In today's Gospel we are shown Jesus bringing great joy to a young couple threatened with deep embarrassment and no little sorrow, and we note that Jesus' blessing came into their lives through Mary.
Today, He does the same in and through Mother Church, His Mystical Body, which works, suffers, and prays to bring the blessings of His grace and truth to all the nations, and to further the establishment of God's Kingdom here on earth; as He Himself had foretold when speaking to His disciples before His Ascension:
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. (John 14:12)
Jesus is now seated at the right hand of His Father in glory where He is totally devoted to giving glory to His Father and winning salvation for His brethren on earth and in need: for Jesus is, indeed, totally and gloriously selfless:
And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (John 14:13)
In the first reading Isaiah showed Jesus' desire to bring us salvation and have us share in His own glory, by the words:
For Zion's sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns.
And looking back at Mary in the Gospel reading we see how Jesus has made her glory shine out before our eyes like a lamp burning to guide us to salvation:
When they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, "They have no wine."
Apparently, Jesus did not think it a matter that concerned Him personally:
(He) said to her, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come."
However, Mary had devoted herself totally and unreservedly to the welfare of her Child: nourishing Him, protecting Him, and supremely, teaching Him all she knew of God in order that He might learn how, in human flesh, to respond to His heavenly Father and live, as His Son, among men; and now she is about to be rewarded. She is to be allowed, indeed, to be inspired by the Father, to help her Son hear, recognize, and embrace His heavenly Father’s call to begin His public ministry of salvation.
At His recent baptism in the Jordan by John, Jesus had been manifestly acknowledged and inwardly confirmed by His Father’s heavenly proclamation. Moreover, He had been endowed by the Gift of the Holy Spirit, and then finally prepared for His future labours and spiritual combat by His victory over the Devil in the desert contest. He was, indeed, ready, and all was prepared and poised for Him to begin His work of salvation. However, He would not repeat His youthful ‘mistaken’ zeal to ‘be about His Father’s business’ ... He must watch and wait for His Father’s specific commission.
Of course, Mary did not, and could not, know that of which Jesus Himself was unaware. Nevertheless, just as God the Father willed to honour John the Baptist by allowing him to baptize His Son, so too He willed to honour Mary -- the most perfect mother of His only-begotten Son -- by moving her to help Jesus start out upon the work for which His heavenly Father had destined Him, for which His earthly childhood with Mary and subsequent years of obedience as Son of Mary and Son of the Law had been preparing Him, and for which His baptismal experience in the Jordan had now primed Him. How did Mary, under God's inspiration, do this?
Very simply, as you would expect:
His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it."
That was indeed simply said, but it was certainly not expected. Jesus would have seemed to want no part in relieving the rather embarrassing shortage of wine at this local wedding... after all, it was probably not such a rare occurrence when wedding celebrations went on for up to seven days with guests coming and going and when the families involved were rarely rich. Whatever the case, Mary -- the humble handmaid of God -- gently insisted with her Son by turning to the servers standing by and saying, "Whatever He says to you, do it." All eyes, therefore, were now firmly and expectantly fixed on Jesus.
Such behaviour, such insistence, was strange, most strange indeed for one characterised by her great humility, and the incongruity of it was enough for Jesus: He recognized His Father’s grace guiding His mother’s behaviour, just as He would later recognize His Father’s part in Peter’s humble confession and open declaration that He, Jesus, was the Christ, the Son of the living God:
Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 16:17)
Here at this wedding feast in Cana Jesus recognized that His Father was honouring Mary, and indeed was inspiring her to give her Son her very own special, maternal, blessing, by calling on Him for a miracle that would celebrate the fact that the hour for Him to really start about His Father’s business had, at last, come!!
What joy filled His heart, and what expression and significance He gave to that joy! Around 150 gallons of best wine filled those 6 stone water jars brought by the servers:
All you who are thirsty, come to the water! Come, without paying and without cost, drink wine..! (Isaiah 55:1)
Wine, fruit of the Vine! I, Jesus, am the vine, the fruitful vine ... so much wine, so great a vine
... Drink from it all of you, for this is My blood of the covenant ... from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it with you new in the kingdom of My Father. (Matthew 26)
God would not take Mary's Son from her, she would give Him as she did those years ago when presenting Him in the temple at Jerusalem. God would not take Mary's Son from her, He had not done that to Abraham, He would not do it to Mary; moreover, Mary, being greater than Abraham, was allowed to give her supreme blessing to her Son and Saviour and thus help Him set out with great joy along the way that would lead, ultimately, to His Passion, Death, and glorious Resurrection. Isaiah's prophecy was being fulfilled:
You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. (Isaiah 62:3)
Mary's own words too had been prophetic:
My soul magnifies the Lord, for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.
Today, that same work of God, that abiding desire of Jesus, for our salvation and glorification, is being carried on and brought to fulfilment through the Holy Spirit at work in and through Mother Church and in the souls of Jesus' faithful disciples, as St. Paul says:
The manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.
Moreover, Paul assures us that we are all called to share in Jesus' work:
To one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
St. Paul could make only a small choice, because the gifts of God cannot be numbered and no one is left ungifted. Some of those gifts are, indeed, beyond our imagining: for example, how could anyone have foreseen that the Father would inspire Mary to persist in her request even though Jesus, initially, did not want to know anything further about her concern?
People of God, all disciples of Jesus should have no doubt that He can and does will to make use of the talents of each and every one of us, thereby associating us with Himself, in His work for the glory of His Father and the salvation of souls. We, for our part, however, must, first of all, want Him to do this with our lives; and then we must learn to listen for His voice and to respond immediately to the promptings of His Spirit, that we might be able to carry out His will and share in His work. Only in that way can Isaiah's prophecy be fulfilled in us:
Nations shall behold your vindication, and all the kings your glory.
God has already begun to do this for Mother Church: the greatest empires and the mightiest kings have, over two thousand years, come -- in all their power and magnificence -- and gone, despite all their cruelty and cunning. Mother Church has withstood and outlived them all. And those other prophetic words:
You shall be called by a new name, pronounced by the mouth of the Lord,
are also being fulfilled for her in us her children who have been baptized and made a new creation through water and the Holy Spirit, a new creation with the new name of children of God in Spirit and in Truth.
God wants this work to continue, He wants us, in Mother Church, to share in the glory of His Christ; and, by the Spirit, to offer His salvation to all mankind:
There are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all: the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.
People of God, despair neither of God nor of yourselves. Some there are who say they are not gifted enough to do anything for God. That is an attitude of mock humility, because it contradicts the words of Scripture for, as St. Paul tells us, the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all; indeed, such an attitude is sinful, since it would blame a supposed lack of generosity on God’s part to cover up personal self-love and indifference. There are others, however, more sincere and humble, who are tempted to think that because they have done nothing remarkable, therefore they have done nothing. Some of them then go on to think that not having done anything shows that they cannot do anything, and, despairing of themselves, they are then tempted to give up. Don't let the devil deceive you, my dear People, such thoughts as those can be the testing of a humble mind, but only provided that they do not lead you to that last step and final trap of "giving up".
Mary knew that she had done nothing herself:
He who is mighty has done great things for me, He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden;
she was acutely aware of her lowliness and never tried to make herself anything other than what she was before God. Mary did not seek to make herself known or appreciated by men: her desire was to do God's will, to be most truly His handmaid; and it was for that reason that she was so prompt to hear and obey God at Cana when He called her to give her last great instance of motherly guidance to her Son. It was Mary's selflessness that made her the wonder she is: she always heard, recognized, and responded to God working in her and through her for His Son. This Jesus had long recognized and frequently admired:
And it happened, as He spoke, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him:
"Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!" But He said, "More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!" (Luke 11:27-28)
People of God, God can do anything with those who are humble, those who truly seek Him first and foremost in their lives and who are willing to trust Him in all things. Ask Mary to pray for you; beg the Holy Spirit to guide you; thank God for His goodness to you in Mother Church. Do these things and the Holy Spirit will be with you to form you into an ever more close and true likeness of Jesus; bringing forth fruit in Him and with Him for the glory of the Father and the salvation of souls.