Imagine being at Cana. The wedding reception runs out of wine, and then Blessed Mary springs into action. She tells the servers to do whatever Jesus says. What follows is Jesus’ first miracle in the Gospel of John, the miracle of turning water into wine. In fact, this miracle will result in quite a bit of wine – 6 stone jars, each holding about 30 gallons.
If you and I were at Cana where the water was turned into wine, I think it is safe to say that you and I don’t really participate in the miracle – other than maybe imbibing at bit. However, at the Last Supper and at Mass the change that takes place in the chalice, the change from wine into the Precious Blood of Christ, that change does not leave us on the outside looking in, but we are right in the middle of a life-changing event.
Through the use of symbols, the Mass teaches us that we are connected with the change that takes place in the chalice; the Mass teaches us that we become one with the Blood of Christ. At every Mass the priest (or the deacon), pours a drop of water into the wine. This earthly drink, the water, is a symbol of us, humanity. This little bit of water does not change the wine. When the priest says the words: “This is the chalice of My Blood,” the wine in the chalice becomes the Blood of Christ. Remember the water poured into the chalice? That little bit of water mixed with the wine, that symbol of humanity, is now the Blood of Christ.
In the chalice is a symbol of our relationship with Christ. At each Mass we are invited to see ourselves in the chalice. We are invited to see ourselves being transformed into the Precious Blood of Christ. In fact, since we are so united with Christ, we are called, in a sense, to be the presence of Christ’s life-giving Blood in our world.
To be the life-giving presence of the Blood of Christ in the world calls all of us to use our gifts and our talents to defend and protect human life. There are many forces in our world, some natural and some man-made, that cry out for the life-giving presence of the Blood of Christ. The devastation and loss of life associated with Hurricane Sandy calls for the life-giving presence of the Blood of Christ – a presence we offer by pitching in or by providing aid through legitimate relief organizations. This Friday, January 25, thousands of men, women, and children will descend on Washington, DC for the annual March for Life to protest the decision that legalized abortion in this country 40 years ago. The slaughter of untold millions while still in the womb cries out for the life-giving presence of the Blood of Christ to uphold the dignity of human life. Whenever human life is threatened, that situation demands the life-giving presence of the Blood of Christ. My brothers and sisters, you are that presence.