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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Compassion

"They have no wine." Jn 2:3

Today's gospel recounting the wedding feast at Cana lends itself easily to our own lives.  When Mary tells Jesus, "They have no wine," she could just as easily have said, "They have no coats, no food, no clean water, no hope." In the Jewish world that Jesus knew, the family of those being married had only one responsibility, to provide everyone with enough food and wine for a feast that might last several days. Not to offer their guests a simple table wine would have shamed the family and the newly married couple, and since the poor had only one real opportunity to celebrate in this manner, the shame would have followed them everywhere.

Mary knows this and points it out to Jesus who wonders why the failure of another family to prepare properly for a wedding is any of his business. He might have been feeling compassion for them but hesitates to interfere in a direct way and bring attention to himself. If he sent his disciples to buy wine, it might have embarrassed the couple more deeply. Clearly, another way of easing the tension in the situation was needed. When Jesus tells the stewards to fetch six stone water jars, no one could have known what he intended to do, and when the head waiter tasted the "new wine" he had no idea where it came from, but was amazed that this very fine wine had not been served earlier.  The party continued; no one was embarrassed or shamed, and the identity of Jesus begins to be revealed.

Today, do something for another anonymously.

Has a friend ever helped you avoid embarrassment or shame?

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