John Chap. ii.2,3 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and
the mother of Jesus was there; and both Jesus was called, and His disciples, to the
marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto Him, They
have no wine.
Seasonably comes He at length, to the beginning of miracles, even if He seems to
have been called to it without set purpose. For a marriage feast being held (it is
clear that it was altogether holily), the mother of the Saviour is present, and
Himself also being bidden comes together with His own disciples, to work miracles
rather than to feast with them, and yet more to sanctify the very beginning of the
birth of man: I mean so far as appertains to the flesh. For it was fitting that He,
Who was renewing the very nature of man, and refashioning it all for the better,
should not only impart His blessing to those already called into being, but also
prepare before grace for those soon to be born, and make holy their entrance into
being.
       Receive also yet a third reason. It had been said to the woman by God, In
sorrow thou shalt bring forth children. How then was it not needful that we should
thrust off this curse too, or how else could we escape a condemned marriage? This
too the Saviour, being loving to man, removes. For He, the Delight and Joy of all,
honoured marriage with His Presence, that He might expel the old shame of
child-bearing. For if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; and old things are
passed away, as Paul saith, they are become new. He cometh therefore with. His
disciples to the marriage. For it was needful that the lovers of miracles should be
present with the Wonderworker, to collect what was wrought as a kind of food to
their faith. But when wine failed the feasters, His mother called the Lord being good
according to His wonted Love for man, saying, They have no wine. For since it was
in His Power to do whatsoever He would, she urges Him to the miracle.
4 Jesus saith unto her Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet
come.
Most excellently did the Saviour fashion for us this |156 discourse also. For it
behoved Him not to come hastily to action, nor to appear a Worker of miracles as
though of His Own accord, but, being called, hardly to come thereto, and to grant
the grace to the necessity rather than to the lookers on. But the issue of things
longed for seems somehow to be even more grateful, when granted not off-hand to
those who ask for it, but through a little delay put forth to most lovely hope.
Besides, Christ hereby shews that the deepest honour is due to parents, admitting
out of reverence to His Mother what He willed not as yet to do.
5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever He saith unto you, do.
The woman having great influence to the performing of the miracle, prevailed,
persuading the Lord, on account of what was fitting, as her Son. She begins the
work by preparing the servants of the assembly to obey the things that should be
enjoined.
7, 8, 9, 10 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled
them up to the brim. And He saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the
governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the
water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was (but the servants which
drew the water knew); the governor of the feast called the bridegroom and saith
unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine, and when men have
well drunk, then that which is worse; but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
The ministers accomplish what is commanded, and by unspeakable might was the
water changed into wine. For what is hard to Him Who can do all things? He that
calleth into being things which are not, how will He weary, trans-ordering into what
He will things already made? They marvel at the thing, as strange; for such are
Christ's works to look upon. But the governor of the feast charges the bridegroom
with expending what was better on the latter end of the feast, not unfitly, as
appears to me, according to the narration of the story. |157
11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His
glory, and His disciples believed on Him.
Many most excellent things were accomplished at once through the one first
miracle. For honourable marriage was sanctified, the curse on women put away (for
no more in sorrow shall they bring forth children, now Christ has blessed the very
beginning of our birth), and the glory of our Saviour shone forth as the sun's rays,
and more than this, the disciples are confirmed in faith by the miracle.
The historical account then will stop here, but I think we ought to consider the other
view of what has been said, and to say what is therein signified. The Word of God
came down then from Heaven, as He Himself saith, in order that having as a
Bridegroom, made human nature His own, He might persuade it to bring forth the
spiritual offspring of Wisdom. And hence reasonably is the human nature called the
bride, the Saviour the Bridegroom; since holy Scripture carries up language from
human things to a meaning that is above us. The marriage is consummated on the
third day, that is, in the last times of the present world: for the number three gives
us beginning, middle, end. For thus is the whole of time measured. And in harmony
with this do we see that which is said by one of the prophets, "He hath smitten,
and He will bind us up. After two days will He revive us, in the third day He will
raise us up, and we shall live in His Sight. Then shall we know if we follow on to
know the Lord; His going forth is prepared as the morning." Hosea 6:1-3. For He
smote us for the transgression of Adam, saying, Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt
thou return. That which was smitten by corruption and death He bound up on the
third day: that is, not in the first, or in the middle, but in the last ages, when for us
made Man, He rendered all our nature whole, raising it from the dead in Himself.
Wherefore He is also called the Firstfruits of them that slept. Therefore in saying it
was the third day, whereon the marriage was being consummated, he signifies the
last time.
He mentions the place too; for he says it was in Cana of Galilee. Let him that loves
learning again note well: for not in Jerusalem is the gathering, but without Judaea
is the feast celebrated, as it were in the country of the Gentiles. For it is Galilee of
the gentiles, as the prophet saith. It is I suppose altogether plain, that the
synagogue of the Jews rejected the Bridegroom from Heaven, and that the church of
the Gentiles received Him, and that very gladly. The Saviour comes to the marriage
not of His own accord; for He was being bidden by many voices of the Saints. But
wine failed the feasters; for the law perfected nothing, the Mosaic writing sufficed
not for perfect enjoyment, but neither did the measure of implanted sobriety reach
forth so as to be able to save us.
It was therefore true to say of us too, They have no wine. But the Bounteous God
doth not overlook our nature worn out with want of good things. He set forth wine
better than the first, for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life. And the law
hath no perfection in good things, but the Divine instructions of Gospel teaching
bring in fullest blessing. The ruler of the feast marvels at the wine: for every one, I
suppose, of those ordained to the Divine Priesthood, and entrusted with the house
of our Saviour Christ, is astonished at His doctrine which is above the Law. But
Christ commandeth it to be given to him first, because, according to the voice of
Paul, The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. And let
the hearer again consider what I say.
Homilies
St. Cyril of Alexandria
On the Wedding of Cana of Galilee