Mary, Mother of God
Chapter 8- “THEY HAVE NO WINE”

Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J

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“On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.” (John 2: 1- 11) To emphasize the importance of this event in the life of Jesus and Mary, Pope John Paul II added the Wedding Feast of Cana to the Rosary as the second of the Luminous Mysteries.

Mary who played and important role in the life of Jesus at Nazareth is also present at the beginning of his public life. Here at the wedding feast of Cana we see for the first time the intercessory power of Mary. Intercessory prayer has a long history in the Judaeo-Christian religion. It begins with Genesis and the account of creation. Everything is created by God. It is all of one piece. Nothing existed alone. Everything and everyone is dependent on God and interdependent one on another. Death does not dissolve this bond of interdependence as we confess in the Apostles’ Creed, “I believe in the Communion of Saints.”

In the Jewish culture of Jesus’ day a wedding was an occasion for a grand celebration often lasting up to a week. And a wedding was often a critical measure of a family’s hospitality. The lack of sufficient wine for the guests would be a social disgrace. Mary, filled with compassion for the young couple and wanting to save them from this embarrassment, simply tells Jesus, “They have no wine.” She knows in her heart that Jesus will take care of it even though she does not know how.

We are surprised at the response of Jesus, “Woman how does this concern of yours involve me? Jesus called his mother Woman. The reference intended is to the “woman” in the Book of Genesis. There God tells the serpent, ‘I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed; she shall crush your head and you shall lie in wait for his heel.” Jesus will make this reference again at the end of his life when he sees his mother standing at the foot of the cross and says, “Woman, behold your son.”

Jesus objects, “My hour has not yet come.” His hour has not yet come still he will perform this first miracle at the intercession of Mary. The Second Vatican Council tells us that the power of Mary’s intercession continues unabated today. “This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. By her maternal charity she cares for the brethren of her Son who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties until they are led into their blessed home.” (Lumen Gentium, Vatican II)

Mary tells the waiters, “Do whatever he tells you.” This has been the dynamic, the driving force, of Mary’s whole life, to do the will of God. “Behold the handmaid of the Lord may it be done to me according to your word.” This is also the command of the Father at the Transfiguration, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him.” “Do whatever he tells you.” This is what Mary tells us today. Do as the waiters did. Fill the jars with water. Fill them to the brim. Then take them to Jesus so that he may change them into wine. Then eat, drink and be merry with the joy that the world cannot give and no one can take from you.

“The headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, ‘Everyone serves good wine first, and then when the people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.’” How characteristics of Jesus who always saves the very best wine until last; if not here, surely hereafter.


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