Jesus begins His ministry with a wedding feast and ends it with the Passover feast. Is there any connection between the two? The Catechism tells us that the wedding at Cana “is the sign of another feast—that of the wedding of the Lamb where he gives his body and blood at the request of the Church, his Bride” (Catechism, no. 2618). In Revelation, the last book of the Bible (also written by John), the great Eucharistic banquet of the Mass is described as a wedding feast: “Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7). Jesus is the Lamb throughout the Book of Revelation; the Bride is the Church. Then the angel tells St. John, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:9). These same words are proclaimed in Mass, right before the priest and people receive Jesus in the Eucharist. Every time we go to Mass, we are participating in the Last Supper, which is the great wedding feast of Jesus and His Church. The wedding at Cana points toward this greater reality of the wedding feast of the Lamb.
If you read closely the passage of the wedding feast at Cana, you will notice that the couple’s names are not mentioned. John omitted them under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. St. Augustine once commented that the names of the couple were withheld in order to symbolize the marriage between Christ and the Church. It is indeed no coincidence that Jesus, at the start of His ministry, chooses to manifest Himself at a wedding. Marriage is the start of a new, shared life and a new beginning. By performing His first miracle at the start of this couple’s new life together, Jesus reveals the great intimacy that God desires to have with all His people. The love between God and His people is like the love between a bridegroom and his bride.
John the Baptist saw himself as a key figure in the divine romance between Christ and the Church. In the chapter after the wedding at Cana, John says, “You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him. He who has the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice; therefore this joy of mine is now full” (Jn. 3:28–29). John sees himself as the friend of the bridegroom, Jesus. At the wedding feast, Jesus brings to light His desire for the new beginning and the new intimacy that He plans to bring to the people of God. Jesus, as the Divine Suitor, woos the hearts of His people.