The "new wine" of Cana (Jn 2: 1-12)

Publish date 29-07-2022

by Anna Maria Del Prete

Before meeting the women who accompany Jesus in his public life, let us dwell on another aspect of Mary who, after having generated him in the flesh, now generates him in public life, opening a new path that will lead Jesus beyond the ties of blood and his mother beyond. beyond the maternal role to assume the disciple-prophetic one.
His is like a second generation, historical and spiritual.
"Maria, woman who prepares new wine". Among the many titles given to Maria, I think this is little known, but it seemed very important to me.
Let's try to deepen it. We are at a wedding feast in Cana of Galilee and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.

The first news that John gives us is the presence of the Mother of Jesus, the true protagonist. We are struck by the sensitivity with which she senses the spouses' disappointment for the lack of wine, an essential element in a wedding banquet. Of course this is an important aspect, but I think John wants to emphasize how Mary senses that she has come "the hour" of Jesus, or, perhaps, she anticipates it. For the Evangelist "the hour" illuminates the whole path of Jesus, the "hour" of his glorification with his passion, death and resurrection. It is the "hour" of the exaltation on the royal throne of the cross to which the resurrection and ascension are intimately connected. It is his Easter, his passage from the world to the Father.
Jesus still does not realize it: «Woman what do you want from me? My time has not yet come. ' A firm and perhaps even rude answer. But the mother does not give up and urges the servants to do whatever he says.
And Jesus orders the six purification jars, still empty, to be filled with water. This water will be transformed into wine, and Jesus is the author of it.

Wine in the Old Testament is considered the symbol of all gifts from God, it is the drink of life that gives consolation, joy and heals man's suffering. This tradition is preserved in the New Testament, in which it reaches its climax at the Last Supper, where it is distributed by Jesus like his blood.
Very similar is the meaning of wine attributed by Giovanni in the pericope we are examining. It is a sign of the Messiah, of the incarnate Word who transformed the water of Sinaitic revelation into the wine of his Word, the Truth that fulfills the Mosaic Law. The Word of God came to tell us that God is Father, he loves us and wants to save us. And salvation no longer lies in obedience to the prescriptions of the Law on which the ancient economy of salvation was founded, it is no longer able to purify the heart of man and enrich it with the joy that God wants to give him. It is Jesus, the Messiah who brings salvation.

He is the good "wine", the supreme and perfect revelation that will flow from the royal throne of the cross, suffused with the glory of the resurrection. Therefore Mary intervenes and asks the Son for an advance on the wine of the New Covenant that will flow, inexhaustible in the hour of the cross. "They have no more wine" is not the trait of a providential kindness that wants to avoid the embarrassment of the couple. It is a cry of alarm that wants to avoid the death of the world. A cry that resounds, strong, even today, it is up to us to welcome it and approach the source of that Wine to receive and transmit it.

Anna Maria Del Prete
NP March 2022

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