“Water into Whine” by Brian Flanagan, Fiat Ventures

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week’s Gospel is a familiar story of one of Jesus’ miracles (his first public miracle in fact); that of his turning water into wine at the Wedding Feast at Cana.  The short version is that the newlyweds run out of wine at their banquet, and Mary brings this to Jesus’ attention.  He then takes something very ordinary (water) and turns it into something extraordinary (wine).  The crowd goes wild, three cheers for Jesus, hip hip hooray!  You know the story.

If you’re like me, you might tune out this story because you’ve heard it a bajillion times, and you might think, “right, the one about the wedding.  Well I’m not married so I guess this doesn’t apply to me right now.  Can’t we go back to Jesus teaching the crowds about taking care of the poor or loving your neighbor?”  But when we do that with this or any passage, we miss out on a lot.  There’s something happening in this passage that goes far beyond marriage advice.  The key here is that Jesus is taking something ordinary and drawing something extraordinary out of it.

So how do we apply this?  Do we pray that Jesus would turn expired milk in the fridge into fresh milk for our Cinnamon Toast Crunch?  Do we pray that he would turn Coke into Sprite after we accidentally spill it on our grandmother’s brand new light gray carpet?  Well you can try those prayers, but let’s think broader than turning one liquid into another.

When we have a problem, we often look at the tools we have available to approach the situation and instead of asking Jesus to turn our proverbial water into wine, we turn our water into WHINE.  We might complain about it, we might imagine ourselves holding up a bucket of water to Jesus saying, “Seriously? What am I supposed to do with this?”

But the equation isn’t even Water + Jesus = Wine.  It’s Water + Jesus + Trust = Wine.  For me anyway, trust is usually the missing ingredient.  Letting Jesus help me through something instead of trying to handle it all myself.  Even in the passage, they had to give Jesus the water first.

I recently moved, and between painting the new house, cleaning the old one, packing everything and loading it up, all while I had a busy schedule in addition to all of that, I found myself wishing I had more time.  I often wished throughout this process that I could just pause time, and one night when I got gas at a 24 hour station on the way home, it was so late that I didn’t even know whether to tell the guy to “have a great night” or “have a nice day.  But all throughout the moving process, I tried not to “whine”, but rather to let the Lord transform particularly my time from something ordinary into something extraordinary.

I do feel like he gave me an extra boost at times to work harder and faster, but the real help came in the form of friends and family offering to help even when it was unexpected.  The move went much quicker than expected, and in addition to getting work done, there were lots of opportunities for “quality time” with those friends and family who helped us, which I think was the real “wine” here.  My brother and I in particular really got to reconnect.  We hadn’t been seeing each other very frequently, but we were painting side by side and talking every night for almost a week.  It also helped that he has a pickup truck.

So think about a problem or a situation you have going on right now that you don’t think you have the tools or the resources to deal with.  Then take another look around, and you might be surprised at the water you have, and of what the Lord can make from it if you ask for his help.

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