Weddings are one of several memorable events that become permanently stamped in our memory banks.
Later in life, we can still recall the kaleidoscope of sights, sounds and smells of a great wedding. Because we still feel the couples’ joy as we watched them walk the aisle toward their beloveds.
What can make a perfect wedding?
Is it the weather, the venue, the wine, food, and candy or the people? Or is it all of the above?
Surely, the wedding party is always the show stopper for anyone/everyone who catches sight of them. The bystanders are always silently spellbound by the appearance of a wedding party in hopes of seeing the bride and the groom. These bystanders however, include neighbors, strangers out and about for the day, and friends and relatives arriving for the wedding.
Often times, we are delighted by the sight of the wedding party but specifically by the adorable, young flower girls and ring bearers and the couple to be wed. The bystanders’ only get broken when the wedding party disappears from their sight.
The truth is that the recent weddings are short and sweet compared to weddings from the biblical era. Just imagine the planning that went into weddings from years past! Think about the amount of food and wine that was consumed. Imagine the embarrassment that came upon the wedding planner if he lacked prudence and generosity. Could that be why Mary told Jesus “They have no more wine?” But the answer Jesus gave was strange — or so it seemed. As He replied, “Woman, why does this concern us? My hour has not yet come.” [John 2:3]
So, Why did Mary involve Jesus into the fray? And why did Jesus refer to her as Woman? As theologians have definitely developed great answers for these questions it should still cause us to ponder about them from our private vantage point.
In this case, Mary was truly hoping to reduce the embarrassment of the bride and groom’s parents; but, what else? Though, we all know that Mary was a very contemplative woman (who keeps all these things in her heart) and she’s ready and willing to move to God’s promptings.
So what was Mary doing for us across the ages of time?
In my own thinking, she was defining authentic JOY for all of us! I don’t think we necessarily associate authentic joy or love with a wedding in recent times.
According to Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Mary was teaching us that authentic JOY simply means that we must first must turn and follow Jesus if we wish to seek and find authentic joy in life, in marriage, or in parenthood, Hence the letter J of the word “joy”.
Secondly, we are called to put Others first before our selves, our spouse, children, family & close friends, work others in that order. Hence the letter O is second. Finally, we are to seek our own interests last. Hence the letter Y comes after the letters J and O. Which in summary means J esus first, O thers next, followed by Y ourself. That is exactly how to claim joy for ourselves — here, now and eternally.
This may actually be the message Mary was hoping to impart when she turned to Jesus for his help at this awkward time.
A perfect wedding is not established by the drinking of fine wine, consuming 60 pounds of candy, observing the handsome groom and the beautiful bride. But, it’s found in realizing what authentic JOY is really all about.