Gospel Reading for Second Sunday after Epiphany (Year C)
Keep the party going. That was Jesus' first miracle in the Gospel of John. Not restoring sight to the blind or healing some debilitating physical ailment, but to provide great wine at a wedding party when the rest of the drink had run out. It stands out from the rest of the stories in the gospels. You have to wonder how Matthew, Mark, and Luke would have written about the tale. Did they know if it? Did it seem too inconsequential for inclusion? Yet many have pointed out the importance of Jesus blessing a common event. The fact that God's Son brought joy and festivity to an occasion curbs that pious impulse to be a church of Debbie Downers.
Yet Jesus isn't all "The party don't start 'til I walk in." He comes off as irritable, grumpy. "Woman, it is not yet my time." Those aren't the words of a guy taking part in the festivities. That's the dude in the corner with a sour look on his face. He is probably dipping a raw piece of broccoli into ranch dressing because all the cheese cubes were taken and the line at the carving station is way too long.
"Woman, it is not yet my time." It's like Mary has been on his case for ages to do something, anything concerning his great calling. "Gosh, Mom, alright!" Jesus almost seems hesitant, which is noteworthy in a gospel for such a high Christology, a gospel where he seems almost superhuman. But in that moment where his mother is prodding him, Jesus seems very much like the rest of us. He needs a push a pursue his calling.
And I wonder if that was why Jesus comes off as so irritable. Maybe he was wrestling with the fact that he had this calling but he didn't know where or how to start. He felt stymied. His mom kept pushing and he kept waiting for the right moment. Yet it was time for God's reign to start breaking into this world. It was time for everything to start springing for life. And, you know, a party is the perfect place for that to begin. The beginning of Jesus' ministry is worthy of a celebration.
I like to think that Jesus began to enjoy himself at the party after that. He had taken that first step and the weight was off his shoulders. I like to believe that he danced and laughed. Perhaps Mary gave him that look that all mothers give their sons when their proven right. And Jesus smiled and hugged her tightly. I bet he gave a killer toast. He was no longer the grumpy guy, but the life of the party. Granted, that is all in my imagination, but I hope that there is some truth in it.