by Fr Christopher Maseko
In the Old and New Testament marriage expresses the summit of the Covenant between God and Israel or between the Lord and Humanity. At Cana it is a question of a human wedding, the feast celebrating the love of a man with a woman… it is with joyful humanity, at the act of founding a human family, that Mary participates. Her presence is mentioned before the one of the Son. This week’s readings remind us that God is like a bridegroom to us, and we, all of us together, are his bride, invited to the wedding feast.
Two elements are making of this miracle a Johannine miracle; they are the words “hour” and “glory”. Both are words and they are linked: The hour is when Jesus enters into his glory through his passion. It is not yet the hour, but the glory is already guessed. In this event we see Mary as: a woman who is present, a woman who sees and assumes human problems; she is able to be responsible, and this is the natural feminine genius, to be sensitive to the problems and to try to find a solution. A woman who knows her Son; she is accustomed to his intimacy, a woman who believes: she brings the human problem to her Son. A woman who helps the Son to reveal himself, and the faith of the disciples to spring out.
At Cana Mary has only two initiatives and two statements: she goes to Jesus with a human problem: “They have no wine” and teaches us a central spiritual behaviour: to go to the Lord when we are beset by problems. She goes to the servants with her knowledge of the Son: “Do whatever he tells you!” The two behaviours are essential for the miracle, the sign where Jesus reveals himself and the disciples believe in him. Because of Mary’s initiative, we are no longer at an unimportant village wedding, in human time, with her enter into Jesus’ hour; in Jesus’ time valuable for the whole human history; for all generations, we have taken a step in the eschatological time with her Son, here Jesus offers his wine and reveals himself so that we may believe. John knows from the experience of that to believe in Jesus as a Christ is to live a life within life. Nothing is changed, but everything is changed. What had been water is wine. Word has been flesh. An hour that has not yet come is here.
We have the our Lord’s repeated assurance that we possess the fullest right to go to God (or to Him) and tell him with utter frankness all our problems, or of others, so that in so doing we are not intruding, but we are acting as we ought to do. Let us ask Mary to intercede for us and plead our cause with her Son, for she fills her hands with heavenly favours and distributes blessings and graces. The Queen of clemency and bounty that she is, we can sure hope listen to her as she instructs us, “Do whatever he tells you”. Amen.