Christ, Our Light
Reflection on John 2:1-12
“Simon! James!” Andrew interrupts a conversation, raising his voice a little to be heard above the music. “Something’s going on...over there by the water jars.”
They watch for a minute as Jesus and Mary, with two servers next to them, have what appears to be a serious conversation. “Let’s go see what’s happening. Maybe we can help,” Simon responds.
“John, Philip, Nathanael,” James gets the attention of the other disciples and beckons to them to come along.
They join Jesus and His Mother in time to catch wind of the problem: the wine for this marriage feast has just run out. This portends a swift end to the banquet and to the joy and honor of the newlyweds.
Mary fixes her gaze on the worried servers. “Do whatever He tells you,” she says.
They will do anything to help save the day, so, although refilling the washing jars with water doesn’t seem the most practical thing to do, they draw and pour the water anyway.
They fill the vessels to the brim.
Jesus’ disciples are there to see the miracle: water suddenly become wine, the finest wine. “He truly is the Messiah!” Nathanael exclaims.
Meanwhile, John is thinking over Mary’s words. “‘Do whatever He tells you,’ he muses. “I have to remember that. Do whatever He tells you.”
* * *
This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him (Jn. 2:11).
In the midst of the luminous mysteries, we ponder this event—Jesus’ self-manifestation at the wedding of Cana. It is, as are all of the mysteries of light, a moment of unveiling, as if a door in the night is opened to let a brilliant shaft of light shine out. “Each of these mysteries is a revelation of the Kingdom now present in the very person of Jesus,” wrote St. John Paul II in his apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae. Pope St. John Paul II gave us the luminous mysteries in 2002, the Year of the Rosary. And what a treasure they are...a way to contemplate Jesus’ public ministry in the prayer of the Rosary, filling out the Rosary, in a sense, so that it is “more fully a ‘compendium of the Gospel’” (RVM 19). We meditate upon Jesus’ Baptism, when He, the sinless One, descends into the waters, the heavens open and the Holy Spirit comes down upon Him, and the Father declares, “This is My Beloved Son”—revealing Jesus as the Christ, the Anointed One. And then this moment at Cana, when His disciples see the first of Our Lord’s signs and believe in Him. We consider Our Lord’s proclamation of the Kingdom and the call to conversion, reflecting upon Jesus, the Good Shepherd Who calls His lost sheep and offers them (us) mercy, then the Transfiguration, where His divinity shines out upon the mountain-top. At last, we come to the tremendous gift of Himself at the Institution of the Eucharist—here He shows us His great love and His desire to remain with us through His self-gift in the Blessed Sacrament. In each mystery, the person and mission of Our Redeemer is illumined. Yet, there is always more to ponder, and Mary is at our side to help us. St. John Paul II said: “In these mysteries, apart from the miracle at Cana, the presence of Mary remains in the background.... Yet the role she assumed at Cana in some way accompanies Christ throughout his ministry.... ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ This counsel is a fitting introduction to the words and signs of Christ’s public ministry and it forms the Marian foundation of all the ‘mysteries of light’” (RVM 21).
With Our Lady to guide us, let us pray these treasured luminous mysteries with openness of heart, that in turn we may reflect Christ’s light in the world. Certainly, we will be all the brighter, the more we heed Mary’s words, “Do whatever He tells you.” And this will glorify the Father, as Jesus says: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 5:16).
The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned. (Mt. 4:16)
Sr. Cecilia Francis, CFR