Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Little Something Extra...Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Witness to a Miracle 

We've all the heard story of the wedding at Cana dozens of time, so it's easy to sit back and let the words just wash over us once again. This week, try something different; look at the story from the perspective of one of the servers. 

The last few days have been wild. You've been busying from early morning until late at night preparing for the wedding. Now the day has finally arrived, and the party is going strong. You've been fetching drink after drink for the guests, and now you're beginning to notice something...the wine is running low. This could be a disaster for your master. Running out of wine would indicate poor planning and a lack of hospitality (no matter how much fault should fall on the guests for their immoderate drinking habits). Your master would be disgraced, the wedding ruined. You exchange nervous glances with the other servants, trying to think of a way to either extend or replenish the dwindling supply. 

So far the wedding guests haven't notice the potential interruption of their celebration. Except one. You've actually been watching her for a while now, this middle-aged woman with the kind face and sweet eyes. She smiled at you once, and the light that radiated from her expression felt like it was piercing deep into your heart. She's the type of person who seems to take an interest in whatever is going on around her, not in the way of a busybody, but as someone who genuinely cares about the welfare of her fellow human beings. And she has noticed the problem with the wine. 

Now, indeed, it's a real problem all right. The wine has run out. 

Fear grips your heart. You want to run and hide so that none of the guests can ask you for their next drink. For some reason, you look over at the woman, the one who seems to know exactly what is going on. She smiles at you as if to say, “Don't worry. I know what to do.” 

As you watch, she approaches a man of about thirty years of age. He's laughing and talking with several of his companions. Her son perhaps? They have similar features...and the same smile. You edge closer, knowing you shouldn't be eaves dropping, but you can't help it. You're curious. 

Her words are simple, “They have no wine.” 

The man looks up at her with an affectionate expression on his face. Yes, he is definitely her son. “Woman,” he says gently, “how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.”

Huh? His hour? What's he talking about, and what does it have to do with the crisis at hand? 

You wait for the woman's response. She doesn't say anything. But there is a noticeable “eye conversation” going on between mother and son. Or perhaps “heart conversation” would be more accurate. 

Suddenly the woman smiles at her son and then turns to you. She beckons you to come to them, and you do it immediately. For the first time, you notice that some of your fellow servants are watching. They join you as you gather around the woman and her son. 

Again, her words are simple. “Do whatever he tells you.” 

You know in your heart that you will do anything this woman asks you to do, no matter what. You nod and turn to the man for further instructions. 

He merely says, “Fill the jars with water.” 

For a moment, you're confused. Then you remember the six large stone water jars usually used for ceremonial washings. You glace at the servant next to you. He shrugs and joins you in lifting the heavy jar and filling it with water. 

You carry it back to where the man is seated. You pay careful attention as you set it down so that you don't spill any, even though you can't imagine why this man would want you to fill these jars with water. As you look down at the jar, you can tell that something is different. Water isn't usually that color! Were the jars dirty? No. You had just used them earlier that day. Was the water contaminated? No. It didn't look any different when you were filling your jar. 

But whatever is now in that jar, it isn't water any more. 

The man is speaking again. “Draw some out now,” he tells you, “and take it to the headwaiter.” 

You obey. You don't know why, but you trust this man. Just his eyes... There's something so different about them. You can't put your finger on it. It's something deep, something serious, and yet something very full of love at the same time. 

You carry a dipper to the headwaiter. “Oh!” he exclaims. “You've found some extra wine. Very good!” He tastes the liquid, and his face registers astonishment. “Oh!” he says again. “I've never had wine like this before.” 

You look nervously at your fellow servants. The liquid in the jars is wine all right, but what kind of wine? The headwaiter beckons the bridegroom and says to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.” 

The bridegroom takes a sip from the dipper. “Yes! That is quite good! Exceptional in fact...I can't even describe it. Oh well, perhaps there was some oversight. It doesn't matter. Serve it now and let the guests enjoy it.” 

As you hurry off to bring more wine to the thirsty guests, you think to yourself, “No, that was not an oversight. That was a miracle.” You look toward the man and his mother. He is telling his companions something. You can't hear it from where you are. The man lifts his head, and your eyes meet. He smiles. You can't help but smile back. 

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