Monday, November 30, 2009

The Wedding at Cana

Personal reflection based on John 2:1-11

Context: - Mother Mary finds out that the hosts at the wedding feast are out of wine, and secretly tells her son about it. Jesus asks, ‘What is that to us?’ (in another translation, ‘How does that concern us?’) :

I have always felt uncomfortable reading this part, because it sounded rather arrogant and disrespectful, and I didn’t want to think that Jesus was in fact disrespectful with His mother. So whenever I read this narration of the wedding at Cana, I just flipped by this verse fast and never stopped a moment to ponder about it.

Today as I felt inspired to read this account again, and I asked the Holy Spirit to take away the uneasiness from me, and help me understand the conversation between Jesus and His mother Mary in its truest sense.

The picture that rightaway came to my mind was of Jesus and Mary talking to each other with a mischievous smile on their faces. And instantly, the uneasiness drifted away from my mind, and I started seeing the special relationship between the mother and the Son. Let me try to explain this as best as I can.….:

When we go to a movie theatre with our children, they say, ‘Mummy/Daddy, there’s popcorn over there!’, without really saying that they want the popcorn. Fully realizing that they are asking for the popcorn, yet unwilling to admit it to them, we say, ‘So what?’, with a naughty smile. We want to wait and see if they ask the explicit question, ‘Can you buy the popcorn for us?’ Much the same way, when Mary tells Jesus ‘they are out of wine’, Jesus asks, ‘So what?’ (‘What is that to us?’). In the picture that I have in my mind, Mary looks back at Jesus with the same smile and raised eyebrows, conveying something like ‘You must be kidding!’ The people who heard this may not have understood, but this was their special conversation, and they understood each other, which was all that mattered. I loved this picture so much that I closed my eyes and savored this scene and their faces for just a little bit more.

Anyways mother Mary, fully aware of what her son is capable of, does not answer Jesus’s question of ‘so what?’. She just turns around and tells the workers, ‘Do whatever He tells you to do’. Mary doesn’t explicitly tell Jesus what she wants Him to do (may be she understood how different His ways are…), but in telling the workers ‘do whatever He tells you’, she hints to Jesus that whatever He does, he has to involve the workers/servers. Not the manager; not the headwaiter – the servers. Mary picked the lowly. Through mother Mary’s mediation/intercession, the servers were chosen to become part of this first miracle of Jesus. The very fact that Jesus takes this little hint from His mother and obeys it shows the utter respect and regard that He has for her – and now when I think back, there is not the slightest room at all for the thought about being disrespectful!

Also, just imagine the respect that mother Mary’s words must have had there at the wedding feast! The workers pay attention to her and obey what her son asks them to do – which, in the eyes of the world, would be utter foolishness. To fill the huge water jars with water and then pour some out and take to their boss? There would be no better reason for those workers to lose their jobs! But still, they obeyed it. It may be foolishness in the eyes of the world, but they didn’t care. They didn’t reason; they didn’t try to apply human logic to what was asked of them – they just obeyed. With them was present mother Mary - the prime example of humility and obedience to the will of God. The very presence of this blessed mother humbled their hearts – and made them capable of obeying Jesus. And God’s glory was revealed to them – they beheld the miracle of water turning to wine right before their eyes. ‘Nobody knew where the wine came from; but the workers knew.’

Let this be a lesson in humility for us. Let us submit our will to the will of God, and be ready to follow mother Mary’s example in saying ‘Here’s the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done to me according to Thy will’. Let us have the mindset of John the Baptist – He must increase, and I must decrease.

Here are a few more thoughts I had on this:
- When they ran out of wine, Jesus doesn’t provide them just enough to get through; He gives in abundance - 6 stone jars, each holding 20-30 gallons, filled upto the brim! How generous!

- The jars were filled with water upto the brim. But as long as it stayed in the jars, it was water. When poured out, it turned into wine. Water was good, but when poured out, it became wine - the good wine – better than what they had before. Just the same way, God has filled us with gifts and talents – and they are good. But when poured out for others, they get transformed into something on a much higher level.

- Mother Mary finds out by herself that the hosts were out of wine. The scripture doesn’t say that they entrusted her to take care of everything. All they did was invite Jesus and Mary to their homes. Like them, let us also invite Jesus and Mary into our homes. We don’t even need to tell her what we need. Just make sure we invite them – every single day, into our hearts, our homes, our lives. If our blessed mother is there, she will find out, tell her Son, and fill us up with what we lack.

From being a scripture passage that I tried to avoid contemplating on, this has now turned out to be one of my favorites. Especially the verse ‘what is that to us?’! Isn’t it amazing how the Holy Spirit sheds His light into our minds and takes the darkness away? I praise and thank God for this enlightenment.

Lucy (March 2005)

1 comment:

Joji said...

Lucy, I always thought that passage was a beautiful moment in Marys and Jesus's life. All the sweet facets of their special relationship were played out there. Jesus was reluctant to do the miracle before what he considered His time. As every mother like you and Mary, Mary knew what was needed instinctively at that moment of crisis for that family. And she had the deepest trust and faith in Her son. Jesus out of his most beautiful love and respect for his mother just follows through with a miracle as if it was the most natural thing for him to do.

I had wished I had that wonderful beautiful relationship of trust and faith with my Lord, but its tough. I trust in my heavenly mother to obtain for me the graces needed for that.

Thank you for this beautiful sharing