The Marriage of Christ and the Church
'Now on the third day there was a wedding.' This wedding is prayer
and joy over man's salvation. It is celebrated on the third day,
according to the mystical meaning of that number, either by professing
faith in the Trinity or through faith that comes from the resurrection.
For so also in another Gospel passage the younger son's return, that
is, the conversion of the people of the Gentiles, is welcomed with music
and wedding garments.
And so 'like a bridegroom he comes forth from his bride chamber' to
the earth in order to be espoused to the Church to be gathered from all
people, having taken flesh upon himself--the Church to whom he gave both
a dowry and earnest money: earnest money when God was joined to man; dowry
when he was sacrificed for the salvation of man. Earnest money we
understand to be a present ransom, dowry we understand to be life eternal.
And so to those who saw, these things were miracles, to those who understand,
sacraments. For if we carefully consider, there is a certain way
in which in the waters themselves a likeness to baptism and regeneration
is manifested. For when one thing is being effectually changed into
another within itself, where the lowlier created thing is transformed by
a secret conversion into a nobler kind, the mystery of the second birth
is enacted. The waters are suddenly changed later to change men.
Therefore when Christ was active in Galilee wine is produced, that is,
the law gave way, grace succeeded: the shadow is removed, the truth is
demonstrated, the fleshly things are compared with the spiritual: the ancient
observances are changed to the New Testament; as the blessed Apostle says:
'Old things have passed away, and behold they are made new', and just as
the waters which are contained in the pitchers lose nothing of their being,
and now begin to be what they were not, so the law does not perish when
made manifest through the coming of Christ, but it flourishes.
When therefore the wine fails, other wine is supplied. A good
wine indeed is that of the Old Testament, but that of the New is better:
the Old Testament which the Jews observe vanishes away in the letter; the
New Testament which applies to us gives back in grace the savour of life.
'Good wine,' that is, a good injunction, belongs to the law when you
hear: 'You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' But better
and stronger is the wine of the Gospel when you hear: 'But I say unto you,
Love your enemies and do good to them that hate you.'