My latest column at Today’s Catholic Women is on Our Lady of Mental Peace. She’s a new favorite Mary of mine.
I’m also over at Faith & Family Live with “Turning to Mary for Comfort.”
This week’s Mary Moment Monday is inspired by a question a Facebook friend asked me recently.
I am writing to ask you your thoughts on last week’s Gospel where Mary asks Jesus to provide more wine for the guests at a wedding and Jesus responds by saying, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not come.”
For some reason, my heart is having a hard time with this response (seems harsh). I was thinking that perhaps Mary had some motherly insight that He perhaps is ready for the next step and she was planting the seed.
I can’t help but think of how my husband teases his mom. I’ve always seen him do this. He and his siblings have a way of teasing her that is affectionate and gentle. They’ll bring up old stories and get everyone laughing or they’ll rib her when she makes a mistake borne of a misunderstanding, forgetfulness, or just plain human nature.
When my husband teases his mom, he’s never being harsh. He doesn’t ever want to hurt her. He isn’t going for her throat or trying to get even or be clever.
Once, early in our dating, I pointed out how often she gets teased, especially when the whole gang is together. He smiled and said, “It’s how she knows we love her.”
Over the years, I’ve seen this as a truth. I’ve even started jumping in.
What I always have to remind myself is that we tease because we love, not for malice or to be cruel.
Rereading this Gospel passage and picturing Jesus and Mary at Cana, I pause for moment.
Picture them in Nazareth for the 30 years prior. There had to be some teasing, some laughter, some poking. I have no proof of this, but it seems to go hand-in-hand with family life. In being fully human, there are plenty of opportunities to laugh and chuckle, to snort and hoot.
As much as Jesus and Mary loved each other, they had to share this intimate human experience of laughter.
Reading the Gospel with that thought as background, I see a bit of a twinkle in Jesus’ eye. Maybe this is some sort of long-standing thing between them. Maybe she’s been gently nudging Him for some time; maybe He’s been teasing her about this too. Had He done something like this at home previously when they ran out of something?
John Paul II, in a general audience on the wedding at Cana, shares this (emphasis mine):
According to one interpretation, from the moment his mission begins Jesus seems to call into question the natural relationship of son to which his mother refers. The sentence, in the local parlance, is meant to stress a distance between the persons, by excluding a communion of life. This distance does not preclude respect and esteem, the term “woman” by which he addresses his Mother is used with a nuance that will recur in the conversations with the Canaanite woman (cf. Mt 15:28), the Samaritan woman (cf. Jn 4:21), the adulteress (cf. Jn 8:10) and Mary Magdalene (cf. Jn 20:13), in contexts that show Jesus’ positive relationship with his female interlocutors.
With the expression: “O woman, what have you to do with me?”, Jesus intends to put Mary’s co-operation on the level of salvation which, by involving her faith and hope, requires her to go beyond her natural role of mother.
4. Of much greater import is the reason Jesus gives: “My hour has not yet come (Jn 2:4).
Some scholars who have studied this sacred text, following St Augustine’s interpretation, identify this “hour” with the Passion event. For others, instead, it refers to the first miracle in which the prophet of Nazareth’s messianic power would be revealed. Yet others hold that the sentence is interrogative and an extension of the question that precedes it: “What have you to do with me? Has my hour not yet come?”. Jesus gives Mary to understand that henceforth he no longer depends on her, but must take the initiative for doing his Father’s work. Then Mary docilely refrains from insisting with him and instead turns to the servants, telling them to obey him.
There’s a lot to glean from this passage of scripture (true of most of them, come to think of it). When you read a passage in the Bible that bothers you or makes you pause, take it with you in your heart, pray with it, ponder it deeply. Look at it from all angles and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your reflection. Research it, ask for help, and pray some more.
Any thoughts on this? (I know I haven’t come close to giving a good answer!)