2cornucopias

Wedding Feast at Cana

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2016/01/22 at 12:00 AM
  • Today’s Gospel story of the wedding feast at Cana follows well upon the Gospel stories of the past two Sundays. Two weeks ago we celebrated the Epiphany of the Lord, in which Jesus’ divinity was made manifest to the world through the adoration of the Magi.
  • Last week we saw the divinity of Christ manifested in His baptism in the Jordan River, as God the Father spoke aloud from Heaven: “You are my beloved Son; with You I am well pleased.”
  • Today we see this theme of the manifestation of Jesus’ divinity continued as He performs His first public miracle: changing water into wine at a wedding feast in Cana.
  • In some ways this is the most beautiful of these three manifestations of Christ’s divinity, for this manifestation occurs at His mother’s request and out of a sense of charity to a newly married couple, who would have been gravely embarrassed without Jesus’ help.
  • But today’s Gospel story is more than just a nice anecdote from the life of Jesus. In fact, the miracle at Cana is more than just another revelation of our Lord’s glory.
  • The Catechism states that: “The Church attaches great importance to Jesus’ presence at the wedding at Cana. She sees in it the confirmation of the goodness of marriage and the proclamation that thenceforth marriage will be an efficacious sign of Christ’s presence” (CCC 1613).
  • And so it was that the institution of marriage was raised to the dignity of a sacrament at Cana. And so it is that the Church proclaims that the matrimonial bond between a husband and his wife should be a symbol of the love our Lord has for the Church.
  • Think about that for just a moment: your marriage is meant to be “an efficacious sign of Christ’s presence. Your marriage should be a revelation of Christ’s love for the Church!”
  • Christ’s love for the Church is best seen in the fact that Jesus sacrificed Himself, suffered and died for us. In doing so our Lord shows us that love is essentially sacrificial and self-giving. Thus, the love between husband and wife must be sacrificial and self-giving, too.
  • We see this best illustrated through the marital act. In this sacred act husband and wife speak an intimate language in which they say to one another: I give myself fully to you, and I receive you fully back unto myself.
  • Because of the totality of the gift of self made in the marital act, the only ones who should enter into it are those who have vowed to live a marital covenant with one another, for the marital act is the sign and consummation of that vow.
  • Moreover, entering into the covenant of marriage implies the willingness to accept the responsibilities that naturally flow from the conjugal act: namely, the responsibility of raising children.
  • Thus, marriage and the conjugal act are inseparably linked. You cannot have one without the other. To engage in conjugal relations before getting married is akin to stealing a gift that does not yet belong to you. It is always, in every situation, wrong.
  • Unfortunately, this inseparable link between marriage and the marital act is a truth that has been ignored by a huge segment of our society – and with serious consequences.
  • Since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, many have selfishly come to believe that any form of conjugal relations are acceptable, as long as all such relations are consensual.
  • Aided and abetted by contraception’s pernicious promise of freedom from the natural consequences and responsibilities of the conjugal act, the conjugal act has become, in the minds of many, less and less about procreation, and more and more about recreation.
  • The upshot? What was designed by God to be an act of selfless self-giving resulting in the creation of new life has become for many (if not most) members of our society, a selfish act resulting – at times – in the destruction of both bodies and souls.
  • This week our country observes the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. In doing so we see quite plainly the evil fruit of this errant and distorted view of conjugal relations: the murder of 55 million babies in the womb since 1973!
  • Those children were aborted because so many people in our society engage in conjugal relations outside of marriage and with no intention of being open to new life. Those children were aborted because the conjugal act was misunderstood and misused.
  • But as terrible as it is, abortion is not the only evil consequence of the sexual revolution.
  • As the understanding of the marital act has changed for so many people, so too has theunderstanding of marriage itself – and to such a point that several states in our country havenow completely redefined marriage.
  • Our faith teaches that marriage is the indissoluble, intimate, and exclusive union of a man andwoman ordered toward the procreation and education of children and the unity and good ofthe couple.
  • This structure of marriage has not been arbitrarily created or imposed by the Church, butrather revealed to us by human nature, and thus by God. The Church didn’t make this up!She simply accepts what marriage is.
  • Indeed, this understanding of marriage is so fundamental and so deeply rooted in humannature, that every society and culture in human history has managed to grasp this truth – eventhose outside of a Judeo-Christian influence.
  • And as Pope John Paul II taught us, this understanding of marriage is even written into ourhuman bodies, as simple anatomy reveals that the male and female bodies are complementaryand designed for union with one another.
  • Only in the intimate union of life and love enjoyed by a man and a woman is new life createdand best nurtured.
  • So to believe – as so many in our society do – that the institution of marriage can and shouldbe extended to unions other than those formed by one man and one woman is to believe a lie,a lie pedaled by those who value political correctness above truth.
  • Obviously I am referring to those who would redefine marriage so as to include same-sexunions.
  • The problem with so-called gay marriage is not so much that it goes against our Church’steachings. The problem is that the whole concept of gay marriage is contrary to human natureand human dignity, and thus it is a very serious threat to human society.
  • Enshrining gay marriage in our nation’s laws means the acceptance of some very harmfulideas, most egregiously the idea that children don’t need both a father and mother, but also theidea that man can marriage to be whatever he wants it to be.
  • Enshrining gay marriage into our nation’s laws means accepting, as well, the idea thatmarriage is ordered to a person’s own satisfaction. And if that’s the case, what’s to stop aperson from leaving a marriage once he no longer satisfied with his spouse?
  • But even beyond that, when we redefine marriage and distort the meaning of the marital act, itmakes it much harder to grow in holiness through marriage. It makes it harder for marriagesto be an efficacious sign of Christ’s presence and a sign of His love.
  • And when this happens, it becomes much harder for people to get to Heaven. That’s thebiggest tragedy of all. Souls are going to hell over this.
  • My brothers and sisters, marriage is one of God’s greatest gifts to humanity, most especially because it’s a vehicle for growing in holiness. But this growth in holiness is only possible if we live our marriages as God intends us to.
  • May we hold fast to and defend our Church’s understanding of marriage and the marital act, so that all marriages can be an efficacious sign of Christ’s presence and love.

20 January 2013

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio.
To enable the audio, lease go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

 

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