Tag Archives: miracles of Jesus

Second Sunday C: A Wedding at Cana in Galilee

 

To listen to today’s homily, select the audio below:

Cana and Nazareth, two small towns in Galilee, a mile or so apart, play a large role in Jesus’ early life and the beginning of his mission. They weren’t thought much of in Jesus’ day. Nathaniel’s remark, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” applies to Cana too.

Nazareth was situated on top of a mountain in upper Galilee; Cana was down closer to the plain of Esdraelon. The couple whose wedding Jesus and his mother attended likely came from a farm family, perhaps they were relations, perhaps only friends. It was a small town wedding. That’s all.

Yet, John’s gospel calls the miracle Jesus performed there, turning water into wine, the first “sign” of the promised kingdom to come. (John 2, 1-12) In John’s gospel “signs” are usually big miracles, like the raising of Lazarus from the dead or the cure of the man born blind. The miracle of water turned into wine doesn’t seem to measure up to signs like that.

What would have happened at Cana if there were no miracle that day? Well, there would be a family embarrassment, of course, but it would soon be forgotten.

Yet, this is the first sign of God’s kingdom coming, John says, and it happens in a small town for a couple whose names we don’t know. Could the miracle worked in Cana be a sign of God’s great love for nameless places like that and unknown people like them everywhere?

God loves everyplace, everything, everybody, small though they may be. God delights in the Canas of this world and the people living in them. Jesus not only gifted the wedding with wine but stayed for the feast.

Our reading from Isaiah today describes God as a bridegroom taking lowly Israel as a bride:

“No more shall men call you ‘Forsaken’

or your land ‘desolate’.

But you shall be called ‘ My delight’

and your land ‘espoused’

for the Lord delights in you

and makes your land his spouse.

As a young man marries a virgin,

your builder shall marry you,

and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride

so shall your God rejoice in you.”

 

Words fulfilled when Jesus came to the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee. His first sign.

The Finger of God

Lk 11:14-23

Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute,

and when the demon had gone out,

the mute man spoke and the crowds were amazed.
Some of them said, “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons.”
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself,
how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

(thursday, 3rd week of lent)

Talk of devils and demons and the miracles of God, so common in the bible, sounds strange to people today, especially in the western world. We prefer seeing other forces at work when something remarkable happens, as it did to the man who couldn’t speak. Some natural cause was at work–maybe the power of suggestion; whatever it was, we’ll discover it. We find it hard to see “the finger of God” causing miracles today.

Miracles of healing were among the signs that established the identity of Jesus among his early hearers, but they were not the only signs.

‘Listen to what I have to say to you about Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonder and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know,” Peter says to the crowds in Jerusalem after Pentecost. But the apostle goes on from these signs of Jesus’ ministry to the culminating sign of his death and resurrection.

“You crucified and killed him by the hands of those outside the law, but God raised him up…”(Acts 2.22-23)

No human power can explain this mystery, surpassing all others. Bearing  all human sorrows– the sorrow of the mute, the deaf, the paralyzed, the possessed, the dead, the sinner far from God– Jesus gave himself into the hands of his heavenly Father on the altar of the cross. And he was raised up, to give his life-giving Spirit to the world.

Some deny this sign too. but it’s great sign that we celebrate this holy season.