Fidelity to the Word
Our Lord and His Holy Apostles at the Last Supper

A blog dedicated to Christ Jesus our Lord and His True Presence in the Holy Mystery of the Eucharist

But Christ having come a high priest of the good things to come, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, entered in once for all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption.

Hebrews 9:11-12

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Water into Wine

On this Sunday we remember the wedding at Cana. This event includes the first recorded miracle of our Lord and the last recorded words of our Lady.

Marriage at Cana
On the third day of his public ministry, Jesus and his disciples were invited to a wedding. Mary His mother was there too. When they ran short of wine, she spoke with her son, and at her intercession, He turned water into wine. As with the miracles that followed, this was no random magic trick, but was an exercise of Divine power that revealed something of the Divine plan.

Above all, it is a foreshadowing of his last miracle, also a miracle of "good wine", the third cup of the passover meal which He celebrated with His disciples, the cup of redemption that held no ordinary wine, but by God's mercy held the Precious Blood shed for our salvation.

At every Mass, the chalice holds the Precious Blood, a gift freely given, so that we might be unified in Christ, and raised to a greater dignity than we now display, raised so high as to even share in the Divine life and enter heaven at the end of our days.

The miracle of the Mass is a miracle of water and wine, recalling the water and the blood that flowed from our Lord's side at his crucifixion. The priest adds a drop of water to the cup of wine about to be consecrated. Saint Thomas says that the wine signifies Christ's blood, and the water, the people (ST III, q 74, art. 6). In a sense, the water is changed to wine in the cup. It is still present, but it has become one with the wine, and cannot be separated from it. May we be so joined to the True Vine [John 15:5], Christ our Lord, and give forth fruit abundantly. [Galatians 5:22-23, also Romans 1:13 and Colossians 1:6]

In marriage, man and a woman are inseparably joined for life. Choosing a wedding as the setting for His first miracle emphasized the unfailing, self-sacrificing love the Lord has for His chosen bride Israel [Mark 2:19, Ephesians 5:22-33]. His presence at the wedding also sanctioned marriage as a holy and honorable institution.

In the Bible, seven is the number of perfection and covenant, and one less than that is the number of imperfection. Some people note that six empty jars were filled, and consider that a symbol of the imperfection of the old law, and the emptiness it left in God's people, which is filled up beyond all expectations by the new wine of Christ.

However imperfect the materials at hand were, the Lord did not reject them, but worked with them and through them and filled them to the brim with His gift to bring joy to people who needed his help.

At that time, then, Jesus made of water wine, and both then and now He ceases not to change our weak and unstable wills. For there are, yes, there are men who in nothing differ from water, so cold, and weak, and unsettled. But let us bring those of such disposition to the Lord, that He may change their will to the quality of wine, so that they be no longer washy, but have body, and be the cause of gladness in themselves and others. But who can these cold ones be? They are those who give their minds to the fleeting things of this present life...
Saint John Chrysostom, Homily 22

To strengthen the association of the wedding on the third day with our Lord's passion, it could be noted that the very next event described in the Gospel of Saint John is the cleansing of the temple, where a three day period is again mentioned, this time explicitly linked to our Lord's death and resurrection.

The positive response of Jesus to our Lady's intercession should increase our confidence that her prayers can help us, too.

Finally, it might be noted that while His disciples' faith was strengthened by His miracle, most of those in attendance at the wedding were not followers of the Lord. But all benefitted, for God loves all, and sends rain for the just and unjust alike [Matthew 5:45].

(Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4).
(As I was finishing this post, I discovered an excellent series of excerpts on this same subject from Fulton Sheen's Life of Christ, posted by the Happy Catholic: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Isaiah 55:1

The wedding at Cana is one of the new luminous mysteries of the Rosary in the expanded version of the Rosary introduced by Pope John Paul II, and is also one of the meditations in the now rarely prayed Eastern Orthodox rosary.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Baptism of Our Lord

On the Feast of the Epiphany, the revelation of the Lord to the world is celebrated and three events are remembered: the adoration of the magi from the east, the baptism of our Lord, and His first recorded miracle at Cana. In Western Christianity, the visit of the Magi is emphasized on January 6th, and our Lord's baptism is traditionally celebrated today, on the octave of the Epiphany. The wedding feast at Cana will be remembered again this Sunday.

Although our Lord was not a sinner, He humbled Himself for our sakes, and suffered all that He asks of us. He did not need baptism; baptism, rather, needed the power of Christ [St. John Chrysostom]. By His power, baptism can now wash away our sins, making our souls a fit habitation for the Holy Spirit.

After having humbled Himself, He was exalted. Coming out of the water, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him as a Dove, and a voice from Heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." [Matthew 3:16-17]

May we follow His path through the troubles and humiliations of this life towards God the Father, Who has made us and has prepared a lasting home for us.

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Feast of the Holy Family

"And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking Him."
(Luke 2:45, from today's Gospel reading)

May all who do not have Jesus seek him in the new Jerusalem, which is the Church, and there may we be unified as one family, at peace with one another and doing God's will.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Epiphany Prayer

Thou, O Lord, art the Star of truth, that riseth out of Jacob, and the man that springeth from Israel. In the new Star thou showest thyself as God, and lying in the Crib God and Man, we confess thee to be the one Christ. In thy great mercy grant us the grace of seeing thee, and show unto us the radiant sign of thy light, whereby all the darkness of our sins may be put to flight: that so we who now languish with the desire of seeing thee, may be refreshed with the enjoyment of that blissful vision. Amen.

(From the Mozarabic Breviary - source).

Labels: ,

Sunday, January 02, 2011

The Holy Name of Jesus

In the Name of Jesus let every knee bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: and let every tongue confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

O Lord our Lord: how admirable is Thy Name in the whole earth!

(The last hymn of the last Mass in St. William's Catholic Church
Dorchester, Massachusetts, August 30, 2004).

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Feast of the Circumcision

On this the eighth day since the Birth of our Emmanuel, let us consider the great mystery which the Gospel tells us was accomplished in his divine Flesh: the Circumcision. On this day the earth sees the first-fruits of that Blood-shedding which is to be its Redemption, and the first sufferings of that Divine Lamb who is to atone for our sins. Let us compassionate our sweet Jesus, who meekly submits to the knife which is to put upon him the sign of a Servant of God.

From The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger

Labels: ,