"So He Built An Altar There" | Reflection for Monday March 23

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Return to your altar

In today’s Gospel, Jesus returns to Cana in Galilee, where he performed his first public miracle at the request of his mother. The word that caught my eye today was “returned.” In order for Jesus to return to Cana, He had to have been away for some time.

I wonder what they thought about Jesus while He was away. Did they think about this miracle worker? Did they wonder where He was and what He was doing? Did they remember to call to mind what He had done for them and how He had proclaimed good news to them? Had they heard about how He was thrown out of Jesus for claiming to fulfill the prophecy written in Isaiah that,

     The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
     because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
     He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
     and recovering of sight to the blind,
     to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
     to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.

We hear that the Galileans welcomed Him, “since they had seen all He had done in Jerusalem at the feast.”  The people of Cana remember Him, they are familiar with His miracles. So much so that a royal official ran to Him to ask Him for healing. Now Jesus almost rebukes the official saying, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” Jesus knows His people. He knows that this statement is true. When Jesus calls Peter, His preaching and invitation is accompanied by the sign of the catching of the fish. Jesus gives us signs and wonders because He knows that our hearts are hard and need to be broken, but how often are the signs He gives us not enough?

Jesus performed the sign of the water turned into wine for the Galileans, but they ask for more. We aren’t too different from them. As Christ turned water into wine at the wedding feast, we are familiar with His daily and weekly miracle of turning wine into His Most Precious Blood for us in the celebration of the Eucharist. Right now, it feels like the miracle worker is away because He is not among us in the way that we’re accustomed to.

We have expectations of how it is that Jesus works, but He is so much bigger than that! “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” Jesus has performed signs and wonders for you. Ask Him to reveal the miracles He has performed in your own life. Did He bless you with a profound peace at a challenging time in your life? Did He work out a solution for you when you seemed stuck? We can no longer gather as the Church at the table of the wedding feast, but Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever! During this time of distance from the Church that we’re used to, I challenge you to build an altar within your own heart where you can meet Jesus personally every day. It is there that we will perform signs and wonders so that you will believe. 

Genesis 13:4 To the place of the altar which he had made there formerly; and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.


-Amanda Nobis, Director of Evangelization