2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time January 17, 2016
Cana was a village not far from Nazareth. Mary was probably a relative of the bride. Jesus had just returned home with five disciples in tow, and all of them came along with Mary to the wedding (Jn. 2). A wedding reception in biblical times would have lasted for days. Perhaps this was a couple of limited means who were not expecting so many disciples to accompany Jesus! As was the custom of the times, Mary would have naturally been helping with the preparations, and so she would have noticed the dwindling wine supplies. This would have been a source of deep embarrassment to the couple.
Mary will intercede for us. Almost everyone has either attended a wedding reception or hosted one, and often things don’t go as planned. I planned my ordination reception to be held outdoors in South Salem on the only day (at that time) in recorded Oregon history when it had never rained; and, yet, as the date approached, rain was forecast for that day. I remember asking Mary to put in a good word for me to her Son to keep that date rainless for just one more year, and it didn’t rain!
Mary knew what to ask for. Sometimes we find ourselves at our wits end, like this couple. When we don’t even know what to ask for, or the situation seems practically impossible, we have a friend in Mary who will pray for us in heaven because she knows what is really needed. She will intercede for us, just as we pray for each other on earth.
Mary knew what Jesus could do. Did you ever wonder how Mary knew Jesus could handle this situation? She had observed Jesus at home. Apparently he had worked a few miracles around the house that others had not seen. No one thought to ask Jesus for such a thing, but Mary knew the heart of her Son. Mary knew Jesus’ heart very well.
Mary’s request seems to be denied at first. Jesus and his disciples were simply guests at a social function. Our Lord had absolutely no desire to attract attention at this gathering – performing a miracle was not in his plans. Yet he acceded to his mother’s wishes when she asked, after letting her know that he was changing his plan to accommodate her empathetic request.
Mary gives us great advice. These are the last recorded words of Mary in the New Testament: “Do whatever he tells you to do!” Every appearance of Mary in the Bible points to her Son, Jesus. This is her role as his Mother – and our spiritual Mother – reminding us to listen to her Son! If only we would take this one piece of advice, our lives would be radically oriented toward all that is best for us and all those we encounter, whether we are at a wedding reception or any other seemingly impossible situation we might find ourselves in.