Thursday, March 3, 2011

A spiritual transformation

On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples.

When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."

Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast." So they took it.

When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, "Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now."

This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

 – John 2:1-11
I was watching a program on EWTN last night that was recounting the story of how Jesus turned the water into wine and something occurred to me that I had never thought of before.

It seemed to me that this first miracle foreshadows the ultimate miracle of Jesus; it reveals His purpose in coming in the flesh.

The stone jars are our souls which are filled with a sort of water, but not the "living water". The miracle is that Jesus is able to turn this lifeless "water" into something vibrant and vital.

Water is the basic "element" of wine. But when the grapes are added then it is endowed with a living "spirit". This does not happen instantaneously, like dissolving sugar into water in order to make it sweet. Normally, this is a laborious process.

The people of Jesus' time probably had a very limited understanding of how yeast breaks down the natural sugars in the grapes to create alcohol, but they would have had more direct experience with the process of fermentation than those of us that just walk into a store to purchase a bottle of wine. They would have had an appreciation for the work required to harvest the grapes, and to crush them to extract the juice. And the subsequent time and care that is required to allow the fermentation process to transform a simple juice into a delicate and complex wine.

But Jesus was able to directly and instantaneously transform the simple water into wine. In the same way Jesus can transform our simple souls into glorious everlasting living spirits that are the equals of God's angels. This is the true miracle.

Pray for the transformation of souls.

5 comments:

  1. What a wonderful and spot on interpretation. I believe that each lesson in the Bible has several layers to it. Thank you for uncovering this and sharing it with us.

    Thank you for all you do! God is with you and you are always Blessed.

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  2. Hi Nicky. Thanks very much. Sometimes I do feel blessed. I know I don't deserve it. I just try to let the Holy Spirit speak through me. The proof is that the message touched you. i know that is something that I am totally incapable of on my own. Thank you for reminding me of that. And may God's love be with you.

    There is even another significance of this miracle that I can think of. The public mission of Jesus begins with water – when He is baptized by John and proclaims the Kingdom of God – and ends with the wine of the Last Supper, which becomes the blood of the Cross.

    And the baptism of water becomes the baptism by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, which John had predicted when he said "this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit." (John 1:33) And it seems natural to make a comparison between how the baptismal water of John becomes the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and how the water in the jars at the wedding feast becomes the wine. So that in this way of understanding the wine represents the Holy Spirit.

    Ultimately I think the wine represents the "living water" that Jesus spoke of with the Samaritan woman at the well. And its been noted by others that the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross has a similarity to how the grape is crushed and dies to produce wine. And similarly the wheat is crushed and dies to produce bread. These are the physical signs that communicate to our senses the underlying miracle of how the bread becomes the body of Christ and the wine becomes the blood of Christ.

    Changing the water into wine is truly a sign of what is to come in the Gospel, And it is also a sign of what is to come for each of us personally if we are willing to allow Jesus to perform His miracle in our lives.

    If He could change the water into wine, then how can He change us?

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  3. Nicky. One more thing I didn't mention. When I wrote this article it made me quite sad. Because at the same time that I realized that it represented the potential for transforming souls, I also realized how many souls are lost. And especially those of today's young people. And especially the soul of young person that is very dear to me.

    To realize the potential for change and then to see the reality of how that change is refused and rejected is quite saddening. All I can do is try to teach from my own experience. I hate to see someone else make all the same mistakes and go through all the same pain that I went through. Hopefully those of us who are older can learn from watching the younger generation imitating our errors.

    The prodigal son is never too old to come home to his Father and be forgiven.

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  4. Michael, coincidentally I felt sadden today while reading the story of David Sheff about his son's addiction, the book is called "Beautiful Boy."

    http://www.davidsheff.com/

    In class, they assigned us this book to read. Since the beginning I knew that it would be hard to read it. Nic's story is the story of many, many families, that breaks my heart.

    In some part of the book they mention a movie, "Requiem for a Dream," I don't know if you have seen it, but it shows the addiction world in a very depressing and crude way.

    I watched the movie last year, which is from the director of Black Swan by the way, and I think I wouldn't see it again.

    I think that when you believe in God it affects the way you see the world. Right now, there are people whom I love but do not necessarily share my faith. For that reason I pray to God so I can find a way.

    Now is time for vigil, a time to grow in faith.
    God bless you! :)

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  5. Ride. I agree with everything you say, and you say it so beautifully. Thank you again for sharing your valuable experiences and insights. It is not easy being a Christian in a culture that rejects God. I admire you for your faith and devotion to Christ. Please pray for me.

    I had not heard of the book you mention "Beautiful Boy", but it is an excellent example of what I was talking about. It's very sad to see young people destroying their own lives because they have lost faith in God.

    I don't think anyone can say they truly love God and at the same time become an addict. They may delude themselves by claiming to believe in some vague spirituality. This is the sort of thinking that our secular humanist culture encourages.

    Young people are led astray by the popular culture. Even when they are raised in Christian homes, the influence of the culture through TV, the internet, the schools and their peers can easily drown out the Christian teachings of their parents and their church. The pop culture lures young people with sex and drugs. It paints a picture of eternal earthly bliss.

    Christ on the other hand does not offer worldly happiness. He demands sacrifice and suffering for the sake of others. But He does offer an internal peace, which is quite different from the secular concept of happiness. He offers the water which will quench our thirst forever. This is the exact opposite of earthly happiness which is just a form of addiction.

    Worldly happiness is fleeting and in order to sustain it we must continually seek out new forms of pleasure. Whether it's through food, or sex, or entertainment, or drugs. In the end, it's just not sustainable. It leads to an empty life. But guess what the culture prescribes to cure this emptiness? More of the same pursuit of worldly happiness.

    Sadly, even when someone finally realizes that this endless pursuit is all in vain, it doesn't necessarily lead them to Christ. Many just give up hope. They reject the alternative offered by Christ because all their lives they have been taught that it is not real.

    They have been told that Christ did not turn the water into wine; that miracles don't happen. Their faith has been drained; their hearts have been hardened. Christ is there by their side, but they cannot see Him. They push Him away and refuse to be comforted.

    They are still seeking happiness through the world, instead of joy through Christ. If only they would realize that Christ's love and peace is what they are longing for...

    We have to stop that eternal quest for worldly happiness if we want to find Christ. Love of God and worldly happiness are not compatible. That is something that most people are just unwilling to accept.

    Worldly happiness is a fleeting illusion. Paraphrasing Christ: "It would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a worldly happy man to enter into the Kingdom of God."

    On the other hand, Christ's everlasting love sustains us through the inevitable misery and suffering that we all experience at some time in our lives.

    In this season of Lent we are called to fasting, prayer, almsgiving and mortifications. In this way, the Church encourages us to reject the happiness offered by the world and seek the true happiness found in Christ.

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