Human occasion displays God’s love

By | January 16, 2013

“There was a wedding …” Picture the excitement, the preparations. The daughter of some friends of ours was married recently. The church and reception hall had been reserved for months; shower and wedding invitations mailed; china and silver patterns registered; final dress and tuxedo fittings scheduled; photographer and caterer hired. It was an exciting time for everyone involved. And all because one young woman and one young man wished to declare publicly that they loved each other so much that they were prepared to commit themselves to one another for the rest of their lives.

It was in precisely this setting that Jesus chose to perform his first public miracle. He could have chosen to spin the sun or to call down fire. Spinning the sun and calling down fire would surely have pointed to the power and glory of God. But Jesus did not choose to point to God’s power.

Mary and Jesus were guests at the wedding. Mary noticed the problem first. The wine had run out. The couple would be embarrassed, the guests disappointed, the party ruined. Could Jesus help? “… how does your concern affect me?” Of what concern is the wedding of two very ordinary people (we aren’t even told their names) in a very ordinary town in Galilee to the God of heaven and earth? And then it happened. A celebration of human love and commitment became the occasion for the first public miracle of the beloved Son.

The prophet, Isaiah, uses wedding imagery to reflect the relationship between God and Jerusalem. “… you shall be called ‘My Delight,’ … for the Lord delights in you … as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride…” On her wedding day the bride’s face said it all. There was no question that her groom is her delight, as she is his. They have committed themselves to one another and declared their love publicly. Perhaps this is why Jesus chose this human occasion to image God’s love for us, not by spinning the sun in the sky but in the committed love of husband and wife right here on earth.

Questions for reflection

1. In what ordinary places do we find images of God’s love for us?

2. Do we believe that God is present even when we cannot see God?

3. How can we become more aware of God’s presence in the ordinary events of our lives?

 

Van Benthem is pastoral associate at St. Raphael the Archangel Parish, Oshkosh, and a writer, poet and spiritual director.

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