‘He let his glory be seen’

Second Sunday of the Year C

The transformation of the water into wine in this week’s reading tells us that Jesus brings a new time, a time of richness and fulfilment. Fr Adrian Graffy reflects.

John 2:1-12

1 Three days later there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited. 3 When they ran out of wine, since the wine provided for the wedding was all finished, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ 4 Jesus said, ‘Woman, why turn to me? My hour has not come yet.’ 5 His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ There were six stone water jars standing there, meant for the ablutions that are customary among the Jews: each could hold twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them to the brim. 8 ’Draw some out now,’ he told them, ‘and take it to the steward.’ 9 They did this; the steward tasted the water, and it had turned into wine. Having no idea where it came from – only the servants who had drawn the water knew – the steward called the bridegroom 10 and said, ‘People generally serve the best wine first, and keep the cheaper sort till the guests have had plenty to drink; but you have kept the best wine till now.’
11 This was the first of the signs given by Jesus: it was given at Cana in Galilee. He let his glory be seen, and his disciples believed in him. 12 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and the brothers, but they stayed there only a few days.

Other readings: Isaiah 62:1-5 Psalm 95 (96) 1 Corinthians 12:4-11


This Sunday’s gospel shows our reluctance to leave the Christmas season behind. It tells of the third of the ‘manifestations’ of Jesus associated with the Christmas season, the others being the Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord. The key to understanding the place of today’s gospel in our liturgy is the statement that ‘He let his glory be seen’. The Gospel of John contains seven major signs by which the true identity of Jesus, his glory, is made known.

The transformation of the water into wine tells us that Jesus brings a new time, a time of richness and fulfilment. An enormous amount of wine is provided. Although the ‘hour’ of Jesus, the hour of his death and resurrection, has not yet come, this sign is a pointer towards the ‘glory’ of Jesus.

The role of the mother of Jesus, who is addressed by Jesus as ‘Woman’, is significant. As in the stories of Jesus’ birth, so here in John, she collaborates with God’s ways in a humble and self-giving manner. She is the woman of the new covenant, as Eve was the woman of the old.

What is the role of the mother of Jesus in the events of our salvation?

What do I take away from the Christmas season as ordinary time takes over?

Pray for the vision to see the hidden glory of God in today’s world.

Pray for those who are searching for the signs of God’s presence.

INT-IMG_5349 Fr Adrian Graffy (3)Rev Dr Adrian Graffy is a member of the Vatican Commission that takes a lead in Bible scholarship, interpretation and promotion in the Catholic Church.

Rev Dr Graffy said of his five-year appointment by Pope Francis in 2014: “It is an honour to be nominated by Pope Francis as a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. I feel humbled and very much look forward to being of service to His Holiness and the Church.”

He added: “A great deal has been achieved in England and Wales in recent years by many co-workers to advance Biblical scholarship and the provision of easy-to-use resources. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them and the Bishops’ Conference Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis for their efforts to promote understanding and love of the Bible, particularly through the publication of the teaching documents, The Gift of Scripture and the study guide to Verbum Domini, The Word of the Lord.”

Rev Dr Graffy received his doctorate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome in 1983. He taught for over 20 years in St John’s Seminary in Wonersh, and is Chair of the National Scripture Working Group, which is an instrument of the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Fr Graffy is a past director of Brentwood’s Commission for Evangelisation and Formation and parish priest of Christ the Eternal High Priest in Gidea Park, Essex. Among his publications are the Gospel of Mark and the Letter to the Romans (Alive Publishing).

Listen to BBC Essex interview with Fr Adrian Graffy