you shall be called by a new name pronounced by the mouth of the LORD.

Jesus again enters the public scene. What better place to do that than at a wedding?

From Christmas forward we see the revelation of Jesus increasing. First, His obvious revelation to Mary and Joseph, the first to behold Him. Soon the crowd starts finding their way to Jesus. Helped by angels, the shepherds see Him, believe, and go forth to proclaim Him. Simeon, the priest and Anna, the prophetess, behold Him in the Temple. The wise men, guided by a star, find Him and the nations of the world pay Him homage. The people of Egypt come to know Him as a refugee and exile. Next, it is the inhabitants of Nazareth, the crowd on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, the teachers in the Temple, John and his disciples at the Jordan and the heavenly proclamation: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

What’s amazing about the Christmas season is the repeated opportunities the world had and has to encounter Jesus. We don’t just jump from shepherds to Magi to John the Baptist to Cana. Rather, it is thousands of smaller, more intimate encounters with Jesus. It is chances (focus on the plural) to encounter Him, be changed by Him and be something different.

The wedding at Cana is a reminder of the encountering and the changing, as well as the work of those who point to Jesus (at Cana, it was Mary). Cana reminds us that things have changed. We are called to reconnect, to re-recognize the ways in which we are different and the ways we fall short of how different we must be. Things have changed – we are changed by our meeting with Jesus. We have more capacity and room for encounter and change.

At Cana, the usual was changed. The good wine came our later. The disciples came to believe. The usual became wonderfully unusual.

Isaiah reminded us that things would be and must be different. We get a new name – we are called differently. What was usual in us becomes wonderfully unusual. Encounter to change, change to further encounter, more change.

Encounter be changed. Call to mind and bring to action the discipleship of being something different in Jesus. 

Encountering
Him.

He was transfigured before them, and His clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus.

The absolute purity, perfection, wisdom, and justice of God make encounters with Him a fearful event. None of us is really worthy of such an opportunity. Additionally, what would we say? How could or would we explain ourselves. His all-knowing presence would see into the deepest parts of our hearts and minds. All would be revealed. We would be crushed in our own sins.

Very few in Old Testament times sought out an encounter with God. Those who knew Him either lived in fear and trembling or ignored Him and went their own way. Yet, God did not let Himself remain distant and unknown.

In Old Testament times, God set forth to walk with men and women. He encountered them, called to them, and led them. Among those who encountered God were: Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham (as we hear in today’s first reading and at other times in his life), Sarah, Hagar, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Solomon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, Daniel, and many of the prophets.

With Jesus coming, all who saw and met Him met God in the flesh. The people who recognized Him as Messiah prior to His resurrection included: Mary, John the Baptist (in the womb and when they met at Jesus at the Jordan), Simeon and Anna, Peter, the Samaritan woman at the well, Martha and Mary, the Thief on the Cross, the Centurion at the cross. After the resurrection, the remaining Apostles and 500 disciples and the two traveling to Emmaus recognized who He was.

We, like those who met Jesus after His Ascension (Stephen, Paul, and Ananias) are also able to encounter God. He remains close and accessible to us

St. Paul offers us the same reassurance he had. He does not say that that we are somehow perfect or worthy of encountering God on our own, but that God has extended Himself to us. He has chosen us and has reconciled us so that we may encounter Him in love and fellowship. By His effort – the graces won by his Son, Jesus – we are able to freely draw close to Him. Our sins no longer crush us. In fact, they have been washed away.

Today we see the three accompany Jesus up the mountain. There, they are treated to the Divine vision; the eternal breaking into the world. Jesus is completely revealed to them. Again, God reaches out to us. The encounter with God did not kill the three. Instead, they saw all God is and all He offers.
This Lent is the chance. It is the time to draw close encountering God, to remain with Him and to enter into His Divine life in new freedom without fear.