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Bishop Ger Nash

During the Christmas Holiday time I was privileged to celebrate a wedding of some friends in my native Co. Clare. During the ceremony, a guest, very talented in traditional music played a beautiful slow air to accompany the procession of bread and wine to the altar. She played from her seat where she was sitting beside her husband and two daughters. As the tune came to an end, there was dead silence in the church for a few seconds as we all savoured the last notes of the tune. Then from right beside her came a great Hurrah, a Clare shout of appreciation of the tune from her two-year-old daughter. The moment has stayed with me because I think it was a wonderful God given moment. God was searching for a voice to show His appreciation of a beautiful spiritual moment and the only one who was willing to be God’s voice was the little girl. “Unless you become like little children . . .. “ Jesus said.

Over and over again in the Gospels we see that it is not always those in charge or those who are learned who understand the presence of God. Instead, it is the children, the shepherds on Christmas night, the outcasts and the people on the margins who see God’s power at work in Jesus.

One little phrase from today’s Gospel of the wedding feast of Cana reminds us of this same thing. When the water turned into wine, the steward, who was supposed to know everything was at a loss. He was a man who believed that life needed explanation and order and he was put out by the up-ending of the usual order. “People usually serve the best wine first etc. . . .. “ But the people who did know, who were given the insight into what happened are revealed in the phrase – “only the servants who had drawn the water knew”. This story, the wedding feast of Cana is a story of God revealing himself in overpowering generosity. The figures given in the story amount to between 500 and 800 litres of wine! God doesn’t do half measures is what the Gospel writer wanted us to hear. But to see it and to hear it and to appreciate it we must experience it in the heart. The servants after their hard work had a physical link to the water – it wasn’t just a theory – their muscles ached from the task. And they experience the miracle in a very immediate way. It was also from a feeling in the heart that Jesus was called to show his power. It was Mary’s sense in her heart of the crisis for the family that urged her to point out to Jesus that the wine had run out. Maybe this Gospel says, “Think with your heart to see the presence of God”


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