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Crisis at a Wedding by Fr. Vincent McCorry, S.J.
wasn’t a big wedding. Naturally, there was the usual week of festivities, but these
people were country folk, not at all sophisticated or affluent, and they
had calculated the whole business of food, wine and people somewhat
closely. Then, in the middle
of it all, the newcomers from Judea had walked in.
They were six in number-most of them brave trenchermen, who never
refused another small measure of wine either.
It wasn’t as if they weren’t welcome—especially
Mary’s son, now a tall, grown man.
But no one had been sure that he, much less his new and rather
plain friends, would appear. Appear
they did, and before long you could feel worry circulating like a current
of cold air. There are
certain deficiencies that simply must not occur at a wedding feast, and
the worst one of all was beginning to be suspected at this wedding feast.
The whole male company was sitting more or less, merrily
at dinner on the day following the arrival of the late guests, but the
talk was not what it had been. The
groom scarcely looked the part. He
was trying to eat, and pretending not to notice the empty cups on the
tables. On either side of him
his father and his bride’s father struggled to converse with their
nearest neighbor. At the foot
of one of the tables, the biggest of the arrivals from the south, the one
they called Simon, was telling how sumptuously weddings were celebrated.
He recalled his own in his hometown, Capharnaum.
At another table, Mary’s son was sitting quietly.
He appeared to have a drop of wine left in his cup, for
occasionally he raised it to his lips. And then it happened very quickly.
Mary of Nazareth came out of the kitchen--a graceful and quiet
woman, carrying a tray as if to gather up dishes.
But she made straight for where her son was sitting, and standing
behind him, leaning a little toward him, she said something in a low
voice. He turned immediately,
and for a moment his face lit up as it always did when he saw his mother.
Then his expression went blank, even a mite severe.
He talked briefly, earnestly, to his mother.
She said nothing, just stood there looking at him.
For a minute it was like a tableau: the two of them seemed unaware
that everyone was watching them. And
then the son of Mary smiled. He
made a slight movement as if shrugging his shoulders.
His Mother smiled back and at her smile the whole room grew bright.
She put out her hand and laid it for a moment on her son’s
shoulder. Then she turned
back to the kitchen, only pausing to say a word to the waiters who were
standing uncertainly together. Her
son was already rising from his place.
order the feast was a real feast again.
Every wine cup was filled and filled again.
The man named Simon was saying that Cana wasn’t such a bad place,
after all. And the lynx-eyed
man on the left of Mary’s son, clutching his cup, was vehemently telling
him how much he would have made on this year’s crops if his rock-headed
brother hadn’t bungled the whole deal.
In a moment of quiet someone said what everyone was thinking: “There you are. She can do anything with him.”
A reflection on the Gospel for the Second Sunday after Epiphany (John 2:3-4) Condensed from The Gospel of Now by Fr. Vincent McCorry, SJ. © 1968, Herder & Herder, NY, and as originally appeared in America magazine.
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