It is the wedding at Cana all over again. It really is.
Everyone is celebrating. The crowds are excited and hopeful. And behind the scenes, the apostles are dealing with a crisis.
Mary sees both: the celebration and the building crisis. And she intervenes.
Right now, we are gearing up for a celebration. In September, the church will come together to celebrate the beauty of the domestic church (the family) and the sacrament of marriage. And it should be a time of celebration. A time of hope. A time of gratitude and praise for the gifts we have in marriage and family.
The event is bookended by the synods on the family, where the apostles gather together. A crisis threatens marriage, and the Blessed Mother steps into their midst. “My Son, they have no wine.” She seems to be saying it again.
The fundamental building block of our society is crumbling, and the whole thing is about to collapse. It will all come to a screeching halt — this celebration of marriage and family — if something doesn’t happen.
What does it mean to run out of wine today? We see it in the proliferation of pornography, the commonplace use of artificial contraception, the growing number of babies conceived through in vitro fertilization — a process that claims the lives of five to 10 embryos with every cycle of IVF.
The wine runs out as we see our young people sexualized at earlier and earlier ages, as young women are objectified, as the unborn are sacrificed on the altar of our agendas, our pre-conceived plans, our ideas about the future.
The wine runs out when couples stop working at marriage, stop dating each other, stop putting faith and family at the top of the list.
The wine runs out when men and women stop advocating for marriage and new life, when those advocating for marriage are advocating a completely different reality than the church has ever held.
The wine runs out when society tells the church what a sacrament should be, which lives should be protected, when a marriage is over.
Celebration and crisis
My son, they have no wine.
And yet, the celebration goes on — as it should, because marriage and family are worth celebrating. No need to throw our hands into the air and give up. Our Lady has proven that she cares about marriage, and she even cares about the celebrations that surround it.
She intercedes, and her son acts.
We are living in the moment between celebration and disaster. The bishops see how fragile the family is in modern culture. They have heard Our Lady speak. They have been given the directive to do whatever he says.
It is an odd place to be, standing here, seeing it all. The celebration coming in September, so like the wedding at Cana.
The synods on the family, so like the moment when Our Lady speaks and our Lord acts.
Celebration and crisis.
The water and wine of grace. And the reality of outside forces.
This could be our finest hour. This could be the beginning of a worldwide ministry to the family. It began at the Cana wedding. Our Lord’s public ministry. The miraculous intervention. The pairing of the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart.
In my darker moments, I see only the approaching crisis. People building hasty marriages. Efforts to redefine marriage. Decisions to discard marriages like they were last year’s fashion statement.
The domestic church is in trouble and the answers won’t be easy. The answers may even require something miraculous.
But we have been here before.
It’s time to rise up. Some things are worth protecting, defining, defending and salvaging. And once again, water can turn into wine. The celebration will continue.
And the church will lead the way because she has received the mandate: Do whatever he tells you.
Let the church be the church.
Pray for the apostles.
And expect a miracle.