When was the last time you really enjoyed yourself - put your cares aside and had a blast? Was it a party, or a reunion with an old friend, or a paddle down the river? Each of us finds joy and gladness in different ways, but one thing is clear: Joy is God's wish for us. Jesus said, "I have come that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full!"
We get a glimpse of this in the wonderful tale of Jesus' first sign (or miracle), done at a wedding feast in the Galilean town of Cana. We know the story well - Jesus turns water into fabulous wine, over 100 gallons of it.
Jesus' first sign is meant to bring joy! The joy of a party was important enough for Jesus to intervene. These folks were very poor; in some ways they had little to celebrate in their lives. But a wedding was special. Wedding festivities in those days went on for days; at some point the wine ran out. Jesus' mother told him the problem. Jesus gave us a sign - a potent prediction of his whole ministry. He turned what was still and lifeless - water - into something lively and refreshing and joyful - wonderful wine. The old becomes new. Jesus is still doing this miracle in our lives today, and in our world.
[While wine was an integral part of life in biblical times, and three of our scriptures today mention wine, it's important to note that alcohol is a powerful substance that can make us both glad and sad. Ephesians reminds us not to drink to excess, but to depend on God's Spirit to find deep joy in life. Getting together to sing and give thanks (Eucharist) is the best way to find deep joy and satisfaction in life: wine tasting every Sunday!] JBM