The Wedding At Cana

At first glance, The Wedding at Cana by Italian Renaissance artist Paolo Veronese is a meaningless jumble of bodies.  But if one looks closely at the expansive painting from 1563, currently held in the Louvre, many messages are portrayed in the variety of figures.  This, of course, is Veronese's depiction of our Lord's first miracle when, at Mary's behest, Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding feast (cf. John 2:1-11).

Jesus is in the center.  He can always be found in the center.  In the midst of all the chaos of our lives, if we can travel to our center, where Christ is, there will be order.  Notice the characters at the top of the painting, along the colonnades and roofs.  They are seeking to come down.  It is as if they are straining to be closer to Christ.  Jesus is also in between the carvers (above him) and the musicians (below him).  The butchered animals symbolize Christ, the Lamb of God who will be sacrificed for his people.  The beauty of the musical instruments symbolize the beauty and joy Christ brings to the world.

Did you find the bride and groom? They are at the bottom, left-hand corner of the painting.  The groom is interested in the wine, but the bride is looking at us.  She is the only other person in the entire painting, besides Jesus, to look in such fashion. (Mary, next to Jesus, has her eyes closed in contemplation.)  The bride has invited us into the experience.  She is wondering whether we will join or stay distanced from the experience. If we join, if we receive the blood of Christ that is the full-bodied wine he produces, then we will have the time of our lives.

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