“They have no wine!” Mary says. Can’t you help? Mary says to her son. Most of Jesus miracles have to do with healing, releasing, changing lives, delivering the demon possessed, saving people in trouble. Yet here at the beginning of John’s gospel Jesus performs what at first glance seems like a rather frivolous miracle. The guests have run out of wine at a wedding party. There is no desperate life-threatening event, no crisis or immediate danger – just a breach of etiquette.
The first Sunday after Epiphany, the feast of the Baptism of our Lord. For Jesus, the direction his life will take starts at the river as he enters the waters and places himself in the arms of his cousin John. In the moments that follow this life-changing action, Jesus receives not only a baptism, but an affirmation and naming that will mark the rest of his life. “You are my beloved child, in whom I am well pleased.”
As we hear once again the familiar story of the Wise Men, following a star which eventually leads them to Bethlehem, there are a few questions that we may ask to fill in the story. Just who were the “wise men”, what did they think they were seeking, why did they take such an arduous journey, and did they find what they expected to find?