“Do Whatever He Tells You”
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The Gospel story of how water turned into wine at the wedding at Cana is sending us a message with three important points: one, the Blessed Mother is always attentive to the needs of each and one of us; two, the Mother of Christ effectively intercedes for us with Her beloved Son; and three, the key to successful prayer consists in practicing Christ’s teaching.
First of all, however, allow me to explain to you the implication of what is described in the story as a “shortage of wine.” Put in the context of a joyful social celebration such as a wedding party, wine obviously stands for something essential and necessary for the completion of the event. “Vinum laetificet cor hominum”, Latin for “wine brings joy to man’s heart”, would tell us the truth that we badly need something which justifies and motivates what we think, say and do. We do need the “raison d’être”, French for “reason for being”, for our life here on earth. It may be our ideal, our conviction, belief or faith, either political or philosophical or religious. Because of it, we find our efforts, sacrifices, sufferings and even death, in building a happy family, a better society and a lovely world worth living, absolutely meaningful. So, if one day we no longer find any joy of working, of studying, of talking to friends, of sharing with our loved ones tears and laughter, our life is really running short of wine.
Present at the wedding no one but the Blessed Mother realized that the wine ran short. That was truly a very embarrassing incident that might cause the newly-wed couple certain difficulties the worst of which would be the failure of their marriage. They hopelessly tried some efforts but to no avail. The worries and fear caught the bride and bridegroom out and paralyzed them. Sad to see their problem do not reflect the concern of other people, not even that of their best friends. Sometimes one suddenly feels lonely amidst big and noisy and cheerful crowds when one can find nobody to tell what they treasure in their hearts. There are countless signs of an increasing indifference or insensitivity in our today’s society. This is really a shortage of wine.
Upon realizing the young couple’s needs, the Blessed Mother approached Her Son and reported it to Him, totally sure of a solution to the problem. Good will and charity, or love, should lead to immediate and efficient action. Too many words, including rhetoric statements and beautiful promises, are nice to hear indeed but far from being worthy of Christian values at all. Christ our Lord once strongly criticized the “lip service” way of life among His disciples. This, too, is a shortage of wine.
The story has a happy ending when the miracle of water happened. How did the miracle happen? Where could we find the key to obtaining whatever we pray for? “Do whatever He tells you” was all that we should do to ensure that water will turn into wine, problem into opportunity, suffering into joy, darkness into light. In other words, the shortage of wine becomes abundant sources of much more delicious drink when we keep the Word of God, the teaching of Church in our daily life and action. In short, we would have plenty of good wine if we give Christ our Lord and Savior a room in our joy and happiness, concern and worries, fears and hopes.
Fr. Francis Nguyen, O.P