Is 62: 1-5; I Cor 12: 4-11; John 2: 1-11
There’s a greater miracle, or sign as John calls it in today’s gospel, pointing us to the Christ, and that’s the need to turn water into water. If you’ve followed the story out of Michigan the past weeks and months, you know the small town of Flint has been plagued with water that has been anything but acceptable. Not to mention, the millions around the world that go without clean water every day. I can tell you this, it only takes one time drinking bad water, as I did in when I had visited Honduras, and you’ll never do it again. But here we are in what we call the greatest country, most developed, and all the rest and then something like this happens. Somehow, the change in water source was good enough, or so the government thought. Keep out the good stuff. Good enough? Once again, money rules and the people who are hurt the most are those on the bottom and somehow we should be ok with good enough water for them. I don’t know what is needed more, water into wine, water into water, or a greater miracle, what we have allowed to be good enough even in our own lives into something better. The fact that choices like this are made in communities like Flint says something about us. Maybe we don’t even see ourselves as with any value and settle for something less which then gets projected onto others.
Paul struggles with it all with the people of Corinth. It may have been one of the more challenging communities he writes to because they had become so secular. It’s not that they didn’t practice faith, but there were all these other things going on and gradually, what some were picking up in the community were being abused. We hear today what is one of the more beautiful sections in his letter to Corinth as he talks about all the gifts. The problem is that they were abusing it, and like in Flint, who is most at stake are the most vulnerable. It is the consistent problem that Paul faces with the community at Corinth is this ongoing tension, without a sense of responsibility with the leaders of the community, of what is an acceptable means of using these gifts, they often can’t see people as people, but as a way to get what they want. There were so many speaking tongues that no one knew who really was the real deal. As we often do in our own moments of vulnerability, we seek some sign, a miracle of sorts that offers us hope. They mean no harm by it all while at the same time lining their own pockets. It’s good enough. Water into wine. Water into water. What we have allowed to be good enough in our own lives and culture changed into something better, the choice wine that we are.
A miracle is needed in the Gospel but comes as a sign, pointing people to the manifestation of God once again in Jesus as we hear another one of our epiphany readings. Even in today’s gospel there is a sense of surprise by the waiters that the wine that is offered at the end is the best. By this point, people have partied and so on and so the good enough wine is usually served. There is much to lose for the family in the shame that they will experience if the wine runs dry. They will face a shunning by their own peers, scowled by others for their lack of planning. Somehow good enough is good enough the waiters think. Ask the people of Flint, Michigan how good, good enough is. We seek the more, the choice wine and yet we so often settle for something less than the best. Israel is reminded through Isaiah today in our First Reading that when that moment comes, when we no longer settle for the lesser, we will be called by a new name. No longer shall we be called forsaken or desolate, but rather my delight and espoused. In that moment when we choose to be changed into the choice wine we experience that oneness with the God who does it all.
But there’s also this seeming confrontation between Jesus and his mother in today’s gospel. All signs point to the fact that he is growing into the person he truly is, beyond the good enough to the choice wine. It’s not about a wedding. It’s not about the wine. It’s our third epiphany reading pointing us to his true identity. Like any parent and mother, we often can’t see our kids beyond being our kids. Yet, in that moment of confrontation, Mary is set free to be herself and Jesus is set free as well. He’s no longer something else, he’s the Christ. Mary is aware of that and immediately tells them to do as he says.
As much as we need plenty of miracles of water into wine and even water into water in this world, we really are in need of a greater miracle these days, turning what we have settled for, what has been good enough for us, into the choice wine we are called to be. Like the people of Corinth, we are in need of a change of culture and society that allows choices that to be made when they aren’t for the good of people, when we force them and ourselves to be something less that we are, simply good enough. It’s not a privilege to have clean drinking water, it’s a right as a human being; it’s a necessity! But that takes an interior change as individuals, as community, as country. We’ve settled for a less than pure water, contaminating our hearts and souls, but today we encounter the miracle maker, the one that changes it all. An encounter with the Christ reminds us that we’re more than good enough and when we leave it in his hands, we become our very best selves, the cleanest of water, the wine of great choice.