Saturday, October 13, 2007

2nd Luminous Mystery: The Wedding Feast at Cana

Nobody can see me in this corner. It is dark and I am well-hidden. A servant is not allowed to draw a cup of wine from the store meant to supply the needs of the family and the guests at the wedding. But I have to take that risk. It is not that I am thirsty, although I actually need a drink after all the work I have done in this heat. The real reason for my secrecy and taking wine for myself is because I am confused.
I myself saw that the wine was insufficient, especially with the larger than usual crowd. There are no formal invitations for a wedding: anybody and everybody can join the party. It was just that too many turned up and the food and wine, although abundant, was simply not enough for such a large number of people.

A middle-aged woman, a relative of one of the bridal couple…I’m not sure whether of the bride or the groom… noticed my worried look as I returned from the earthenware jars used to hold the wine for the feast. She had been acting as a sort-of unofficial overseer, making sure that the wedding celebrations passed off smoothly, so it was natural that she should notice the concerns of the servants who were distributing the food and drink. She was really a lovely person: very simple and understanding. She was married to the carpenter from Nazareth, I heard, but he died some time ago.

The woman saw me and asked what the problem was that I had discovered. She was deeply concerned when I told her because to run out of wine would be a terrible disgrace that would haunt the early days of the marriage. I can just imagine it even years down the road. People would pretend it was something amusing and would say, “Do you remember when…?” and would laugh at the discomfiture of the couple and their families. People can be very cruel, but I could see that the woman had exactly the same thoughts that had passed through my own mind. She was not wealthy, so there was very little that she could do. There was no way in which she could have paid for a new supply to rectify the deficit.

She turned away and moved across the throng at the feast, towards a young man at the far side of the crowd. He was obviously her son because of the way in which she spoke to him. What their words were, I do not know. I was too far away to hear. I do know that she suddenly came hurrying across in my direction, bidding the other servants to approach. “Do whatever he tells you,” was all she said.

A few minutes later, the son came to us. “Fill the jars with water and take some to the Master of the Feast.” What a stupid thing to say! Surely the Master of the Feast would recognise water when he tasted it!

…but he did not recognise the water. That is the amazing thing. He praised the quality of the wine. Yet I had poured water into those jars. I did not put wine there. How could water become wine? Was the Master of the Feast drunk or hallucinating?

That is why I quietly took a cup of water so that I could taste it myself. I am astounded. Where I had put water has become wine! How? Why?

Who was this young man? How could he turn water into wine?
God bless,
Sr. Janet