[Diocesan Bishop of Ranni Diocese, Marthoma Church]


In the John's gospel we have the account of Jesus turned water into wine. The occasion was a wedding, an Eastern wedding in Cana of Galilee. We too can turn the water to wine of our life. Bring the Love of God into our situation and all the humdrum; commonplace activities and normal events of any life and any family can be turned with flavor, fragrance, strength, intoxication [elcn] and inspiration, to turn them into wine. Orchid and Anthorium are not always needed to make a garden. Flowers symbolize beauty and serenity and a single rose can be your garden. Who are the flowers in our life garden? The father who comes home with a smile after hard work of the day, the mother who cook happily in the kitchen and the children with good instruction are the sweet smelling flowers of this earthly paradise. With these factors, we can create the most beautiful garden of the world.

However, it is most painful that survey and calculations reveal that family feud and divorce is on a tremendous increase in our Churches. There is a great need of pre-marriage counseling and post-marriage counseling for our couples to learn the concept of Christen marriage, and the nature of a Christian family. Jesus had called and commissioned us to create beautiful garden of our life. It is not that easy to build a family compared to that of building a house. If we are asked today; 'Watchman, how far gone is the night?'; do we have any answer for the enquiries? We have a great deal of work to do, a long journey to go; is it not time to be stirring? The question is serious! We are to take notice of the motions of the enemy and keep the fort safe. Are we serious about it?

What are the priorities of our life? Studies exploring why couples divorce tend to concentrate on lists of flimsy reasons: snoring while sleeping, less gold than agreed, dowry is not fully paid etc. etc. Are these imperative in a Christ driven family life? Jesus was at the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee along with His mother and disciples. In spite of His exaltation and greatness, Jesus humiliated Himself to enter into the marriage hall of an ordinary one. The marriage celebrated in the presence of Jesus is not to break, but to make, as Jesus create and serve the wine of love which bonds the elements of the family garden. In spite of all disasters, discomforts or distress in our family life, the hope derived out of constant communion with Lord delivers us from evil thought of its disintegration.

We have two options, the greatest lesson and the lesson that is right in front of us: Mother Teresa and Diana. Both of them searched for the light and each passed on in the way in which she lived her life. Mother Teresa gave so much of herself and lighted the bright lamp to minister the poorest of the poor, moved by human suffering and sacrificed her life to the wretched of the shacks. The awards bestowed on her did not glorify her, but on the contrary the acceptance by that glorious woman glorified those awards. Diana, who was caught up in the ersatz glamour of the wealth and privilege, had put out the lamp and searched for the light as a butterfly in her life.

A marriage, which really works, is one, which works for others. Marriage has both a private face and a public importance. If we solved all our economic problems and failed to build loving families, it would profit us nothing, because the family is the place where the future is created, good and full of love or deformed. Those who are married live happily ever after the wedding day if they persevere in the real adventure, which is the royal task of creating each other and creating a more loving world. This is true of every man and every woman undertaking marriage.

Our Lord is the one who bless us abundantly. He is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us. There is an inexhaustible fullness of grace and mercy in God, which our prayers can never draw dry. Open your mouth ever so wide, still He has wherewithal to fill it. When the disciples looked for fish for one meal, they received in plentyfulness [NmIc]. When we ask for a bit of love, our Lord offer us a sea of love. When we crave for a droplet of faith, He fills us with faith to the sky. When we seek for a flower, He confers us with a beautiful garden. When Jesus turned the water to miraculous wine, He made it in six large water-pots containing two or three firkins in each. Theologians say that it was not intended to be all drank at this feast, but it was sufficient for many more marriages. Christ gives like himself, gives abundantly, according to his riches in glory.

We are given with different type of talents in different measures. Some got money, some got time, some abilities and yet another intelligence. Once a Paris Litterateur was passing through a street. A blind beggar beaconed him and asked for alms. But the writer did not have any money to offer him. He took a piece of paper and wrote, 'Days of Spring are right around to begin from tomorrow. Nature awakens when flowers bloom but my eyes are misfortunate not to see the spring!' The paper was exhibited in front of the beggar and the writer walked away. What this mean? The writer did not spend even single penny. The poetical gift of the writer was given free to the beggar, all the passers-by read this literal note and the beggar’s coffer was filled soon.

Normally we shed tears in two scenarios. Firstly, when we are deprived of what we are deserved, we feel sorry and shed tears. Secondly, do we shed tears when we receive from God something which we are not deserved? Patriarch, Jacob was the one who did it. Jacob wept in front of God and humbly acknowledged his own unworthiness to receive any favor from God; 'I am unworthy of all the mercy and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant; for with my staff only I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two companies.'

Prophet Isaiah and Amos were shouting Israelites to pay attention and to get ready. They were begging the unconcerned to wake up and to prepare for a day of disaster which is apropos to our age too! The oppressors in Israel were threatened for their oppression of the poor. If we get weary of the warnings, if we do relent and ease up or if we fail to hear the lamentations of our neighbors, God will turn His face away from our carnivals and spiritual feasts. Tsunami had swept over lives of Lakhs of people in one sweep. Are we satisfied with rehabilitation of the survivors? Is the food, cloth and shelter suffice the agenda of the rehabilitation. How the Christian church should respond to the call for mission among them? Hearts cry out not for answers but for friends who can share their miseries and sufferings.

An Archbishop once responded in a retreat about the Christian mission to the victims of calamities. He took scripture reference of Song of Songs 8:7 to substantiate his thoughts. 'Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.' Love is a valiant victorious passion. The reigning love of God in the soul is constant and firm, and will not be drawn off from him either by fair means or foul, by life or death. Christian faith does not believe in impossible things. It trusts the promises of Christ, which never fail. Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above it. Faith is not hoping the worst will not happen, but it knows there is no tragedy, which cannot be redeemed. Hope does not ignore the shadows of suffering and death but it is strong and secure in the assurance that love is at heart of all things in the refuge of our eternal God. We are held underneath His everlasting arms, both those who died and those who mourn their dead ones. Though those died had their grave in the seabed, nevertheless, they are truly in the loving hands of our Lord as if their body lay in most gracious country Churchyard.

We should be going out of the marriage hall in victorious procession of a resurrection community. When we exhibit the courage to be the heralds of Gospel message, our own faith is strengthened and we grow in the power and wisdom of God. Through this, we bear fruits and get adorned which are the innate desire of life. There are many who had kept the good wine for the last, like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea. It is always better late than never. We should be transformed as the children of daylight and not the lovers of darkness of night.

[Extract from Message delivered at Maramon Convention 2005
Original in Malayalam : Translated by Editor Dr. Rajan Mathew Philadelphia, USA]
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