January 19, 2013

2nd Sunday - C


True Faith: Faith in Jesus’ Word

Looking at the different responses to the miracle of water turning into wine at the wedding at Cana might be one way of reflecting on this familiar passage from John’s Gospel.

First, the reaction of the head waiter.  His reaction is limited to just the appreciation for the quality of the wine and his surprise at the unusual timing of its availability.  Though he is genuinely shocked at how unusual the whole thing is, he does not even investigate to find out where the wine has come from.

Next comes the response of the servers.  They readily and faithfully obey the words of Jesus and His mother.  However, John makes no indication of any response on their part that goes beyond that.  One wonders whether their privileged first-hand experience of the miracle moves them to faith or not.  Here, they limit themselves to just doing what they are told.  Witnessing and being a part of the miracle does not seem to have any impact on them.

Then, we have the disciples' response.  When “Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana, and so reveal his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.”  They come to faith after witnessing the power of Jesus in this sign.  But as John will point out again and again in his gospel, this kind of faith that comes from seeing the signs done by Jesus is not deep enough.  The disciples’ faith will falter.  When Jesus’ hour comes, the hour of his passion and cross, the faith of most of the disciples “were shaken.”  Besides, as Jesus would tell them later in his farewell words to them, one who has faith can do the work, not necessarily the opposite. (“The one who believes in me will also do the works that I do, and will do greater works than these.” 14:12)

Finally, we have the example of faith from "the mother of Jesus."  This sign is the first that Jesus ever performs in John’s account of his life.  In other words, one can presume that Mary has not seen such power from him before.  Yet, her faith in his words is so strong that she could tell the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.”  This faith is real.  This is the faith that enables her to “stand by the cross” of her Son when His hour finally comes. [1]

True faith, like that of Mary, leads us to “an unconditioned acceptance of [Jesus’] word.” [2]

[1] and [2] Francis J. Moloney, S.D.B.  The Gospel of John.  Sacra Pagina Series.  Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1998; p. 69.

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