Written by Dave Rempel
Sixteen stained glass windows adorn the sides of the worship space at Ascension. Inspiration for the windows was taken from the fact that in Europe long ago, the faithful would learn the Bible from stories depicted in windows. It was intended that Ascension’s windows could be similarly educational. What follows is a meditation on one of the 16 windows. Look for additional reflections in future editions of the Bulletin or on this Parish Blog.
The Wedding at Cana
Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.” His mother instructed… “Do whatever He tells you.” (John 2:3, 5)
We normally think of this mystery as Jesus’s first public miracle, in which He prefigured His institution of the Eucharist by transforming water into wine. This, however, is also a story about Mary (or simply “the mother of Jesus”, as the evangelist John calls her throughout his gospel), who told the servers to do as Jesus commanded.
In this window’s depiction of Mary, with her eyes nearly shut, the artist has captured her supreme confidence that Jesus would take care of the problem, despite His initial protestation that his hour had not yet come. We are thus reminded that Mary has such confidence as our intercessor when she implores all of us to “do whatever He tells you.”
The artist has also taken some liberties with the story by depicting Jesus with the newlyweds (with joined hands and roses at their feet), even though the gospel has Jesus addressing only the servers. (Is the other man the host? A father? The headwaiter who wondered why the best wine had been kept for last?) Thus, this scene suggests another sacrament, with Jesus seeming to act as a priest witnessing their marriage (and blessing the couple using the the three-fingered Trinitarian gesture found in other windows in the church). As Father Tom was fond of saying at Ascension weddings, every Christian marriage must include God as the third participant. Is God always present in my marriage?