All invited to the feast

By | January 16, 2013

Who doesn’t love a wedding?

Flowers, music, dancing, fancy clothes and presents.

Even though we have left Christmas behind and return to ordinary time this week, there is still a celebration going on.

The first reading from Isaiah speaks of crowns and diadems and of the Lord rejoicing over Jerusalem as his “espoused” and “bride.”

The second reading from Paul speaks about the plentiful gifts given to us by the Spirit.

And, of course, the Gospel is the story of the wedding at Cana.

Yet think of how many times the wedding theme appears at Mass, not just this week, but every week.

There’s water for washing — just as there was at Cana in those big stone jars. We have such water both as we come into church and pass the baptismal font and as the priest washes his hands before the consecration of the gifts.

Then there are those terms of endearment. When we dip our fingers in the font, we remember our own baptism, when God called us and gave us our names by which he delights in us. And, at each Mass, we hear ourselves called to God’s side as his chosen ones with the words “blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.”

In the music at Mass, we hear joyful echoes of wedding songs and the song of the Lord who calls the church his bride. In the Eucharist, Jesus gives his life for that church, just as a bridegroom gives his life to his bride. And just as the bride comes joyfully to her groom, so we give ourselves to God.

The wedding wine at Cana was “the good wine” kept for the last. There actually is a wedding wine at Cana in Israel today. It can be found at shops near the church where tradition says today’s Gospel took place. I’ve been to Cana and tasted its wine. It’s a thick, sweet, deep red wine. It reminded me of sunny fields and a rich harvest.

Yet, each time we receive the Eucharist, we receive a wine far above the wine of Cana. And we receive it with songs, walking in procession just as those in a wedding party walk with the bride to meet the groom.

So even though it’s ordinary time on the calendar, there is never anything ordinary about the Mass. It’s a wedding feast to which God invites us.


Kasten is an associate editor of The Compass and the author of “Linking Your Beads: The Rosary’s History, Mysteries and Prayers.”

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