Opening the Word: The Bridegroom

By:   OSV Newsweekly

The feast of the Epiphany has traditionally been a celebration of three significant moments in the life of Christ.

First, the Church remembers the coming of the Magi from among the Gentiles, revealing to the world that the babbling babe is the great king of all the nations. Second, the Church meditates on the baptism of the Lord, the moment in which the now-adult Christ manifests his identity as the Son. Lastly, we remember that first sign of Christ in the Gospel of John — the wedding at Cana.

The wedding at Cana, in some sense, is the culmination of the entire Christmas season. For we learn that the God who espoused himself to humanity through taking flesh is also the God who will love us unto the end (cf. Jn 13:1).

In the Book of Isaiah, we hear about God, the Bridegroom. Israel is forsaken, despoiled by the Babylonians. In this sorrow, God’s voice thunders forth, promising a moment of vindication.

Israel will once more be called “espoused.” God, as a bridegroom, will rejoice in Israel, his bride.

The wedding at Cana points toward this final espousal. Jesus, along with his mother and his disciples, attend a wedding feast. The wedding feast was to last roughly seven days, an image of the couple’s own participation in the renewal of creation.

Importantly, the Bridegroom was responsible for wine that would last the length of the feast. But the couple has already run out of wine.

Jesus’ mother, Mary, calls out to her son, letting him know that there is no more wine. Jesus cryptically replies, “‘My hour has not yet come’” (Jn 2:4).

In the Gospel of John, Jesus’ hour refers to his death on the cross. This is the moment in which the darkness of sin and death is conquered through the depthless love of God.

The cross is the moment in which the hour has come, in which the wedding feast of the Lamb is to begin.

But, Jesus’ mother is persistent. She tells the servants to do whatever he says. Jesus, taking six water jars, transforms (unbeknownst to the assembled crowd) water into wine.

This “sign” in the Gospel of John points to the moment of the cross, revealing the identity of the Word made flesh. Jesus is the ultimate Bridegroom, who in the last of days has provided the best of all wine.

At this moment, God’s glory is revealed. Jesus is no ordinary wedding guest. He has come to inaugurate the divine wedding feast, where all humanity will be called to rejoice in this espousal.

The wedding of Cana within the Church has been closely linked to the Eucharist.

At Mass, we’re not celebrating our own private feast. Instead, we enter into the great wedding banquet of the Book of Revelation: “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory. For the wedding day of the Lamb has come, his bride has made herself ready” (Rev 19:7).

All humanity is called to this supper of the Lamb, where men and women will feast on the best of all wines — God’s very Body and Blood poured out for the redemption of the world.

We should no more feel obliged to attend Mass than we feel obligated to attend a wedding feast. Instead, we should come rejoicing, aware that the God who is love still dwells among us. And when we eat his Body and drink his Blood, we become brides of so wondrous a bridegroom.

This article comes to you from OSV Newsweekly (Our Sunday Visitor) courtesy of your parish or diocese.


Catholic News & Perspective

Provides information on the Church, the nation and the world from OSV, America's most popular and trusted national Catholic news source


Understanding Pope Francis’ outreach to Muslims

Wednesday, February 20, 2019
By: Jordan Denari Duffner Eight hundred years ago, in the midst of the Crusades, St. Francis of Assisi crossed battle lines in Egypt to see a... Read More

Finding True Joy

Monday, February 18, 2019
By: Teresa Tomeo I’m not sure where I first heard the suggestion that Christians need to think about the word “joy” as an... Read More

Opening the Word: Blessings and woes

Friday, February 15, 2019
By:  Timothy P. O'Malley In this column, I often have cautioned against our mishearing of familiar scriptural passages. When we hear the... Read More

Canon lawyers debate excommunication

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
By: Brian Fraga If it were up to many frustrated Catholics who follow the news, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York already would be excommunicated.... Read More

Winter musings

Monday, February 11, 2019
BY: Robert P. Lockwood Four items plus one in search of a late-winter column: 1. Plasma therapy: Ambrosia Health offers “young plasma... Read More

Opening the Word: The least of these

Friday, February 8, 2019
By: Timothy P. O'Malley Jesus, the one who has come to fulfill the messianic prophecy of Isaiah, seeks out missionary companions. But instead of... Read More

Editorial: NY abortion bill is nothing to celebrate

Wednesday, February 6, 2019
By: OSV Editorial Board was a hideous image: the top of One World Trade Center — a structure literally built on the ashes of men, women and... Read More

A breath of fresh air

Monday, February 4, 2019
By: Teresa Tomeo The last few weeks in the media have been like none I’ve ever seen before, and I’ve been in this industry for nearly... Read More

Opening the Word: Prophetic discipleship

Friday, February 1, 2019
By: Timothy P. O'Malley OSV Newsweekly Jesus’ prophetic career seems to get off to a rocky start. Standing up in the synagogue in Nazareth,... Read More

‘We must keep marching for life every day’

Wednesday, January 30, 2019
By: OSV Staff OSV Newsweekly Hundreds of thousands of peaceful protesters attended the 46th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 18,... Read More