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Use What Little I Have
There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from–although the servers who had drawn the water knew–, the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.
Opening Prayer: Lord, I come before you as one of the participants in this wedding feast, along with Mary, putting myself beside her at the table as she approaches you with this problem. Like her, I renew my faith that you have the power to do great things in my life, in the world around me, and in my soul in prayer.
- They Have No Wine: The hosts of this wedding had run out of the most important ingredient for their celebration. Wine is a symbol of joy and adds to the warmth of celebration. We can experience this kind of want, spiritually speaking, when we lack inspiration, fervor, zeal, or joy—when we find ourselves dry and unmotivated. Mary is the one to go to. She brings our problems to Jesus. She is our mother and the first one to notice when we are down and in need of her Son. When we want to renew the source of our life and joy we can always turn to her, confident that she will intercede most powerfully for us with her Son.
- Fill the Jars with Water: In many places in the Gospels, Jesus began his miracles by working with ordinary things, like loaves and the fishes in the feeding of the five thousand, or like his bread and wine in the Eucharist. Here, to give these people the wine (joy, inspiration, fervor) that they need, he first asked them to give him what they had. In our moments of need and emptiness, it can seem we have absolutely nothing to give or that what we have to give is useless. Jesus wants us to give him what we have anyway. Then he uses it to do extraordinary miracles. This is what happens in every sacrament; in Holy Orders God makes an ordinary man into another Christ; in every Baptism he makes a human person the dwelling place of the Holy Trinity. He often shows his power and glory by giving us great gifts using ordinary means, so let’s not hesitate to surrender everything to him.
- Kept the Good Wine until Now: The result of Jesus’ action surprised the wine expert. The wine he made was better than what they had before and was more abundant than they needed. No matter where we are on our spiritual path, we can always be open to deeper transformation, knowing that when we run out of what we think we need, he will take us by surprise. He will change our emptiness, our need, the little we have to offer, into something beautiful, superabundant, and everlasting.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, here is my little effort, the little bit I have to offer you. I give you my prayer this morning, knowing you draw good out of my effort. I give you my vocation and my work. These are also “jars of water” that you can turn into wine. I count on you to make the things I do bear fruit beyond my imagination.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I offer you an area of my life where I am running out of what I need. I ask you to fill up what is lacking, in trust that you will.
For Further Reflection: “How often we say: ‘I must change, I can’t go on like this … My life, on this path, will not bear fruit, it will be a useless life and I will not be happy.’ How often these thoughts come to us. … And Jesus by our side, with his hand outstretched, says to us, ‘Come, come to me. I will do the work: I will change your heart, I will change your life, I will make you happy.’ … Jesus is with us and invites us to change our life. It is he, with the Holy Spirit, who sows in us this restlessness, to change our life and to become a little better” (Pope Francis, General Audience, June 18, 2016).
Fr. Adam Zettel, LC, was ordained in 2017 and worked for three years as a high school chaplain in Dallas, Texas. Now he resides in Oakville, Ontario, serving youth and young adults.