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Water Into Wine -- from the Ordinary to the Extraordinary

Christmas has come and gone.  The Wise Men have brought their gifts to the Christ Child and have begun their long journey homeward.  The Holy Family have fled to Egypt and and returned to their hometown of Nazareth.  Jesus' growing up years have come and gone.  (There is little in the Bible about those experiences except his meeting in the Temple when he was 12 years old.)  Now, together with his mother, Jesus attends a wedding in the town of Cana of Galilee.  It is obvious they haven't arrived at the beginning of the wedding feasting as the party has been going for awhile.  We know this because they had already run out of wine.  Probably poor planning on the part of the manager of the feast.

Mary sees the problem and like all good moms comes up with a solution to what could develop into a humiliating disaster for the bride and groom.  No one can ever accuse Mary from being an agressive figure in the Scriptural accounts about her, but she wasn't weak, either.  She knew who Jesus was, her human son, to be sure, but also the incarnate Son of God.  While the Scripture does not state explicitly, I have no doubt that Mary was present at Jesus' baptism, saw him make that commitment to give his earthly existence over to the full will of the Heavenly Father.  Now she asks him to help their friends.  His response is often misunderstood as a disrespectful  question designed to put Mary in her place.  I don't think so.  Rather, his manner of address was common and was not tinged with disrespect as the English translation would seem to indicate.  Actually, Jesus seemed to ask Mary if this was indeed the time for him to begin revealing his extraordinary ministry.  Her response:  "Do whatever he tells you to do."

With that expression of faith and caring, Jesus turned to the servants, told them to fill the jars with water.  His power turned that ordinary water into wine, the best wine the master of the feast had ever tasted.  He didn't understand why the best wine was kept until the last.

There are so many lessons we can learn from this, from Mary's simple admonition we should all adopt as a guiding principle for living.  But even more so, there is the amazine habit jesus had of taking ordinary situation, ordinary substances, ordinary people, and making of all of those truly estraordinary situations, substances, and people.  It is always Jesus' way.  The work of redemption that begins in each of us when we open our hearts and lives to Jesus is an ongoing work of grace, one that keeps on inspiring each of us to do our best, be the best we can be, and live each day in the will of God with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Father, send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord.  To him, to you, and to the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and forever.  Amen.

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