By V. Rev. Fr. Barouyr Shernezian
One day, during the Divine Liturgy, I sat contemplating the miracle at Cana. I asked myself, “why do we need the Holy Eucharist?” “What is the Badarak for, and why do we partake in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist every Sunday?”
During the Holy Eucharist, the spirit mystically encounters human nature. This divine service transforms our sinful human nature into divine sacredness. Previously, we have discussed the two main parts of the Holy Eucharist: the Liturgy of the Word and the Main Liturgy. By listening to Holy Scriptures, the Liturgy of the Word prepares the faithful intellectually for the divine mystery and presence of God. During the Main Liturgy, the Holy Spirit descends onto the Holy Altar and transforms the holy gifts into the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A unique miracle, described in the Gospel of John, illustrates Christ’s salvific mission. His first miracle took place at the wedding of Cana (John 2:1-12), in the presence of His mother Mary and the holy apostles. It shows that our Lord blessed the holy matrimony as a holy sacrament. However, the miracle at Cana also reveals the theological and spiritual meaning behind the sacrament of Holy Eucharist.
Through the miracle at the wedding of Cana, Christ made it clear that water and wine are essential for salvation. Water symbolizes Baptism, while wine symbolizes the Holy Eucharist. By presenting the two sacraments, the wedding changed both in taste and in meaning. Baptism and the Holy Eucharist permit us, and even more so invite us, to partake in our banquet with the Lord. Let us explore the Divine Liturgy in the context of the miracle at Cana.
Our human body is made up of more than 60% water. The holy baptism renews us, and we are born again in Christ. The holy font purifies our “water.” Jesus asking the servants to fill the jars with water marks the first step in our salvation. Our human nature, full of water, cannot fully participate in salvation unless Christ sheds His blood for us. Through the sacrament of Holy Eucharist, we participate in the passion of Christ and receive His body and blood. The Eucharist turns the water of our human bodies into Lord’s salvific blood, enabling us to receive His salvation and heavenly joy. During the liturgy, our body’s water miraculously transforms into wine, sweetening our lives. The Holy Eucharist changes us every Sunday.
This salvific miracle would not have happened if not for the Mother of God’s intercession. Saint Mary instructed the servants to listen to her Son. This illustrates her pivotal role in our salvation. Accordingly, the celebrant’s first words in front of the Holy Altar request the intercession of the Mother of God.
When we participate in the Divine Liturgy, we should feel the powerful miracle of the Holy Eucharist. By committing our whole being to Christ through the Badarak, we can feel the Holy Spirit is moving through our veins. We can feel the power of the Holy Eucharist. Holy Communion transforms us, and fills us with peace and joy.
When we stand before God, let us pray:
Dear Lord, I stand here, a wedding guest at Cana. I did not know it would be Your first public miracle. My whole being starves for a joy that can fill my heart and soul with hope, love and faith. I commit myself to You. Fill me like a wine jar with Your water and transform it into Your salvific blood. Let Your joy, peace and sweetness run through my veins. Let the world recognize that I belong to You. Let nothing in this world make me happier than receiving Your precious body and blood. Let nothing win my heart more than Your word. Prepare me, body and soul, for Your eternal banquet. Let me glorify You! With the Mother of God, the apostles, and all the saints and angels, let me praise Your glory, forever and ever, amen.