The Wedding at Cana

Holy Mary, Jesus of Nazareth, Rosary

The Wedding at Cana

We live in a society that loves to create lists. We want to quantify, categorize and rank everything we can, even things that defy quantification. Some lists can lead to thoughtful debate, others devolve into mindless prattle.

The Holy Spirit inspired Saint John Paul II to give us the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary to deepen our relationship with Jesus. But how difficult it must have been to select only five events from Jesus’ ministry to call out for reflection! Which five miracles were the greatest? Which teachings have the most to inspire us today? If you were making the selections, would you pick the Wedding at Cana?

The Wedding at Cana is recounted only in John’s Gospel (2:1-12), where John identifies it as “the first of his signs” where he “manifested his glory.”

At first glance, it can seem like the least of Jesus’ miracles. Jesus himself seems to acknowledge this. When Mary tells him the wine has run out, Jesus replies, “Woman, how is this a concern of mine? My hour has not yet come.” Jesus came to forgive our sins, to reconcile us to God by the power of his Cross. He demonstrated his ability to heal our souls by his ability to heal our bodies. He restored sight to the blind, cast out demons, cured lepers, and raised the dead to new life. Why would he do something as frivolous as keep a party going? What’s the big deal if the wedding party runs out of wine? Why even bother the Son of God with such a request?

We all have our needs, great and small. And frequently, in the heat of the moment, our small needs can seem big. Imagine if you ran out of wine at your wedding. You’d be mortified! Ten years later, you might laugh about it, but at the moment it would feel like a very big deal. Would you turn to Jesus for help? Would you bother God with such a request?

Mary did. Perhaps she remembered the joy of her own wedding day. Maybe she could easily empathize with the predicament the bride and groom were in. Certainly, she knew her Son, knew how much he loves us, knew how much he values the sacrament of marriage, and knew he would do anything for us, both the great things and the smaller things. She did not hesitate to ask for his help, and even after his less than affirmative initial response, she had the audacity to tell the servers to do whatever Jesus told them. Mary knows her Son’s heart very well!

Jesus, of course, changed the water into wine, and the best wine at that. The celebration continued even better than before, and after witnessing the miracle “his disciples believed in him.”

Have you ever thought about praying for something seemingly minor, only to think “God’s too busy to worry about this?” Or “God has better things to do.” That’s just not true! God is all powerful. He can multi-task. More to the point, God loves you dearly, more than you can ever imagine. When you love someone, you want what’s good for them. You care about the things they care about, even if it otherwise wouldn’t interest you. The wedding at Cana, as much as any of the miracles, illustrates how deeply Jesus loves us, and how confidently we should approach him in prayer. We should be audacious in our prayer. Bring all your problems to Jesus, the big ones and the small ones, and trust that your Savior will answer you. That’s not to say you should be presumptuous in your prayer. Jesus will answer your prayers, but in his time and in his way. And his time and his way will be best. (1)

I’ve had times when a prayer was answered immediately and directly, to the point where it was both awesome and frightening how much the Savior of the World was attentive to my needs. I’ve had prayers answered after years of praying, when I certainly wasn’t expecting a miracle anymore, just a little comfort for someone before they passed. Imagine my surprise to learn that God had other plans! And I’ve had prayers that weren’t answered, at least not in the way I wanted. But even when the prayer wasn’t answered, and the person didn’t get better, I’ve seen many graces result from the situation, so I know Jesus heard my prayer and answered it in his way.

Jesus told his disciples, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” (Luke 17:6) And again he says, “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you… If you, then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the holy Spirit to those who ask him?” (Luke 11:9,13)

Last but not least, we learn from the Wedding at Cana that Jesus listens to his mother Mary. This may seem like an obvious point, but so many Christians don’t see the value in praying to Mary. Luke tells us of Jesus’ obedience to his mother (Luke 2:51), and John here gives a very concrete example of Jesus responding abundantly to his mother’s request. The sign of Cana reminds us that we can pray to Jesus through Mary, asking for her intercession, assured of the Son’s love for his Holy Mother, and the Holy Family’s eternal love for us.

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

“There is no soul which is not bound to pray, for every grace comes to the soul through prayer.” (Diary of Saint Faustina Kowalska, 146)


(1) It might go without saying, but just in case, Jesus will answer our prayers if they are in accord with his will. We are called by the Lord to pray for our enemies, not for evil to befall them. The corollary is that we should then be happy when God answers our prayers for our enemies. This isn’t easy to do, but is an incredibly effective way to defuse anger. It’s hard to stay mad at someone you’re praying for.

Image: Marriage at Cana by Gerard David (downloaded from Wikipedia Commons).

Michael Haverkamp

Michael Haverkamp is a lifelong member of the Roman Catholic Church. He is grateful to his parents for raising him in the faith. He resides in Columbus, Ohio with his amazing wife and three sons. By day he is a (usually) mild-mannered grant writer.

One thought on The Wedding at Cana

  1. Mike,

    This was outstanding! What wonderful thoughts you have given. Just the other day when I was at mass the priest spoke about this very thing. When people tell him that they have praying for something and it hasn’t gotten answered, he tells them that sometimes we need to adjust to what we are praying for and remember “Thy will be done”. In other words, keep asking but maybe we have to make a change to what we are praying for.


    Mrs. B

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