A joyful friend
In tomorrow's Gospel reading Jesus and his disciples are attending a wedding when the host runs out of wine. A potential embarassment is averted when Jesus' mother gets her messianic Son to perform his first miracle and turn more than 120 gallons of water into some very nice wine.
Novelist and Roman Catholic priest Andrew Greeley writes parables each week to go with the Gospel reading, bringing out some deeper meaning of the text. This week's was intriguing for me.
Once upon a time a certain teenage woman was invited to a birthday party. In fact according to all reports it was going to be a super cool party. However, this young woman was at that stage of her maturation where it was necessary to adopt a pose of infinite boredom with life, she was in fact like a flapper in one Evelyn Waugh’s novels about the nineteen twenties from the very act of breathing was an source of infinite fatigue. So she announced that she wasn’t going to the party because it would be “BORING!” Other young women considered her opinion, because she was one of the opinion-makers of her group, but they said well, maybe it won’t be boring. So they decided to attend the party. Our heroine’s mother kept urging her to give the party a chance because the birthday queen’s mother was such a nice woman. WELL, as we all know if a mother thinks something is worthwhile, by definition it can’t be. Anyway, at the last minute she decided to show up, if only to stop people from talking about her.I have to admit, now that you've read it, that the story leaves me wondering how it connects to the Gospel reading. I can see the party he describes and the girl's lack of participation and then the reversal in her description to her mom, but I can't make the connection.
She walked in the front door of the house, looked around at the thirty young people who were talking, dancing, and eating and said, Nobody’s here! Where’s everybody! So she found a segment of the wall that looked like it needed shoring up and leaned against, with a loud sigh. A nearby angel said she sighed a hundred and forty nine times during the party. Many of the boys at the party tried to talk to her. They offered to bring her food and a coke (the hostess’s mother kept an eagle eye out for other liquids) or a piece of cake. She just sighed again and shook her head. One boy, by reputation very cool, even brought her a piece of chocolate cake. Barf city she said.
When the party was over she walked home by herself. How was the party her mother asked. Oh, said young woman, it was great. Everyone was there and we had a wonderful time.
Jesus was the life of the party in Cana it would seem. This is what Katerina Whitely says in her sermon for the Sermons That Work series in which she writes
Jesus did enjoy life and wanted others to enjoy it to the fullest also. He is not a gloomy guide but a joyful friend. He tells us in fact, “This is who I am; follow me.” There is goodness in life and in the meaningful occasions of our lives.So is the Greeley story meant to show the opposite to the Gospel? What did I miss?
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
PS: Next Saturday, I'll be back to commentaries that make sense.