Everyone knows the story, but what does it tell? What do you think?

Last week we were invited to ponder and pray the gift of our Baptism, of that Holy Spirit that connects us with God and one another.

As Jesus began his ministry following the events there at the Jordan River, so as His Body, we are called to share that same mission, guided by both His example and the Holy Spirit He was born to share.

In John’s Gospel, one of the first moves our Messiah and Christ makes happen at a wedding. We know the story, but what does it tell us? Or, who do you tell what it tells you? That’s a key move in our being faithful to the mission we share, to the gift, mystery and promise of Christmas.

Each of us has ‘eyes to see’ and ‘ears to hear’ and we use those gifts as tools for understanding and sharing our experience of Grace guiding us.

This new year will offer us the opportunity to ‘tell our truth’ as we accept the invitation to participate in the synod. But, the telling of our truth, will, as Pope Francis recently reminded us, take humility and trust.

As I look at the challenge that the synod presents us, I see that trust having at least two dimensions.

First, we need to trust that God’s Holy Spirit is really working in our own lives, to trust that the ‘ordinary’ gleams with the glory of God and the mystery of Grace. Below I share some of Joe Frankenfield’s musings on that truth in light of the Cana miracle and the experience of wedding.

Then, we also need to trust those who listen to us and to whom we will be invited to listen in the synod process, our neighbors and fellow parts of the Body of Christ. Sister Nathalie Becquart, undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops, explains:

“…synodality is coming from the ‘I’ to the ‘us’.

“Synodality means recognizing that being a Christian is being part of a community with shared gifts and responsibilities, called to listen to the way the Holy Spirit is inspiring each of the baptized and collaborating to find more effective means of sharing the Gospel. It is to highlight that what we have in common through baptism is more important than all our differences of status, age, vocation or roles.”

Most of us live our vocation and Baptism as partners in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony: we’re married. Which brings us around to the Cana miracle story we know…and understand?

“Worrying that a wedding won’t go right has gone on since there have been weddings. No one knows whose wedding Mary was attending with Jesus and his friends. It must have been a relative or important friend because Mary was intent that things go well when the wine ran out.

“When they comment on this gospel, scripture scholars and preachers often present Jesus’ actions at this wedding as John’s demonstration of his power over nature. There is, however, also the point that God is active in the ordinary.

“Even two thousand years ago, there were a lot of weddings. Not only were they common, they were doubtlessly as problematic then as they are today. For every family always has an uncle who’s always too boisterous, an aunt who will complain about the arrangements in heaven, an old friend who doesn’t know when he’s had too many beers and music too loud.

“That’s a wedding two thousand years ago—or today. And there, at the third table next to the table holding the cake and stacks of little plates, sits God. (Jesus was there!)

“It’s an absurd picture. And yet, it’s a warm picture and a comforting one. And it makes us smile.

“We live in a world full of craziness. All around us are countless people full of hope and love, generosity and dreams. But, mixed in are those who cause great evil and intense suffering. Sometimes it all exists in the same person; enough to drive one nuts--or worse, to despair.

“Several times in the gospels Jesus makes the point that this is how it has to be: we grow with good that contains evil. There is no life that does not involve death, no love that does not involve indifference. Jesus made this point using an image of a field of grain containing weeds that must be allowed to grow as is until the harvest makes sorting possible.

“The web of relationships that is human life has to grow. We do not start off mature, with unity and the willingness to sacrifice that makes love possible.

“We grow individually and communally. It is a slow journey with false starts and wandering paths. Our faith is that God not only understands this but creates it as the order of things that ultimately makes love possible. And love is the ultimate gift of our existence. Love is our union in God.

“And through it all, there’s God sitting at a table, eating roast beef, carrots and peas and ducking off to make sure that there’s enough wine to keep the party going.

“The Christian view of life is full of paradox. The ordinary is special. The profane is sacred. The Creator is one with the created. Truth embraces and unites these realities. Reality is deeper than the words.

“Our world is a crazy place: so much that is beautiful, so much that is ugly. But we keep moving, willing to accept painful stumbles that can’t be avoided, doing our best to stay on the road with our eyes fixed on God’s Future. And every now and then we stop for a glass of wine--amazingly good wine--and to make sure that our neighbor’s glass is full too.”

In the coming synod, we’ve been invited to share the growth and help discern how it is that God is guiding us.

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." (Colossians 3:16)