The other day my girls (ages 6, 4, and 2) decided they wanted to play superheroes. So—true to the form—they tied towels around their necks and went zipping around, announcing the great saving actions they were in the midst of executing. My personal favorite (which I suspect is not very familiar to boy superheroes around town) was the following, “There is a party without a cake! Superheroes to the rescue!!” I had to laugh at the sweetness and the sense of urgency that the girls felt in rescuing this otherwise-doomed birthday celebration. Somehow I got to thinking, though—was it really so much stranger than the wedding feast at Cana? Having grown up on stories of Jesus’ first sign and the importance it had as the beginning of his public ministry, I hadn’t given much thought to the actual substance of Christ’s first miracle. But then I thought—restocking the wine at a party? *This* is the first thing that Jesus does that reveals who He is? It could almost seem absurd; it is certainly singular, as we never hear of another miracle like it. It definitely suggests the truthfulness of the Gospels—for who would make up a story like that? The more I thought about it, though, the more it suggested something bigger: a tenderness on Christ’s part towards some of the basic realities of our human social reality; a concern for the awkwardness that sometimes surrounds party preparations; an awareness of human financial and personal limitations in putting on a great feast; and a recognition of the real importance that a wedding has in the lives of many people. Jesus wasn’t just saving a party, he was revealing who He was--but part of that was, also, saving a party! And, as we know, when Jesus saved a party—He did it right: the wine was better than the wine the hosts had served before. His grace is always greater than the need it answers. Which should make us feel better about leftovers of all kinds…(note that leftovers are also prominently featured in the miracle of the loaves and fishes).
While Christ (as far as we know) never felt moved to replicate the miracle He performed at Cana, His intervention in this social situation can also serve to remind us that attentiveness to the social and practical needs of others—especially when it comes to major events—was (and is) something meaningful to the Lord and His mother. When we bring food to one another, or prepare something for a gathering, or help a host with his duties, it’s worth remembering that what we’re doing is for Christ.