The icon of the “Wedding at Cana” brings into focus several key figures: Christ, the Mother of God, the servants, the amphorae (jars) and the table prepared for the feast. Some other characters and images, usually present in similar icons, do not appear: the newly married couple, the chief servant, other servants busily moving about, flower garlands, the abundant food of the feast, the musicians. Space and time are compressed. These are transformed so as to open us up to the symbol and metaphor of the new times.
The eye of one who contemplates this icon is immediately struck by the interrelated circular movement of the faces and hands. Beginning with Mary, they express gentleness, and affectionate concern, as she appeals with outstretched hand, saying the words “Do whatever he tells you.”
The look of Christ, urged by his Mother into the reality that awaits him, looks beyond the immediate, seeing his “hour” in the water that turns red and with cup and bread on the table, which anticipate and foreshadow his sacrifice: “Take and eat … Take and drink … Do this in memory of me.”
Christ is not reclining at the edge of the table, but seated on the throne of his divine majesty. He opens his arms and with one hand, blesses the water, while raising the other hand, he proclaims his name: “Jesus Christ, Son of God.”
The servant fixes his astonished gaze on Christ and comes to a new enlightenment that, through faithful obedience, is able to welcome the eruption of Divine Power within human reality. He sees the liquid pour down into the amphora as water, but he knows that amidst the gurgling inside, it has turned into wine, because he senses the bouquet. The amphorae are huge because humanity’s thirst is great and there must be enough wine for everyone.
At the top, the Marianist Cross strongly reaffirms our alliance with Mary to bring to the many tables of humanity “the good wine” the wine that has been “kept until now.”
Salvatore Santacroce, SM
Region of Italy