On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” (John 2.1-7)
We all know the rest of the story, how Jesus miraculously transforms the water into an excellent batch of wine and saves the newly-wedded couple from social embarrassment. Exegesis of these passages tends to focus around Mary’s words, “Do whatever he tells you,” or how by this miracle Jesus blesses the Sacrament of Marriage, but there is a smaller lesson here that tends to get overlooked.
Think about the nature of this miracle. What does it accomplish? Throughout His time preaching and preparing for His Passion, Jesus performs many miracles, but they all pertain to necessary things, such as curing the sick and infirm, feeding the hungry, and even raising the dead. The Wedding at Cana, however, is different. The guests at the wedding feast were not in any danger of starving or dying of thirst, nor of becoming ill or injured. The only problem was that the party was out of wine. Why would Jesus see this as a fitting use of His power, particularly for His first public miracle?
Perhaps the “insignificance” of the miracle is the very point. That by supernaturally supplying his friends with extra wine Jesus was telling us that not everything we do needs to be grand, serious, or important. That saving a friend from an embarrassing situation is just as worth our time and effort as volunteering at a homeless shelter; that spending a night watching a movie with a spouse or child can be as meaningful as spending it in Scripture reading. The little, mundane things matter. Just as venial sins drive as further from God without separating us from Him, so too can doing the normal, seemingly non-religious and unimportant things of life draw us closer to Him, if done in the proper spirit.
As practicing Catholics, I am sure we all have those moments when we look at our lives and wonder, “Am I doing enough?” It all depends on what we mean by “enough.” If enough means the human equivalent of raising the dead and feeding five thousand men with an armful of bread and fish, then odds are we will always feel like failures. But if we realize that Jesus considered keeping a wedding party happy as a meaningful application of his attention and power, then perhaps we should not dismiss the mundane or fun things we do each do day as wastes of time. We have all heard it said that a smile or single word to a stranger can change their life; so, too, can living out our daily routines in a good manner change souls. Many, if not most of us will be called to a lifetime of primarily little deeds, and that is okay. Many people will not want to hear that, but remember that we are talking about God’s plans, not our own. If God wants us to do more, we will give us the means and opportunity. Simply be prepared to act when those opportunities arise, but do not be disappointed if you are never called to “greater” things.
Remember, it does not have to be “significant” to be worthwhile.