Thought of the week
I went to Cana once, or at least I think I did. It turns out there are five locations which claim to be the Cana in Galilee referred to in the Gospel this Sunday. On a pilgrimage to the Holy Land I was taken to Kafr Kanna, four miles north-east of Nazareth where, in a large church, I celebrated Mass and invited those in our pilgrimage party to renew their marriage vows. Was this though the Cana mentioned by the writer of the Fourth Gospel, or is that found today at Qana now located in Lebanon?
The early church historian Eusebius thought this was where Jesus and his mother and disciples went to a wedding, but three other sites, eight miles in one direction of Nazareth and one mile in another, also claim to be where the miracle of the changing of water into wine took place. Surely the miracle only occurred once? Why such confusion about where it took place?
Certainty is not always given us by the writers of the four Gospels. Unbothered by where a miracle of Jesus took place, they are more interested in telling us that it took place and because it did, we should reflect on what it says to us about the miracle-worker.
The writer of the Fourth Gospel notes that the miracle of the water being changed into wine ‘was the first of the signs given by Jesus.’ (2:11) That’s a key statement.
He wants us to read on and be awed at the other six signs and of how, in each of these, Jesus gives his disciples a glimpse of his heavenly glory.
At the end of the Fourth Gospel the writer concludes, ‘there were many other signs that Jesus worked in the sight of his disciples but these are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name.’ (20: 30).
As we move further into January and the New Year, our faith in Jesus should be something we are willing to let ourselves deepen. Whether it is by taking time to read on our own the daily gospel, or getting together to chat about him in one of our parish groups, such as the Catholic Women’s League, the Knights of St Columba or JaCy to name but three, there remains so much more to discover about He who was once invited to a wedding at Cana in Galilee - wherever exactly that may have been.
Let’s seek to share what we do know, ask about that which we don’t yet understand and be not afraid to often be just awed by Jesus. Signs of faith often need interpreting but when we understand even a little of what they mean, the journey then taken can feel all the more worthwhile.