Word for the Weekend - January 17

Wedding Feast at Cana by Marcello

The Advent-Christmas cycle is complete and we find ourselves in the first week of Ordinary Time. This coming Sunday, then, is the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time* and you will find the scriptures for Mass and background material on them right here.

If you're shepherding youngsters to church, here are some hints for helping children prepare to hear the Lord's Word.

Each year on this second Sunday in OT, the gospel features Christ's first miracle at the wedding feast at Cana, the scriptures thus continuing to focus on the manifestations of God's appearance in Christ.

The first reading for the day, from Isaiah, was chosen because of the nuptial imagery it offers but don't miss the "names" for God's people in the first part of the reading. Something's lost in the translation from the Hebrew, but the names are interesting nonetheless.

The second lesson, from 1 Corinthians, features the familiar text on the many gifts and the one Spirit. This text begins a series of passages from 1 Corinthians.

Take a look at these scriptures today - and return to them a couple of times in preparation for worship on the Lord's Day!

*A new liturgical year begins on the First Sunday of Advent. The four Sundays before December 25 are the Four Sundays of Advent. The Sunday in the Octave of Christmas is the Feast of the Holy Family. Epiphany, formerly celebrated on January 6, is transferred, in most parts of the Catholic world, to the Sunday closest to January 6. The Sunday after Epiphany is the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (although depending on other calendar peculiarities, the Baptism of the Lord is sometimes celebrated on a weekday). The Sunday after the Baptism, the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, features the gospel account of the wedding at Cana and the first miracle Christ performed. If you're really paying attention, you might be wondering, "What happened to the First Sunday in Ordinary Time?" The answer to that question can be found here.


  1. Cana...was Christ rude to Mary?

    A translator can translate in one of two ways: word for word...or...sense for sense. Almost all Catholic and Protestant translations translate Christ's words to His mother here as she mentions the wine... in the sense for sense fashion.

    The Latin Vulgate thankfully does not do this. It gives the non rude real words of Christ:
    "Woman (second Eve denotation)...what to me and to thee, my hour has not yet come."

    The next mistake people make is to think Christ is talking about His hour to go public...but He already did that at Cana by bringing with Him his first disciples which He gathered in the days prior.

    "Hour" in John always means his hour of passion and thus the hour when Mary's own soul will be pierced. At Cana Christ could see on Mary's face as she asked in relation to the wine that she was worried about His doing a miracle and then being arrested immediately by temple soldiers.

    Christ was assuring Mary that the passion was some time off into the future and not immediate:

    "Woman...what to me and to thee, my hour has not yet come."

    I even think he discussed with Mary some time prior to Cana: 2 Kings 3:13 (4 Kings 3:13 Septuagint) wherein 3 Kings ask Elisha not for wine but for water which Elisha provides in basins but which water looks like blood to the distant Moabites and as they ask Elisha for water, Elisha says the same idiom
    "what to me and to thee" (Vulgate again).
    So with Elisha, there is the providing of water which looks like blood and at Cana there is water which becomes wine symbolizing Christ's blood thus the Jewish purification water of the old covenant becomes the wine which stands for Christ blood symbolically so far and not really until the last Supper when the wine does become Him.

  2. The New American Bible footnote on this verse might be helpful:

    This verse may seek to show that Jesus did not work miracles to help his family and friends, as in the apocryphal gospels. Woman: a normal, polite form of address, but unattested in reference to one's mother. Cf also John 19:26. How does your concern affect me?: literally, "What is this to me and to you?"--a Hebrew expression of either hostility (Judges 11:12; 2 Chron 35:21; 1 Kings 17:18) or denial of common interest (Hosea 14:9; 2 Kings 3:13). Cf Mark 1:24; 5:7 used by demons to Jesus. My hour has not yet come: the translation as a question ("Has not my hour now come?"), while preferable grammatically and supported by Greek Fathers, seems unlikely from a comparison with John 7:6, 30. The "hour" is that of Jesus' passion, death, resurrection, and ascension (John 13:1).

  3. Pastor,
    I think one can too quickly see the idiom as negative.
    In the Septuagint version of the Old Testament , in 2nd Samuel 16:10 and 19:22, this idiomatic answer occurs, “what to me and to you”, from David to requests from his loyal warrior, Abishai: in the first, Abishai asks David if he can cut off the head of Shimei who is cursing David as they proceed to Bahurim; in the second incident, Abishai requests virtually the same thing but Shimei has now repented of his cursing, and David again, as in the first example, forbids Abishai from killing Shimei. David answers Abishai both times by “what to me and to you”…meaning that the matter in question has not the urgency that the requester ascribes to the issue…Shimei’s bad will is not as serious as Abishai thinks it is… “what to me and to you”. But David is also saying that he and Abishai remain on the same side of the issue but that the issue is not as serious as Abishai thinks. So here, as opposed to the demoniac's use of the phrase which I think is falsely unitive, David and Abishai are united in relationship but differ on the importance of Shimei’s opposition.
    In agreement with me on this importance and neutrality of the literal phrase is M. Miguens in his "Mary 'The Servant of the Lord'”. In that book, after exploring numerous relevant passages, Miguens concludes: “ The Old Testament material shows that the actual meaning of the Hebrew idiom under discussion swings according to the particular context…” ( page 123 ). Like myself, Miguens sees a beneficent meaning in all of Christ’s words to Mary but we differ on the nature of that meaning. Concisely, his point is that Christ is saying that it is not yet his hour to act like “King” (in His passion) so yes, therefore, Christ will solve the immediate problem of the wine shortage because he is still simply her son and not King yet. I love that Miguens saw the importance of the literal phrase but it is still the academic writer not sensing an undercurrent of feeling coming from Mary. Miguens keeps to the tradition that Christ is giving a qualified “yes” (if it were his hour to be King, He would not owe her the obedience of a son but since that hour has not come, he owes her a yes).


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