July 30, 2010

MARRIAGE: THE GOOD WINE (a wedding homily), Part I By Cormac Burke


"You have kept the good wine until now".

In these words the steward expressed his amazement to the bridegroom at Cana. And his amazement was redoubled when he found the bridegroom just as surprised as he was. The words should, of course, have been addressed to Jesus, who had just let himself be persuaded by Our Lady to work the first of his miracles.

After thirty years of hidden life, Jesus begins to reveal the divine power that is his by nature. Surely it can be no accident that he works his first miracle on the occasion of a human celebration, and in order to provide more of what would make people merrier still at a party already filled with merriment?

Is it too much to suggest that Our Lord chose this moment because he wished to make it clear that he had come to bring men happiness; not just the ultimate and perfect happiness of heaven, but also the passing though real happiness of earth? He had come to give a divine touch to human things, so that man's store of happiness, even if at times in danger, need never run out.

God became man not to destroy man, but to save him, not to limit or inhibit or frustrate man, but to show him the way to fulfilment and to freedom: to the final and limitless freedom and fulfilment of heaven, to be sure; but also to that relative but true freedom and happiness which God himself wants us to achieve on earth. Christianity, when all is said and done, does not devalue human things, but leads them to their true fulfilment (which can be so easily missed), and far beyond.

Most people's dreams of happiness are dreams of human love. The instinct to look for happiness in love and marriage is rooted deep in the human heart, and has surely been placed there by God. Our Lord's choice of a marriage feast as the setting for his first miracle seems a good proof not only of the obvious fact that he is in favour of marriage (his own institution, after all!), but also that he wants people's hopes of happiness in marriage to be fulfilled. I am certain that Jesus rejoiced in the noble and pure love of the young couple at Cana, just as he most certainly blessed it with his presence. I am sure that this marriage, with Christ and his Blessed Mother present at its inception, was one of the very many happy marriages of history.

But our Lord did more on this occasion. He worked an evident miracle in favour of this marriage. And he worked a deeper miracle still, in favour of all subsequent marriages... (to be continued)

Visit Monsignor Cormac Burke's excellent website for related content and more.

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