The Miracle at the Wedding at Cana


The Miracle at the Wedding at Cana

The Miracle at the Wedding at Cana is the first miracle attributed to Jesus.  According to John (2:1-10), while Jesus was attending a wedding feast in Cana with his mother, the Virgin Mary, and some disciples,  the party ran out of wine.  She went to Jesus and told him about it.  To which Jesus replied, “Oh Woman, what has this to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”  But Mary told the servants to “do whatever he tells you”.  Jesus ordered the servants to fill containers with water and to draw some out and take it to the master of the feast (like the chief steward).  The steward tasted it and told the bridegroom that he broke tradition by serving the good wine last.

This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.  John 2:11

Miracle at the Wedding at Cana
Fr. Alphonse Olive saying mass. Notice a representation of the 6 stone jars in the altar and a painting of the wedding of Cana in the backdrop

 

A Historical Background

Semi, our guide during our pilgrimage, told us that wedding feasts during Jesus’ time usually lasted days.  So, it was an embarrassment for a couple and their families if they ran out of wine during the festivities.  Since a wedding feast took days, the family served the good wine first.  As the party progressed and everyone got more intoxicated, the lesser wine was served. (Noone probably knew the difference by then.)

Miracle at the Wedding at Cana
This is an actual stone vessel that archaeologists were able to dig up. It is said that the water that Jesus turned into wine was in a container similar to this.

I always thought of these jars as small clay jars.  Imagine my astonishment to see that these are very large stone vessels!  Semi explained that a stone jar was carved from a single piece of stone.  Why not clay? Clay jars can become unclean and must be smashed (as what the impurity laws states).  Stone jars are more expensive to make, tho, but can be used repeatedly.  Since purity was of importance, some scholars think that the wedding couple might had belonged to a priest or a household concerned with purity.

Miracle at the Wedding at Cana
During the renewal of marriage vows for the couples in the group. 

The Franciscan Wedding Church

The Miracle at the Wedding at Cana
The beautiful cobble walk with the gate of the Franciscan Wedding Church on the left.

 

Miracle at the Wedding at Cana
The facade of the Franciscan Wedding Church in Kafr Kanna

The church commemorating the miracle that happened in Cana was our next pilgrimage stop after Mt. Tabor.  The Franciscan Catholic Wedding Church is located in the central part of the town of Kafr Kanna.  Historians attributed the miracle of the wedding at Kafr Kanna for many reasons:

  1.  First, Kafr Kanna is located on the main road between Sepphoris and Tiberias, two very important cities.  It is also not far from Nazareth were Jesus first lived.
  2. Secondly, there was probably a town in the time of Jesus because the ruins excavated showed signs of it.  In fact, the sacristy underneath the Franciscan church shows a dwelling dating back to the first century.  They also found a small cistern under.
  3. Thirdly, the site has no running spring water.  This means that in ancient times water would have had to be brought from cisterns or from the valley below. Thus the stone jars stored all these water.

Archaeological excavations show that the church was once a Jewish synagogue in the fourth and fifth century.  It also shows that there were tombs under during the rule of the Byzantine Empire in the fifth and sixth century.

An excavation of ruins dating back to the time of Jesus.

In 1901, the Franciscans started building this church.  Bishop Angelo Roncalli consecreated the altar on September 30, 1906.  The Franciscans renovated the church from the mid-90s until 1999.

During mass, our priest, Rev. Fr. Alphonse Olive, officiated a renewal of marriage vows of all the married couples. I was actually excited about that. This is, after all, where the miracle at the Wedding at Cana happened.  I just felt romantic. 🙂

The hubbie and I posing in front of the vessel with our marriage certificate from the church.

 

The rectory at the side of the church

The Religious Insight of the Miracle at the Wedding at Cana

A few weeks after we came back from Jerusalem, the Miracle at the Wedding at Cana was the gospel of Sunday mass.  While reading the gospel, I was now able to picture the whole scenario more accurately – water jars included.   Imagine that! That, for me, was awesome!

The priest explained in his sermon the beautiful relationship a son has with his mother:

The inside of the Franciscan Wedding Church

Why was Mary concerned about the wine? It might be that Mary was involved with the feast. And if she was, the wedding couple might be their relatives. So she told Jesus that there was no more wine.  (Didn’t it look like she was implying something to Jesus?) Jesus answered by addressing Mary as “Woman” and “My hour has not yet come”.   It sounded like a rude rebuke. But, on the contrary, it showed the intimate relationship of a mother and son.  Mary knew what Jesus was capable of doing and, maybe, had an insight that this is the right time to identify Himself as the Messiah. (Just like a typical mom prodding her son).  Jesus, on the other hand, called her “Woman” not because He was being rude.  In their times, it was actually a polite address.  This was the reason Mary didn’t back down. Instead, she knew him well that she just told the servant to do what He says. And just like an obedient son, Jesus did what Mary insinuated He should do.

Which only goes to show, sometimes, approaching the Mother to get to the Son is the best way to get prayers answered.  An intercession from the Virgin Mother to Jesus Christ is not a bad idea because she could persuade Jesus to answer our petitions.  After all, sons have a hard time saying No to their moms.

Another look at that beautiful church

Mary’s Advice

We should also think about what Mary said to the servants – “Do whatever He says”. Isn’t this a good piece of advice from her? That if we just follow what He tells us to do, we will be rewarded. Here she guarantees great things will happen when we do as He tells us. And she can assure this to us because she knows her Son too well.

This, for me, is the meaning of the miracle at the Wedding at Cana – Mary’s strong hold on Jesus.  And, in return, Jesus’ obedience to his mom. So continue to pray to Mother Mary for intercessions – she is that powerful.

Till next time, my lovies, as I tell you about The Basilica of the Anunciation.

Our Holy Land pilgrimage was made smooth and possible by L.P. Pilgrimage.  To know more of their upcoming and ongoing pilgrimages, please click on the link of their website, their facebook page, thru the following contact information:
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