Choose your language EoF

Gospel for Sunday, January 16: John 2: 1-11

II Sunday C

1On the third day there was a wedding feast in Cana of Galilee and the mother of Jesus was there. 2Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. 3When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him: “They have no wine.” 4And Jesus answered her: “Woman, what do you want from me? My time hasn’t come yet.” 5His mother said to the servants: “Do whatever he tells you.” 6There were there six stone amphorae for the ritual purification of the Jews, each containing from eighty to one hundred and twenty liters. 7And Jesus said to them: «Fill the jars with water»; and they filled them to the brim. 8He said to them again: “Now take some and bring some to the one who is in charge of the banquet.” And they brought it to him. 9As soon as he tasted the water that had become wine, the director of the banquet – who did not know where it came from, but the servants who had taken the water knew – called the groom 10and said to him: “Everyone puts the good wine on the table at the beginning and, when a lot has already been drunk, the less good one. You, on the other hand, have kept the good wine aside until now”. 11This, in Cana of Galilee, was the beginning of the signs performed by Jesus; he manifested his glory, and his disciples believed in him.

John 2: 1-11

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

The evangelist John speaks of the Church under various symbolisms. But for him the Church is first and foremost the Bride of the Messiah. The Old Testament had already expressed the relationship of love between God and his people through the nuptial metaphor: God is the Lover, the fiancé, the husband, and Israel the beloved, the fiancée, the bride. In the matrimonial image, however, not only is the relationship of love between God and his people signified, but also his “berit” – alliance with Israel, the definitive and solemn pact, the mutual oath of fidelity (Hos 2,15- 22; 3,1; Ez 16; 23; Is 54; 62,1-5; Ct). Marriage therefore becomes a sacrament (the word “sacramentum” means “sign”) of a reality that transcends it, a prophecy of God and of his alliance with man.

The first miracle performed by Jesus, the transformation of water into wine at the wedding at Cana (Jn 2.1-12), falls within the literary genre of “prophetic actions”, that is, those gestures that prophets usually perform to express a message (Jer 13,1-14; 19, 24; Ez 3,24-5,17; Zec 11,15).

At Cana the protagonists are not the spouses: the bride is not even named. The wedding between the messianic Groom and his Bride, represented by Mary and the disciples, is celebrated in Cana. “The «sign» of Cana has the purpose of «manifesting the glory of Jesus», that is, the novelty of his message: the God he announces is not a foreign God, but the Bridegroom who calls the entire humanity represented here by the disciples who are the guarantors of the “sign” of Cana in Galilee” (P. Farinella). In fact, one of the constant images of the Old Testament to express the joy of the messianic advent is the abundance of wine (Am 9,13-14; Hos 14,8; Gen 49,10-12; Joel 2,24; 4, 18; Is 25.6). In fact, the Greek apocryphal Apocalypse of Baruch writes: “The earth will bear its fruit ten thousand times more and in a vine there will be a thousand branches and a branch will make a thousand bunches and a bunch will make a thousand grapes and a grape will make a kor of wine (ed. : approximately 450 litres). And those who were hungry will be delighted and, again they will see wonders every day… And it will happen after this: when the time of the coming of the Anointed One is full and he will return in glory, then all those who had fallen asleep in hope of him will rise again… They will know for the time has come of which it is said: it is the fulfillment of times.” At Cana Jesus miraculously procures from four hundred and eighty to seven hundred and twenty liters of wine, really a bit too much for a simple wedding banquet! The disciples understand that he is the Messiah-Groom of the final time, who convenes the eschatological assembly of the elect. As Augustine says: “Christ… is the groom at the wedding at Cana, in fact, to whom it was said: «You have kept the good wine until now». Christ, in fact, had preserved the good wine until that moment, that is, the Gospel of him.” In Hebrew, wine is called “yayìn”, whose consonants (y – y – n) correspond to the number 70 (10 + 10 + 50), that is, the number of the nations of the earth according to Judaism: the Gospel is truly universal, all they are called to the assembly of the elect.

The Song of Songs uses the metaphor of wine eight times to express the ardent love between the Groom and the Bride (Song 1,2.4; 2,4; 4,10; 5,1; 7,3,10; 8,2). Jesus is the Bridegroom, and the Baptist will proclaim him as such (Jn 3:29).

Cana derives from “qanah”, which means “to acquire” but, when it has God as its subject, also “to create”. The event occurs “on the third day” (Jn 2.1), just as the Sinaitic theophany occurred “on the third day” (Ex 19.11). Mary’s words: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:4) recall Israel’s promise at Sinai: “What the Lord has said, we will do!” (Ex 19,8). The six “stone” jars (Jn 2.6) recall the “stone” tables (Ex 31.18; 32.15; 34.1.4) on which the Law of Sinai is engraved. At Cana Jesus creates the new people of his disciples, in continuity with the creation of Genesis and with the people of Israel.

The letter to the Ephesians also presents human nuptiality as an icon of the relationship between Christ and the Church (Eph 5.21-33): marriage is “a great mystery…, in reference to Christ and the Church!” (Eph 5:32).

The “great mystery” (Eph 5:32) is not only the fact that Christ loves us as the most tender of spouses, but also that marriage is called to be a sign of divine love for the Church. To understand Christ’s relationship with his Church, we must meditate on conjugal love, which is a sacrament of divine love, that is, a sign, an icon. Every marriage is a prophecy of God’s love. From every marriage, from its passion, from its tenderness, from its sweetness, from its warmth, we must grasp small but concrete signs of God’s very Love. Our loves are traces, experience and anticipation of that of God: to imagine divine Love we must start from our loves, obviously raising them to the nth degree. “The image of the Bride applied to the Church makes, therefore, a plastic reference to the absolute intimacy that exists between Christ and the Church” (S. T. Stancati).

But at the same time “the mutual relationship between spouses, husband and wife, must be understood by Christians in the image of the relationship between Christ and the Church” (John Paul II). In fact, “Paul, speaking of the first alliance in human reality – between husband and wife -, the most fundamental of all alliances, wants to bring it back to its profound root, the root that explains everything and from which everything derives: the alliance between Christ and Church” (C. M. Martini).

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at


Spazio Spadoni

You might also like