue leader had told her to come another day to be cured, but not on the Sabbath. Interesting.
Let’s say this same synagogue leader would have walked up to get one of the scrolls for the service, and had slipped on a banana peel. He had twisted his leg and broken it. “Oh, my leg hurts,” he cries out. Then Jesus would start to walk toward him as the leader who was writhing in pain. Do you think the synagogue leader would stop Jesus from healing him because it was the Sabbath.? Of course not! There was an exception to the rule in his case because he was important: a synagogue leader. “It’s okay everyone; there are loopholes. It’s okay.” So when Jesus saw this woman who was not regarded as very important, He called her a daughter of Abraham. Jesus made her more important than the queen of Egypt. She was certainly more important than a synagogue leader. Special privileges! So what is the faith message today? We cannot have a deep relationship with God and low self-esteem. We need to be convinced that God sent His son to have a family. In this family there are privileges. You will not be able to do great things if you do not believe that you have been given special powers to do things you normally would not be able to do. I am connected to God and that gives me every opportunity to make the best.Back to All Homilies