When we steward our gifts and work together for the good of all, not just ourselves, we will discover how God allows us to become that “best wine”.
Photo: Painting by Adam van Noort, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Transformed into the best wine for others
At His mother’s prompting, Jesus performed His first public miracle and turned water into wine. Yet, as Father Adrian Danker, SJ explains, there was a greater miracle at play here that many of us often overlook – the miracle of learning to love as He does.
By changing water into wine, Jesus “revealed His glory and His disciples began to believe in Him” (John 2.11). In many ways, we all want Jesus to do the same in our lives. We ask Him for miracles to meet our needs and lift us up from pain and doubt. In fact, we want His help when we find ourselves with no more wine, like when our prayer life is dry or when our plans fail and hopes dim.
The “Marys” in our lives
In the Gospel, Mary invited Jesus to intercede, and He does. His actions assure us that He will always come to us through the prayers and deeds of many good people accompanying us
in our daily struggles. The “Marys” in our midst have probably already invited Jesus into our lives in ways we often miss. Many a time it could have been when they promised to pray for us or when they sought help for us, and their kindness and compassion reminded us that Jesus is with us. These “Marys” are the people that God places in our lives. They look out for our needs and even seek others’ help for us when they themselves are unable to. Like Mother Mary at the wedding who recognised a need and turned to Jesus on the wedding couple’s behalf, knowing that only He can provide, they also turn to Him and tell Him our needs. Think about who these good people, these Marys are, in our lives. How have they connected us to Jesus through their faith-filled desire to help?
Jesus fills and transforms us
Can we give this same loving assurance to all? Indeed we can, when we generously ask Jesus to help others. How can we make this happen? Mary provides us a clue: “Do whatever He tells you.” She says this to the servants and to us today. We need to do whatever Jesus tells us to, often not for ourselves but for others, for the Church. Indeed, Jesus is always attentive to our needs, wanting to take care of us by transforming us for the better. He does this by filling our emptiness with God’s bounty. When we become more aware of Jesus’ actions in our lives, we begin to realise that the real miracle at the wedding is much more than water being changed into wine. It is the fact that He transforms His disciples from mere companions to believers, from fellowship to the intimacy of belief and later, to being sent to bring the Good News to others and build His Church. This is the more wondrous miracle: their lives are changed for the better; they will never be the same again.
The best wine: our gifts for all
Jesus does the same today. One way this happens is how Jesus transforms our individual giftedness, so varied and rich, into the community’s collective work of building God’s Kingdom here on earth. St Paul describes it well in 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” This happens throughout history and to us today in the same Spirit of Jesus we share. When we steward our gifts and work together for the good of all, not just ourselves, we will discover how God allows us to become that “best wine”, so much better than all the expensive wine already served. We are transformed repeatedly to quench the thirst, needs, desires and hopes of the people who come to us, saying, “We have no wine.” Jesus transforms us, not just because we ask Him to so that we can help those we care for or are concerned about. He does because He wants to bless others through us. This is how He opens our eyes and hearts to truly believe in Him. Shall we let Jesus do this for us, and so help to build up the Church?