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Jaime L. WatersDecember 16, 2021
Photo from Unsplash.

The Gospel of John includes several unique traditions about Jesus’ life and ministry. Today’s Gospel account of the Wedding Feast at Cana is one such example.

“How does your concern affect me?” (Jn 2:4)

Liturgical day
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
Readings
Is 62:1-5; Ps 96; 1 Cor 12:4-11; Jn 2:1-11
Prayer

How can you better respond to the needs of the world?

What can you do to emulate Jesus in your daily life?

Do you ask for help when needed?

The first miracles in the Synoptic tradition involve Jesus physically healing a person’s body. In Mark and Luke, Jesus heals a man with an unclean spirit, and in Matthew, Jesus heals a man with a skin disease. In John, Jesus’s first miracle is to change water into wine to benefit a newlywed couple and their wedding guests.

During the wedding festivities, Mary becomes aware that the couple had run out of wine. She tells Jesus of their predicament, wanting him to respond to their need. Jesus’ response, however, is somewhat cold and dismissive. In the Lectionary (drawn from the NAB), we hear Jesus’ response as, “How does your concern affect me?” The nuance of the idiom can be translated in multiple ways, such as “What is it to me and to you?” (Gk. Ti emoi kai soi). Other translations nuance the question in different ways: What concern is that to you and to me? (NRSV); Why do you involve me? (NIV); What does your concern have to do with me? (NKJV). Jesus’ question suggests his disinterest in the situation, perhaps not considering a lack of wine as a pressing matter. Moreover, Jesus’ follow-up statement—“My hour has not yet come”—suggests that he does not think it is time for him to reveal his power. 

Mary recognizes that Jesus can and should help the couple in need, so she informs the servants to listen to Jesus. Ultimately, he instructs the servants to fill stone jars with water, and when the steward tasted the water, it had become wine. By performing this sign, Jesus “revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.” Through miracles, Jesus not only helped people in need, but he revealed himself to the world and gained followers. 

What can we learn from this story? Like the other miracles in the Gospels, this miracle is a manifestation of divine power which attests to Jesus’ mission and identity, drawing followers to him. Beyond this purpose, Jesus also models care for the needs of others. Jesus’ initial reaction mirrors how many of us respond to people in need, showing a lack of interest in solving someone else’s problem, especially a problem that is somewhat superficial and not life-threatening. Nonetheless, Jesus eventually steps in to assist the couple, offering a wine that was even higher quality than what had originally been provided. Jesus’ miracle reminds us that even if we are not directly impacted or even responsible, if we can help, we should help people in need. This miracle is a reminder to be empathetic and concerned about people other than ourselves.

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