The Second Sunday in Ordinary Time [C]
Isaiah 62:1-5 + 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 + John 2:1-11
January 20, 2013
“Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory….” [John 2:11]
In the year of our Lord 1070, a twenty-year old woman named Margaret became the queen of Scotland, when she was united in Holy Matrimony to Malcolm, the king of Scotland. As she grew in her role as queen, she grew to be a saint.
Margaret grew up in luxury (at least as much luxury as the eleventh century could offer), as the daughter of one of the princesses of Hungary and one of the princes of what today we call England. When William the Conqueror came barreling through their family’s lands, Margaret’s family was forced to go into exile. They royal family was shipwrecked off the coast of Scotland, then a separate kingdom from their own. King Malcolm, practicing one of the corporal works of mercy, offered shelter to the homeless. He also fell in love with Princess Margaret, and the two were soon married.As we enter again into the Season of Ordinary Time, we hear in the Gospel about the event that we now call “The Second Luminous Mystery of the Rosary”. The “Luminous Mysteries” all shed light on “who Jesus is”. The feast we celebrated last Sunday—the Baptism of the Lord—is the “First Luminous Mystery”. But today in the Gospel, the Mystery of that wedding (at Cana in Galilee) sheds light on “who Jesus is” in a unique way. The mystery of that wedding sheds light on the Mystery of Holy Matrimony. And the mystery of that wedding sheds light on what our daily lives as Christians are supposed to look like.
Malcolm, king of Scotland, and his queen, (Saint) Margaret, are a testimony to what God calls married people to. At the heart of marriage, there has to be the virtue of humility (just as humility is at the heart of every Christian vocation). All the other virtues of married life blossom out of the soil of humility. But for married people, one of the first virtues that has to flower in the seedbed of humility is the virtue of trust.
Because of his trust of his queen, Malcolm did not worry about having a chancellor, someone to take care of questions that arose within the kingdom. Malcolm left all domestic policy to her, and foreign policy, he often sought her advice.
But the trust they shared in each other overflowed into their family’s life, as well. Margaret and Malcolm had six sons and two daughters. Margaret personally supervised their religious instruction and their other studies. And yet, though very much caught up in the affairs of her household and country, she remained detached from the world.
Margaret put her Catholic Faith first because she was willing to allow God to work in her life. In the eleventh century, of course, Scotland—like all of Europe—was a Catholic land, and as queen and mother Margaret taught the Catholic Faith by example, and by word. She had regular times for prayer and reading Scripture. She ate sparingly, and slept little, in order to have time for devotions. She was always surrounded by beggars in public and never refused them. During the seasons of Advent and Lent, Queen Margaret and King Malcolm together, on their knees, served meals to the poor and orphans.
This miracle—the first miracle that Jesus chose to perform in public—tells us many important things. Every detail tells us something. For example, the fact that there were six ceremonial water jars, each holding about 25 gallons, tells us that Jesus produced 150 gallons of wine for the wedding guests. And this in turn tells us that this… was a Catholic wedding.
It also tells us something else: that Jesus was not a fundamentalist. If Jesus had believed that drinking alcohol—in and of itself—is immoral, his first public miracle would not have been to turn water into wine at a wedding. If he had believed that, his first miracle probably would have been to turn 150 gallons of wine into water. But that’s not what Jesus chose to do.
However, besides teaching us something about morality, there’s a much deeper Tradition revealed in this gospel passage, and this is a Tradition with a capital “T”. That is the fact that Jesus transformed marriage into one of the seven sacraments that He gave His Church.
As the first of the signs of His glory, this miracle points to the divinization of man. What is merely natural and of this earth (water) becomes something more, something richer and deeper. We are not told how exactly Jesus works this miracle: He does not wave a wand, or say a magic formula. Nor can we know exactly how God’s grace is at work in our lives. But if we heed our Blessed Mother’s words, and do whatever Jesus tells us, God will work miracles in our lives.