In today's Gospel we are shown Jesus bringing joy to a young couple threatened with deep, present, embarrassment and enduring sorrow, and we note that Jesus' blessing came into their lives through Mary.
He commonly does the same today in and through Mother Church, His Mystical Body, which works, suffers, and prays for the blessings of His grace and truth to be bestowed upon all mankind, and for the establishment of God's Kingdom here on earth; as He Himself had foretold when He said to His disciples before His Ascension (John 14:12):
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
Jesus is now seated at the right hand of His Father in heaven where He is totally devoted to glorifying His Father and bringing about salvation for us His brethren still on earth: for Jesus is, indeed, totally and gloriously selfless.
I go to My Father, and whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (John 14:12-13)
In the first reading Isaiah showed the Lord God’s will for Israel’s salvation through prophetic words that Jesus later applied to Himself at the beginning of His public ministry (Luke 4:18); words which are now being realized for us today in and through Mother Church by the Spirit of Jesus:
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.
Now let us look back at Mary in the Gospel reading and see how God made her glory shine out like a burning lamp to guide us to salvation:
When they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, "They have no wine."
Jesus did not think it a matter that concerned Him Personally: He had just been proclaimed and ‘installed’ as Son of God and Israel’s Messiah and was on His way to Galilee (with five newly-chosen disciples) to begin His Public Ministry; He did not want His Father’s commission being prejudiced by His mother’s personal concerns, by her emotional involvement in human affairs …
(He) said to her, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come."
However, God the Father had a particular appreciation of Mary who had devoted herself totally to the welfare of her Child – His Word made flesh -- by nourishing Him, protecting Him, and above all, by teaching Him all she knew of God: opening up her own mind and heart to her Child in order that He might learn first how to pray and then how to respond to His heavenly Father as a true Israelite, indeed, as the Chosen One of a Chosen People.
Now Mary is about to be rewarded, acknowledged, for what she had done for God's Son throughout His childhood years: she is to be inspired to help her Son hear and recognize His heavenly Father’s call to begin His public ministry of salvation on this uniquely appropriate occasion.
Of course, Mary did not, indeed she could not, know what Jesus Himself was unaware of; nevertheless, God the Father willed to honour her -- the humble handmaid and perfect mother His only-begotten Son -- by inspiring her to set Jesus out upon the work for which His life with her had been preparing Him and for which His heavenly Father had destined 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 to be expected. Jesus had apparently declined to have any part in the embarrassing shortage of wine, but Mary, the humble handmaid of God, gently insisted:
Whatever He says to you, do it.
Such apparently strange behaviour on the part of Mary was enough for her Son. Jesus immediately recognized His Father at work in Mary’s insistence, just as later He would recognize His Father’s influence on Peter confessing that 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)
So too here, at this symbolically joyful wedding feast, Jesus recognizes His Father’s influence on and gift to ‘insistent’ Mary: inspiring her to give her Son a mother’s blessing as He began His work of salvation: a work already fully planned by His loving Father and whole-heartedly embraced by His obedient Son, a work that would lead by way of the Cross to His most glorious Resurrection. God would not take Mary's Son from her: He had not done that to Abraham, He would not do that to Mary. Mary, however, being greater than Abraham, was uniquely privileged to bless her Son’s future mission by helping Him choose this most appropriate occasion of love, commitment, and joy for His first miracle. Isaiah's prophecy was being fulfilled in Mary herself, the supreme member of Mother-Church-new-born:
You (Zion) shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the Lord, 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, the gradual fulfilment of that will of God, of that abiding desire of Jesus, is carried on through the gift of their Holy Spirit as St. Paul told us:
The manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.
Paul assures us that we are all called -- as living and obedient members of Jesus’ Mystical Body the Church -- to share in the work of bringing Jesus’ Good News to all mankind:
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 un-gifted. Some of those gifts are, indeed, beyond our imagining: for example, how could anyone have imagined that the Father would inspire Mary to persist even though Jesus appeared to want to know nothing further about the matter?
People of God, all who are serious disciples of Jesus must be convinced that He does want to use and ultimately glorify each and every one of us in Himself. 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 Spirit and respond without delay to His promptings; only in that way can Isaiah's prophecy come to greater fulfilment in us and in our days:
Nations shall behold your vindication, and all kings your glory.
God has already done some of 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.
Those other prophetic words, however:
You shall be called by a new name, bestowed by the mouth of the Lord,
have urgent need of fulfilment in modern times through all who have been baptized in Mother Church as children of her fruitfulness: all, that is, who have been 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. Because these modern times are times of great sinfulness and proud ignorance God wants this work to continue more urgently by the Spirit:
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, to each one a manifestation of the Spirit is given; indeed, such an attitude is sinful, since it would blame a supposed lack of generosity on God’s part to cover up one’s own personal selfishness or indifference. There are others, however, perhaps more humble and sincere, who are tempted to think that because they have done nothing remarkable, therefore they have done nothing. They should not, however, mistake human estimation (even their own) for God’s appreciation, for Jesus tells us (Luke 16:15):
What is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God.
Mary knew that she had done nothing of herself, nevertheless she also believed:
He Who is mighty has done great things for me, for He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant.
Mary was acutely aware of her lowliness; she 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 truly His handmaid; and it was for that reason that she was so prompt to hear and obey God at the wedding feast at Cana It was Mary's selflessness that made her the wonder she is: she always heard, recognized, and responded to God the Father working in and through her by His Spirit for her Son. Of this Jesus was well aware as is shown by the fact that, as He was speaking on one occasion, a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him (Luke 11:27-28):
"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!"
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 and in your own personal, living, relationship with Him. Do these things and the Holy Spirit will be with you to form you into an ever more close and true likeness of Jesus; let Him thus raise you, and all you may influence, to a closer proximity with Him Who is the Lord and Father of us all.