I didn’t always appreciate what Pope John Paul II did but there is one thing I did like and that was the inclusion of the Luminous mysteries into the praying of the Rosary. I personally love the rosary as a meditation on the life of Jesus and Mary. The Luminous mysteries fill the gap between the Joyful mysteries, which end with the Finding of Jesus in the Temple and the Sorrowful mysteries, which begin with the Agony in the Garden. The Luminous Mysteries thereby covering the lion’s share of Jesus’ public life. They start with Jesus’ Baptism, which we celebrated last Sunday, and continues with Jesus’ 1st miracle/sign, his changing water into wine, which we celebrate today. The remaining 3 Luminous mysteries are Jesus’ announcing of the kingdom, his transfiguration and the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. Praying and meditating on the Luminous mysteries is a great way of inviting Jesus and his mother Mary into our lives.
Another very public figure in the not too distant past who many of us appreciate is Johnny Carson, the Tonight Show host for over 30 years. He did something frequently which I can’t ever remember Pope John Paul II do, and that is laughing. Johnny did a great job and was always ready to laugh and laugh he did. In one of his more serious shows he had an 8 year old boy as a guest who had rescued two friends from a coal mine outside of his hometown in West Virginia. As Johnny questioned him it became apparent that the boy was a Christian. Johnny inquired, “What are you learning in Sunday School? “Last week,” the boy replied, “our lesson was about how Jesus went to a wedding and turned water into wine.” The audience burst into laughter and applause. Keeping a straight face, Johnny asked, “And what did you learn from that story?” The boy squirmed in his chair. Apparently he hadn’t thought about what he had learned from the story. But then he lifted up his head and said, “If you’re going to have a wedding make sure you invite Jesus and Mary!” And that is precisely the message of today’s gospel: make sure you invite Jesus and Mary wherever you live and wherever you go, they are the only ones you’ll need. In other words, today’s gospel lesson is about the sufficiency of Jesus in our lives and the power of his mother’s intercession.
The only problem with inviting Mary into our lives, just like when you invite your mother into our life, it is best that you do what she says. What does Scripture quote Mary saying? She said, “Do whatever he tells you.” We know that’s what she told the servants at the wedding, but what does he tell us to do? He told Peter, Andrew, James and John, “Follow me,” and his message to all of his disciples and apostles is the same. The Gospels contain Jesus’ instruction to us on what “Follow me” means. It doesn’t mean that we are to do miracles but rather to live, love and forgive as he did, that is, follow his example.
Today’s Gospel tells us that he changed water into wine but he doesn’t require us to do that but he does want each of us to have him and his mother a part of our lives and take what we have and with their help, build on it. He had his Jewish faith, the Old Testament Scriptures and his many talents and he built the base for a more loving, more rewarding, and less legalistic faith, the Christian faith we have today.
We have his example, his help, his mother’s help, Our Christian Faith, our lives, our gifts and the situation we are in and following him means utilizing all of that and building on it just as he did. The water at the wedding symbolizes the Jewish Faith with all its laws and customs and Jesus didn’t toss the water out but he transformed that water into something sweeter, more nourishing, and more alive symbolized by our Christian Faith.
We have our Christian Faith and by keeping Jesus and Mary in our lives, we will go even further building a more loving, welcoming, caring, and forgiving family and community. It is best done by inviting Mary and Jesus not to just be in our wedding but in our entire life.