The First Miracle

    Second Sunday after Epiphany
Comprehensive Catholic Commentary
Fr. George Leo Haydock
provided by
John Gregory

      Editor's Note: We continue this special feature provided by John Gregory with the Haydock Commentary found at the bottom of each page of the Douay-Rheims Bible. With the type so small in most bibles, we publish it here in larger type in conjunction with the Epistle and Gospel for the Sunday Mass, with the cogent comprehensive Catholic Commentary penned by Father George Leo Haydock. For the Second Sunday after Epiphany, the topic is love and miracles with the Wedding Feast of Cana in which Christ performed His first public miracle and the Haydock Commentary treats the whys and wherefores of the loving relationship between Mother and Son and His willingness to honor her by changing water into wine, a precursor to the transubstantiation of the wine into the Blood of Christ at the Consecration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the most loving gift He could bestow to His children whom St. Paul entreats in his epistle to love one another as our Lord loves us.

    Epistle: Romans 12: 6-16

    6 And having gifts different, according to the grace that is given us, whether prophecy, according to the proportion of faith,

    7 Or ministry, in ministering: or he that teacheth, in doctrine,

    8 He that exhorteth in exhorting; he that giveth with simplicity; he that ruleth with solicitude, he that sheweth mercy with cheerfulness.

    9 Love without dissimulation. Hating that which is evil, adhering to that which is good:

      Commentary on Verse 9 The apostle does not here prohibit that defense, by which a person, either by word or action, preserves himself from injury. This he could not condemn, since he had so often recourse to it himself, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles: and in the second epistle to Timothy, he writes: "In my first defense no one was with me." Be he only forbids that revenge which a person takes of his neighbor, by private means, without having recourse to legal authority. (Estius)

    10 Loving one another with brotherly love; in honor preventing one another:

    11 In solicitude not slothful: in spirit fervent: serving the Lord:

    12 Rejoicing in hope: patient in tribulation: instant in prayer:

    13 Communicating to the necessities of the saints: pursuing hospitality.

      Commentary on Verse 13 CommunicatingCommunicantes; koinonountes. Koinonein is often used by St. Paul for making others sharers by giving to them.] to the necessities of the saints. Making them partakers of what you have, by relieving them. (Witham)

    14 Bless them that persecute you: bless, and curse not.

    15 Rejoice with them that rejoice, weep with them that weep:

    16 Being of one mind one towards another: not high-minded: but condescending to the humble.

      Commentary on Verse 16 Condescending to the humble, in the spirit of charity and sweetness. See Luke ii. 48. (Witham)

    Gospel: St. John 2: 1-11

    1 At that time there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee: and the mother of Jesus was there.

      Commentary on Verse 1 The Mother of Jesus was present. It is supposed she was then a widow, since in all the rest of the history of Jesus, not a single word occurs respecting St. Joseph. (Calmet)

    2 And Jesus also was invited, and his disciples, to the marriage.

    3 And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to Him: They have no wine.

      Commentary on Verse 3 They have no wine. The blessed virgin Mother was not ignorant of the divine power of her Son, and that the time was come when He designed to make Himself known to the world. She could not make her request in more modest terms. (Witham)

    4 Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is it to Me and to thee? My hour is not yet come.

      Commentary on Verse 4 Some of the Fathers have spoken without sufficient precaution on this action of the blessed Virgin; supposing she was actuated by some inclination to vanity, in begging her Son to perform a miracle on this occasion; that some of the glory of it might accrue to her, and that on this account our Savior answers her with severity, saying, Woman, (not Mother) what is it to thee or Me. Other Fathers, with more reason, attribute the interference of the blessed Virgin to her charity and compassion for the new married couple. Whatever turn be given to our Savior's answer, it must be acknowledged it has in it the appearance of something severe. But the Fathers have explained it with mildness, observing that our Savior only meant to say, Mother, what affair is it of ours if they want wine? Ought we to concern ourselves about that? Others think that He wished, by these words, to let his Mother know that she must not forestall the time appointed by the heavenly Father, as if her demand were unseasonable and out of time. But most of the Fathers and best commentators understand, that He speaks here not as man and Son of Mary, but as God; and in that quality, He observes to his Mother, I have nothing in common with you. It is not for you to prescribe when miracles are to be performed, which are not to be expected in compliance with any human respect. I know when My power is to be manifested for the greater glory of God. (Calmet) ---See the like forms of speech, Mark i. 24; Luke iv. 34; &c. --- My hour is not yet come. It is not yet time. He waited till the wine was quite done, lest any should believe that he had only increased the quantity, or had only mixed water with the wine. He would have His first miracle to be incontestable, and that all the company should be witnesses of it. (St. Augustine, et alii patres passim. --- Christ's first miracle in the New Testament, was a kind of transubstantiation in changing water into wine; the first miracle Moses performed when sent to the Jews, was transubstantiation. (Exodus iv.) The first Moses and Aaron performed, when sent to the Egyptians, was transubstantiation. (Exodus vii.)

    5 His mother saith to the waiters: Whatever He shall say to you, do ye.

    6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three measures a-piece.

      Commentary on Verse 6 Two or three measures, called metreta. Both the Latin and Greek text, by the derivation, may signify a measure in general, according to the Rhemish translation: but metreta was a particular measure of liquids: yet, not corresponding to our firkins, I could not think it proper with the Protestant and M. N. to put two or three firkins. (Witham)

    7 Jesus saith to them: Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.

    8 And Jesus saith to them: Draw out now, and carry to the chief steward of the feast. And they carried it.

    9 And when the chief steward had tasted the water made wine, and knew not whence it was, but the waiters knew who had drawn the water, the chief steward calleth the bridegroom,

    10 And saith to him: Every man at first setteth forth good wine, and when men have well drunk, that that which is worse: But thou hast kept the good wine until now.

      Commentary on Verse 10 When men have well drank, or plentifully; this is the literal sense: nor need we translate, when they are drunk, being spoken of such company, where our Savior, Christ, His blessed Mother, and His disciples, were present. See Genesis xliii. 34; 1 Machabees xvi. ver. 16, where the same word may be taken in the same sense. (Witham)

    11 This beginning of the miracles did Jesus in Cana, of Galilee: and He manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.

      Commentary on Verse 11 This was the first miracle which Jesus had performed in public, and to manifest His glory; but Maldonatus is of opinion that He had before wrought many miracles, known to the blessed Virgin and St. Joseph; which gave her the confidence to ask one now. This opinion is no way contrary to the evangelist. His disciples believed in Him. They had believed in Him before or they would not have followed Him. This confirmed their faith. (Calmet)

    Haydock Commentary for the Second Sunday after Epiphany