Sybil 2002

Gospel text

John 2: 1-11

1 And on the third day there was a wedding at Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus was also invited to the wedding with his disciples. 3 When there was a shortage of wine, the mother addressed Jesus to say to him, "They have no more wine". 4 But Jesus answered her, "Madam, why are you telling me this? My time has not yet come". 5 His mother said to the waiters, "Whatever he tells you, do it." 6 There were six stone jars there, which had been placed for the purification of the Jews, and which each contained two or three measures of forty liters. 7 Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them to the brim. 8 Then he said to them, "Now draw water and bring to the head of the service." And they brought him. 9 When the head of the service tasted the water that had become wine - he did not know where it came from, the waiters who had drawn the water knew - he called the young groom 10 and said to him, "Every man first serves the best wine and, when people are drunk, the least good. You have waited until now to serve the best". 11 This was the beginning of the signs that Jesus did at Cana in Galilee. He thus made visible the extraordinary quality of his being, so his disciples believed in him.


When you have a false image of God ...

Gospel commentary - Homily

Who is really God?

"I saw blood everywhere ... They shot in the crowd. We all lay down. There were between 50 and 100 shots. The person next to me took a bullet". This is what Thomas, one of the witnesses to the Bataclan massacre in Paris, says on this Friday, November 13, 2015. We will learn later that 129 lives have been cut, fell under the bullets of these madmen of Allah, jihadists, who shot the crowd indiscriminately, shouting: "Allahou Akbar! " (God is great). They were suicide bombers, because all the attackers were dressed in identical explosive vests stuffed with acetone peroxide, batteries, bolts and fitted with a press button, so as not to be captured alive. Death, they spread it in seven places: the Stade de France where a Germany-France match was taking place, the Bataclan theater where an American rock group was performing, the restaurant Le Petit Cambodge, the bar Le Carillon, the terrace of a pizzeria, on Fontaine-au-Roi street, the café La Belle Équipe, and the restaurant Comptoir Voltaire. What do all these places have in common? They are places of play, fun, celebration and freedom. This is what seemed heresy to those for whom God is a demanding, implacable and hard being.

What could be more natural than to read again the story of Cana's wedding in this context, because the contrast is striking. And we must take the time to read it well, otherwise we miss the essentials to retain only the magician Jesus. What is it about? At the base, there is the wedding story of a small village in Galilee to which the family of Jesus is invited. This is a usual scene from a normal life, and the participation of Jesus is consistent with what the Gospels tell us about the habits of Jesus who accepts invitations to meals, to the point that he has the reputation of being a glutton and a drunkard, unlike John the Baptist who has the reputation of being austere (See Luke 7: 34). The least we can say is that Jesus agreed to celebrate and to be ready for people. But when the evangelist John writes his story, he has even deeper things to say.

What interests the evangelist is to make us discover who Jesus really is. Do not forget. When the last editor of the Gospel presents his latest version around year 90 or 95, he had gained many years of thinking and deepening of the meaning of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. So, a wedding scene washed down with wine gives him the opportunity to present what Jesus has brought to our lives: in Jesus, we live a reconciliation and a marriage with God; let us remember all these passages where Jesus presents himself as the bridegroom in the Gospels. Let us also remember the prophet Isaiah who presents the intervention of God in the form of a banquet with fatty meats and washed down with wine. Because for the evangelist, since Jesus God is no longer a stranger: he is known to us and becomes a spouse. And those who enter into a marital relationship, become new beings. This is why John places the scene of Cana on the 7th day of the first week of the ministry of Jesus: the first week of creation in Genesis is followed by this new first week of Jesus' action at the source of a new creation.

To explain what it means to be a new creature, the evangelist will use the scene of water which becomes wine. For it associates water with Jewish ritual ablutions, and thereby with all the rules that world religions impose on people. All this is transformed and replaced by wine, which is in fact the word of Jesus. The Bible itself speaks of wine in terms of the wisdom which one drinks (see Proverb 9). Since we drink from the wisdom of God in Jesus, since we have entered into his intimacy, we no longer need all these religious rules, as Jesus will tell the Samaritan woman when speaking of the temples of Samaria and Jerusalem: the time is coming - and it is now - when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth (John 4).

Basically, the wedding of Cana celebrates our own wedding, our own greatness before God which brings us into a marital intimacy. Isn't it right to join this party that will last a lifetime?

When the jihadists shout: "Allahou Akbar!" They made an idol for themselves and sank into idolatry. Because they don't really know God, they don't really know the human being. This is why they sow death and destruction, because a rule-centered life leads to death. We are not only talking about the jihadists, we are also talking about all those who have fabricated a being they are afraid of, whom they consider uncompromising and demanding. However, what the evangelist says is clear: all God wants is to be able to celebrate nuptials with us, in intimacy and in love.


-André Gilbert, Gatineau, January 2016