There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.
Because Christmas fell on Sunday the liturgical post-Christmas season is very short. Epiphany falls on the eighth day of January, the Baptism of the Lord on Monday -- it's usually on Sunday -- and we simply cannot go into Ordinary Time without reading today's passage from Saint John, The Wedding Feast at Cana.
This is the "inauguration" of Jesus' ministry. It is rich with symbolism and spiked with loaded words like wine, hour, mother and disciples; plus it carries the gladness of a wedding banquet and the promise of unexpected deliverance.
In today's collect we pray that "we too may one day merit to become companions in his kingdom of grace." Jesus' companions were invited with him and Mary to the wedding banquet; they were privileged to witness what no one else saw or understood. Seeing the sign, "his disciples began to believe in him."
Belief in Saint John's gospel seems to shine, flicker, waver, sometimes disappear, and suddenly, brilliantly flash. In the sixth chapter Jesus will tell those who believed in him about eating his flesh. Many will abandon him at that point. Whatever he means by this extraordinary statement, some "believers" suddenly lose faith and leave him. Jesus will ask the rest of the group, "Will you also leave me?"
When he appears to his disciples on Easter Thomas is not with them. Where is he? When the disciples report to him, perhaps trying to gather him back to the fellowship, he loudly mocks them. But he does at least gather with them by that second Sunday; at which time he makes the most extraordinary declaration of faith, "My Lord and my God!"
As we leave Christmas 2016 in the past and continue into this brave new year, 2017, we hope our faith has been renewed and restored by what we have seen. We will certainly be tested. The challenges of this year -- economic, political and personal -- will required more than an opinion about Jesus. They will require courage to think, speak and do the right thing.
But, Thank God, Jesus will go with us every step of the way.