And Jesus said to them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it to him. When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom, and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.”
I think wedding planners hate when this gospel is read, “Just stay with the good wine first, cheap wine after dinner.” Jesus, however, says and lives the opposite.
“Wine enters through the mouth, Love, the eyes. I raise the glass to my mouth, I look at you, I sigh.” ― William Butler Yeats
But that’s not our Christian faith as Jesus tells us, in spite of talking back to his mother. My mother would have had the soap out so fast…
“I pray you, do not fall in love with me, for I am falser than vows made in wine.”
― William Shakespeare
Wine. It is the most special of all the spirits. If you think the Mass has a ritual just try sitting with a friend for dinner who considers himself a wine connoisseur. Big ritual. First the bottle is held in front of him, label up, as though it’s been a lost but now found treasure. The cork is popped and everyone’s delighted except the connoisseur who may wish to smell the cork, for whatever reason. A small portion is carefully poured into the connoisseur’s glass. Silence surrounds the table. Tensions mount. I’m just thirsty.
A swirl then occurs as the glass swirls measuring this one against other wines he’s enjoyed over the years. Finally, he takes a small sip. Swirling continues only now within his mouth. He swallows. And, without speaking, looks up at the waiter and smiles. We all give a huge sigh because we don’t need to go through a second or third attempt. The wine is then served, half full to us, patiently waiting, thirsting patrons.
“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.”
― W.C. Fields
The gospel uses a wedding to illustrate our wedding – our union with God. Like man to woman is our Creator to the creature. To celebrate this union is, what else except, a glass of wine. Later to become his blood for our salvation.
Just like our human life, the lessor wine is served first. Interesting. Jesus does a magic trick with ordinary wine to show us the mystical giving of himself through his extraordinary death and resurrection.
Life has all its trials and successes, its doubts and its faithful beliefs – as best as we can be faithful to them. The end of life is the beginning of our complete life with God. Some people believe that this life is a test, testing whether we deserve that “good wine.” That’s a false belief. God’s kingdom on earth is the foretaste of life in heaven. (Get it? “Taste!) The song sings, “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.” Taste and see and live and breathe God’s kingdom here and now, this very day, and then know that its fullness waits for us all.
“Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages.”
― Louis Pasteur
Jesus transformed the first-served-cheap-wine into a new wine united with him. This occurs in both of our lives – the one here and now with him as our companion and guide, and along side of him in heaven.
Heaven’s wine-ritual isn’t that elaborate restaurant routine. Heaven’s wine is the tombstone inscription for Frank Sinatra, “The Best Is Yet To Come.”
God sings to each of us at the end of our lives, “The best is yet to come and won’t it be fine…the best it yet to come, come the day that you’re Mine.”
“Beer is made by men, wine by God.”
― Martin Luther