Monday, January 18, 2010

Aha! Got Him with the Legal Mumbo Jumbo

Out of the mouths of babes…

I was recently discussing today’s Gospel reading, The Wedding Feast at Cana, with a friend. I asked why it was that Jesus did Mary’s bidding, though He believed His time had not yet come. Nine year old Elizabeth piped up without hesitation, “Because Mary was His Mother and even God has to obey His own Commandments. He had to honor His mother.”

Case closed.

The Spirit is strong with that little one. This isn’t the first time she has proven capable of confounding the Pontifical Biblical Commission. Her point is well made.

Jesus came to show us that it was possible to perfect ourselves according to His law. That perfection calls for submission to authority. Though He was God who took on human flesh, he chose Mary as His mother and was obliged to not merely obey her, but to be true to Himself in His own Words and honor her. She didn’t command Him, pull rank. She made her wishes known. That was enough. In honoring Mary, Jesus showed His complete obedience to His mother, as well as His Father in Heaven. It was through such obedience that He perfected Himself in His human nature.
This is just the beginning of a thoughtful meditation on the Gospel reading from yesterday from Coming Home. Go read it all.


  1. But I gotta say that it really is a waste to put the good wine out last. Really. I don't think Jesus knew that he was making wine of such high quality. Or that the host had served wine of such low quality. Because it is not good stewardship to serve the good wine to drunks.

  2. And I'll bet Jesus did not snap, "Woman!" to Mary. I'll bet he said, "Mom!" Because "Woman!" just reeks of disrespect to me. What loving son talks like that to his own mother?

    He said, "Mom!" in that mortified teenage tone of, not here! not now! not in front of all of my friends!

    And she was all oh yes buster you can solve this problem and you will or you'll be grounded for a month of Sundays and don't think I don't mean it.

  3. Oh ... here's the deal with "Woman."

    It is a sign that he is speaking prophetically, to a nation, not just to his mother (who, if we recall, is a type of faithful Israel, the perfect witness, the perfect disciple). The other time he does it? At the cross. Making this a bookend moment of when his time begins and ends in doing his Father's will.)

    As for the good wine, the point here is that God has overflowing generosity. That he gives us more than we can handle of the best quality ever.

    I'm going to look because I have a Genesis bible study somewhere online that I think addresses all this. Look for it in future postings! :-)

  4. Re "woman," what Julie said. If memory serves, this is also one of those times where we go astray by applying our own cultural mores to scripture. "Woman" the way Jesus used it was not a term of disrespect. I'd put it in the same bucket as His saying "Amen, amen, I say to you..." when wanting to emphasize something strongly. We might now prefer "Listen up! This is important!," but that's our culture, not His.

  5. Ah! You make sense! But if I am hosting an event with my own money, the good wine comes out first. :)

  6. Well, no one asked Jesus up front. Their big mistake! However, give him props. He did, by all accounts, provide enough wine to get everyone sozzled for several days. Our pastor pointed out last week that there probably were only about 50 people at the wedding and each jar held 20-30 gallons. So times six ... almost 200 gallons of wine. Does he know how to throw a party or what?

  7. Oh yeah, I meant to add that "Woman" was like saying "Ma'am" ... back in the day. Pretend he was a good Southern boy and it helps. :-D

  8. Oh I learn so much here! Jesus, the nice southern boy! And if you're going to throw a party, ask Jesus. Or at least ask God to provide the wine. :)

  9. The other thing that's amusing is watching Jesus in rabbinical game mode with his mother. He poses her a question and waits for a clever question; and she answers him by talking to somebody else entirely!

    I think Jesus and Mary would definitely skunk me at Scrabble. :)

  10. And as I mentioned in my homily this weekend, the wine that was being served obviously was not Boonesfarm, 'cause the custom was to serve GOOD wine first. Therefore, the wine that Jesus produced must have been an OUTSTANDING wine, not merely good! Whenever we do something well, when we add Jesus to the mix, it is always better!