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JN 2: 1-11
The Second Sunday after the Epiphany
(John is standing in for LK who apparently wasn't at the party!)

Whenever, wherever there's a celebration, look for Jesus among the guests. Unlike many of his so-called 'followers' over the years, Jesus is no kill-joy. When Manning Clark in his monumental 'A History of Australia' (Melbourne University Press, '87, Vol.6, p.156) writes: 'The parson and the priest stood between the people and the pursuit of pleasure', he sums up what has often been the case. I wonder whether there was at least an element of that in the happenings at the foot of Mt. Sinai, too (EX 32)? ,  Nor has what Clark called 'standing between....' been the sole prerogative of the ordained! Many lay people have been pretty good, also, at being their brother & sister's keeper! However, Jesus is prepared to celebrate & take the risk of being criticised & ostracised for it. Today, with their emphasis on the importance of commensality in the Gospels, at least some of our theologians are attempting to restore the Jesus perspective.

Whatever we make of the celebration at Cana & what happened at it, JN wants us to see that people were having a good time & Jesus was in the midst of it. However Jesus provided extra wine to keep up the party-goers spirits(!), JN wants us to see more than this resulting in disciples believing in him. He paints a picture of a truly celebratory Word made flesh. Flesh for whom it's OK to eat, drink, & be merry. When this reading comes up, I always picture Jesus dancing Jewish dances like those in 'Fiddler on the Roof' with his fellow guests, relatives & friends. And enjoying every moment of it. Sadly, I don't know of any painting of such a Jesus, nor any stained glass window! Does anyone know of such things?

The old catechism spoke of 'the chief end of man' being to 'glorify God and enjoy him for ever'. Our religion would be a whole lot more fun in every sense if we could take that on board & really enjoy God & the creation more fully. Even a very little wine might be made to go a very long way under such circumstances!