The Chosen - Episode 5
The Gospel is not so much an argument to assent to (though there are many arguments one can make for the Gospel); but more than this, the Gospel is a person that you place your confidence in.
Episode 5 of the Chosen. Thomas is there helping provide the wine and food for the wedding of a couple in Cana of Galilee. Instead of 40 in attendance, Jesus and his entourage and some other friends have come and the wedding reception has swollen to upwards of 80 thirsty people. Thomas instructs the servants as a wedding song wafts in from the courtyard, where guests sing and dance. “When the song is over,” Thomas says, “bring out the olives and the cheeses, and set them on the long table between the loaves of bread and cucumbers.” He says to the servers: “Lighten your pours… Three quarters full. If they ask for more, tell them you’ll be right back. But guess what? You won’t be… Go!”
Weddings for us today; you come in, you do a twenty-five minute ceremony, you have a one-hour reception, with some wedding cake in the church basement, and that’s it. As far as first century Jewish weddings go… Wedding feasts were big things! It was the biggest day in the life of a person in this part of the world in this time, and it was not just a sedate little party. It was a regional festival. It was sort of like a honeymoon / family reunion / bridal shower / bachelor party all rolled into one. It was quite a festivity and was the best week of the couples life. These were typically 7-day celebrations, with people coming and going at random times. The couple was married on day one and ratified the marriage. The other six days were for celebrating. You would need a lot of food and wine. And as far as weddings go, picture clay platters of food and jugs of wine. Picture dancing and high joy. And no matter when you showed up, you were always guaranteed something really good to drink!
The groom, back in those days-- the groom-- was the one who footed the bill. And the groom's family footed the bill, not the bride's family that has now been traditional in our culture. So he's responsible for all the fixings, all the meal, all the expense.
Mary, Jesus’ mother, finds out about the wine shortage and she hurts for the Bride and Groom and their families because of the embarrassing situation this places them in. Mary went to Jesus “We can’t let the celebration end like this…”
Mary, was there. Joseph, her husband, is not mentioned. Joseph had died by this time. Now, we know, in three years when Jesus is on the cross, Mary is placed into the care of John the Apostle by Jesus because Joseph isn't around to take care of her. So most scholars assume that, probably by this time already, Joseph has passed away. Jesus is there. She would be dependent upon Jesus, the eldest son-- the responsibility to take care of her.
So, with no Joseph in the picture, Mary turns to her oldest miracle son with a request. Jesus pulls Mary away from the others and says “My time has not yet come.” Mary cover’s Jesus’ hand with her own and holds his gaze, “If not now, when?”
Jesus softens and sighs, allowing a hint of a smile. Mary grins and pulls away. She’s seen that look a hundred times before. She tells Thomas and his friend, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Jesus has them to fill the water jars and dismisses everyone from the room. He leans over the mouth of one of the vessels, his candlelit reflection gazing back from the water. He looks up… A great weight crashes over Jesus as he realizes the step he’s about to take. This public act will begin a new existence for him… His role, his calling, his destiny will become known to all. No turning back. Jesus closes his eyes, lowers his head, and sighs, “I’m ready Father.”