Far be it for me to comment on this particular text when so many great scholars, past and present have undertaken this task. The homily given at our church today by our deacon, who is a most devout man, “frankensteined” many of these commentaries, along with his own pious commentary and ruminations and was to me rather vague and served only to strain an argument, like grasping for straws and firing grapeshot leaving little inspiration and not really bringing alive this amazing story. Bishop Barron gives a most excellent interpretation of what was going on in the deep symbolism. In the face of all these valid and amazing commentaries, I am nevertheless left thinking: How can I apply this, make it come alive in my own life? And so here I am.
Of course, a blog would not be a blog but for blogging, thus I blog. What of this parable. I am not going to waste time commenting on how protestants try to say Jesus is disrespectful to His Mother. Jesus was not disrespectful to any person, so He would most certainly not be so to His Mum. I am also not interested in the math of jugs, or whose wedding it was, or how many disciples or servants, etc. What strikes me is, this is when His disciples “begin to believe” or partake of the new wine.
Lets back up a bit. The Blessed Mother is at a wedding feast at which, having been invited, Jesus and His disciples are present. Being invited, Jesus is not the bridegroom at this wedding, but a guest. Mary, we can also be certain, was also a guest. Now here is where I ask you to forgive me for making an assertion that few ever seem to touch upon, and if I am mistaken may God forgive me, The great contemplative Blessed Virgin Mary was in attendance at this wedding because Jesus and His Disciples were invited and the Most-Holy Virgin was a disciple of Christ. Dear Mary was the first disciple of Christ, the first Christian, and the Mother of God and the Church. We, and I am sorry if I misspeak of you, tend to assume because the Holy Mother Mary was Jesus’ Mum, she most certainly was not His follower, but I will state from my point of view, Mary not only followed Jesus, was His first disciple, but was also His best student.
Now we know from scripture (in particular the parable of the Widow’s Mites) Jesus spent much time in observing people, their behavior, and listening to what they said. I think that Jesus was well aware of the “wine situation” as He sat there with His disciples. It would stand to reason that Jesus taught His disciples to observe and listen to what people were doing and saying. To see people. So, I am now sitting at a table, perhaps next to the Blessed Mother who is sitting at Jesus’ side, and we are all watching the feast unfold. Mary, who is the best student, notices from what the servants are doing, how they are acting, that which Jesus had probably known for some time and leaning over to Him simply states without expectation or recommendation: They have no wine. Jesus, being a teacher, says something along the lines of: Women, what is that to me and to you? My hour has not yet come. What might this mean? Jesus is teaching. The Blessed Virgin has noticed a lack in Her fellow human beings, and Jesus puts the question to Her (and all the disciples for that matter): how do we as people respond to another’s lack be it physical–having no wine–or spiritual–wine taken as a symbol of blood-lacking in life-or wine as wine and essential to celebration and enjoyment. What does that mean to us? Now recall, Saint John says that this is Jesus’ first sign after which His disciples begin to believe. In this beginning, I will exclude the Disciple Blessed Virgin Mary because it is safe to assume the Holy Mother did not need to believe because She knew, after all She was a virgin mother.
Jesus says this and nothing else. How does the Blessed Virgin respond? She does not speak to Him, She stands up walks over to the servants, and get this, she says rather unwarrantedly and mystically to the servants: Do whatever He tells you. Why do they listen to Her? Does Her voice command a certain and immediate respect? Is it that they cannot say “no” to Her overwhelming beauty? Yes, to both. The Blessed Mother’s spirit being so perfectly conformed to the will of God give her an authority and beauty beyond all imagining. One can simply not say “no” to Her. This is precisely at what Jesus was driving. This was what He wanted as I am certain He knew exactly what He was going to do, as did Mary whose faith was so complete there was never a question. Jesus expects us to see the pitfalls, the lacks, the suffering in our fellow servants and to not only pray for them–they have no wine–but to then send them to Him in the complete faith He will give them what they need. This is evangelization. Jesus so often says, go get and bring him to me that it become impossible to ignore that we must play a role in calling our brother and sisters to the Lord. Thus, like Most-Pure Mary, we must in confidence and faith direct people to Jesus. It is not necessary to make a long speech or elaborate argument, simply, clearly, confidently direct them to Him. When they approach Him honestly and obediently, His hour will have come in each of their own lives.
Is the miracle at this point free? Certainly not. They must act. The need to bring empty vessels. . .okay, empty vessels, a person to learn from the Master must empty himself of all the he holds as His own truth and allow the Master to replace any knowledge the disciple may have with truth and wisdom. Let us, God willing, never mistake knowledge as necessarily truth and even know its difference with regard to wisdom. The internet is over flowing with knowledge, but possesses relatively little wisdom and even less truth. These vessels must then be filled with life giving water–baptism?–perfectly clear and then, the miracle, Jesus will turn the water into wine–the lifeblood of the celebration. This is the beginning. This is being born again. This is new life. This is to become a seed.
And the seed must die. One must take up one’s cross and follow. To be like the Master, one must imitate Him and follow in His footsteps. Here again we find the Blessed Virgin. She leads us to the foot of the cross, She shows us where our salvation lies, and Jesus turns it around and basically says for us to do whatever She tells us. Where do I get this? John who says, on the cross Jesus gives us to Mary and Mary to us to be our Mother. We are to take Her for our own, and we know from scripture that Jesus was obedient to His Mother. But why, after Mary sends us to Jesus at Cana, does Jesus give us to Mary at the foot of the cross? I maintain we are to be responsible for one another for as long as we endure in this life and in eternity. We are to teach, to intercede, to love, to care for each other as a mother cares for her son and a son for his mother. We are to nurture, feed and raise one another and to obey, honour, and care for one another. We are mother and son.
The Blessed Virgin Mary is, of course, the most perfect example of discipleship and by merit of being the Mother of God is Queen of Heaven, Queen of all Hearts, Empress of the World. We cannot ignore this fact, so let Her be our guide, let Her direct us to Jesus, let us take Her for our own, be obedient to Her, honor Her, allow Her to raise us that She, having raised Jesus and knowing Him better than any other, should raise us to be like Him. Let Her form us in Her Maternal Womb, the mold of the Living Christ, and birth us as bothers and sisters of Jesus. Let Mary recognize our needs and bring us before the Master, that we, too, may receive His Baptism and the fullness of the celebration made manifest in the sacrifice of the Mass where the celebratory wine of the wedding feast becomes the very Blood, the very Life of Christ of which we are called to partake and to rejoice.
Let Us Pray:
O Lord, through the most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I humbly implore Thee: Salt the earth with me; may I never lose my savor. Let me, Thy humble servant, be a light to the world that in my obedience to thy will, my light may shine before men that they may see my good works and glorify Thee, Father, who art in Heaven.
Father, let every breath I exhale praise and glorify Thy name.
Grant each breath I take in be the flame of Thy Holy Spirit to set my heart ablaze with love for Thee, that I, like unto Thy Humble Handmaiden the Immaculate and Ever-Virgin Mary, who art most blessed amongst women, too, cry out from the depths of my being: My soul doth magnify the Lord! My spirit rejoices in God my Saviour!
May Almighty God bless you; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
(C) Copyright 20 January 2019