OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:
When Jesus transforms water into wine at the Wedding at Cana, He addresses His mother, “Woman.”
This is the first time Jesus calls Mary as the “Woman.” The second time is when He hangs on the cross. It may be recalled that God also referred to Eve as the “Woman.” In biblical parallelism, Mary as the Mother of Jesus plays a central role in the history of salvation. She is the new Eve.
So Jesus’ calling of Mary as “Woman” is not an utterance of rebuke because she reported to Him that the wine had run out – as if Jesus wanted to tell her that it’s none of His business to know. It is, in fact, a show of deep reverence and high esteem. It is like addressing her as Ginang or “Lady” or “Senora” or “Frau.” Of course, Mary is not the only one whom Jesus addressed as “Woman.” The woman caught in adultery is one; the woman at Jacob’s well is another. Indeed, Jesus is the perfect gentleman, the veritable respecter of women.
Let us now dwell on the role of Mary at the wedding. It is remarkable that she is apparently the only one who noticed that the wine had run out. Not even the head of the servants or the Master of the feast, whose business it was to see to it that everything should go well, had any inkling of this potentially embarrassing situation. It is reasonable to surmise that Mary is at the kitchen all the time – the place of work and hurry. Perhaps, she is one of the guests. But since she is a woman of humble service, she presumambly decided to help out. So, she joined the crowd of servants.
It is in this sense of humble service that makes Mary the real discerner of our needs. As our Mother, she knows exactly what is good and best for us.
“There is no more wine,” she says to her Son. It is neither a demand nor even a request. It is just a description of a state of affairs. She does not put Jesus on the spot. Nor does she badger Him to perform a miracle. She gives Jesus a space to think and decide. She is very prudent, wise and considerate.
Of course, she knows her Son deep in her heart. Acting on her mother’s instinct at the first sign of Jesus’ willingness to deal with the situation, she immediately instructs the servants. “Do whatever he tells you.”
Mary’s injunction illustrates her role as our mediator to the Lord. She brings people to her Son. It also highlights her profound faith in Him – knowing well that whatever He tells us is wise, good, and just.
It is also interesting to note that Mary is always present at every crucial stage in the life of the Lord. That is her role. And she is also present whenever we need her. ( Fr. Raymun Festin, SVD Bible Diary 2006)
Some years ago on the bus from Batangas to manila, the lens of my glasses fell out and rolled under the seat of the young man in front of me. When I asked him to get it for me he glanced down briefly, turned to me and said, “No, it’s not there,” and went back to his own thoughts. When the young man got up to leave at Buendia, I quickly retrieved the lens from below his seat and followed him off the bus. In the Philippines, people normally make a wholehearted effort to help others, and this young man’s response surprised me because it was so unusual. Of course, there could have been understandable reasons for his attitude. He certainly looked very tired at that time.
Not unlike the young man on the bus, Jesus hesitated before fulfilling his mother’s request. He felt his time had not come. However, he then granted Mary’s prayer.
Today’s proclamation of the Word highlights the importance of prayer in the life of the community. We see also our Christian duty to respond wholeheartedly to the needs of others. after all, we are followers of Jesus. When we make an honest effort to fulfil someone’s request we are also acting as Christ has done and shown us, which is an important part of our Christian life and apostolate. Our responsibility for each other is stressed, particularly in our intercessory prayer for each other.
We also see the immeasurable effectiveness of prayer, we note the wonder in the words of the headwaiter: “…..you have kept the good wine until now.” The prayer shown here involves one’s complete trust in God, as we can see in Mary’s trust in her Son. Asking God for anything according to His will, mentioned by Saint John in today’s first reading, is a vital part of our fulfilling the work of the Lord in our lives. We all have, as Father Hontiveros put it in his song Walang Sinuman, “pananagutan sa isa’t isa,” and this is at the level of both intercessory prayer and concrete action (Fr. Alan Meechan, SVD Bible Diary 2012).
See Today’s Readings: Year I, Year II
Back to: January 7