It was fifteen years ago, but I can remember it as if it were yesterday. In the early morning, I sat in a hotel room in Brazil, the sun streaming through the large open windows. It was my wedding day, and I was beginning this day that my fiancée and I had longed for with so much joy by praying with Scripture. So much preparation had gone into the plans for our wedding, which included getting special permission from the local archbishop to have our wedding celebrated within the Holy Mass. It was the custom in that diocese for the Sacrament of Matrimony to be celebrated outside the context of Mass. The permission was granted, and we had a dear priest friend of ours fly across the world to celebrate our nuptial Mass and witness our marriage. As I prayed that morning, I was filled with such gratitude and joy.
I opened my Bible to the Gospel passage my fiancée and I had chosen for our wedding and had memorized during our engagement, John 2:1-11, the wedding feast at Cana. As I read the familiar words, I closed my eyes and felt the gentle breeze on my face. The air smelled fresh and clean. I imagined myself as an observer at that Jewish wedding feast. In my mind’s eye, I looked around the room and visualized the people who were there, the jars along the side of the wall filled with water that would be transformed by Jesus into the finest wine, the dancing, the music, the food, the joy, and the bride and bridegroom beaming with love.
A thought suddenly occurred to me: “Who were this bride and bridegroom? Who were these people who knew Mary and Jesus and invited them to their wedding?” As I sought to create an image of the happy couple, I wondered whether they were important people, local authorities, or perhaps active members of the synagogue. What families had they come from? Were their parents perhaps noble acquaintances of the Lord and his mother? The more I thought about these questions, the more amazed I became. “Who were these people who deserved such an honor as to have Jesus himself attend their wedding?”
I had no sooner realized the awesome privilege of the wedding couple at Cana when the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and inspired me to wonder, “Who am I that Jesus himself is coming to my wedding?” In just a few short hours, Jesus himself would be truly present at Mass—in Word and in Sacrament. As my husband and I pledged to give all of ourselves to one another forever, Jesus would strengthen our self-giving through his grace which was poured out in his Death and Resurrection and re-presented in the Eucharist. Jesus was coming to our wedding to personally give us the grace we would need to live our vocation well. He was coming not just to turn water into wine for a party, but to transform wine into his own Blood to nourish and help us to remain in him and to be faithful to each other for life. Wow, I remember thinking, now almost in tears. Jesus himself was coming to my wedding this very day!
I still remember that meditation as clear as a bell. I marvel that I was loved and worthy of Jesus attending my wedding, just as that bride in Cana was honored with his presence two thousand years ago. It was amazing to think that Jesus wanted to be present at my wedding.
The Mass has remained one of the greatest gifts my husband and I cherish in our marriage. We have lived in many places and travel often. It is so beautiful that we can assist at Mass with our children wherever we go, no matter the language. I am in awe each day thinking that Jesus invites us to his table to feed us and refresh us on our journey. There is room for us at his table. There is also room for you.