Posts Tagged ‘Mary’

The Voice of Mary

Friday, October 30th, 2009

The Marriage at Cana by David Gerard

The Marriage at Cana by David Gerard


One interesting observation concerning the miracle at the wedding feast at Cana (John 2:1-11) is the change in Mary’s voice from passive to active. When she speaks to Jesus about the wine running out she does not ask a direct question. She does not ask for a miracle. Contrast Mary in this scene against those who in the Gospels asked for a sign:

Zechariah: Luke 1:18-20.
Pharisees & Sadducees: Matthew 16:1-4
The crowd at Capernaum: John 6:30-33, John 6:66
Another crowd: Luke 11:29-32
Herod: Luke 23:8-9

Usually, when people ask Jesus for a sign it’s because they lack faith, they are testing Him or they are coming to see a spectacle. But there are exceptions such as when the disciples asked for a sign of Christ’s return (Matthew 24:1-51). Mary does not ask for anything, instead she merely makes the statement,” They have no wine.” Such a statement doesn’t even seem to imply that Jesus should do something about it; at least not in our culture today. Jesus’ response is not one that would seem to communicate that He intends to do anything about it either. If that’s where it ended the waiters would be left to resolve the problem on their own. What could they come up with? Would the head waiter approach the groom? Would they go out and get more wine? These are the natural methods we would employ with a certain degree of effort to solve our problems. Despite the fact that there is no indication that Jesus will do anything the waiters do not depart from Jesus and Mary. What are they waiting for unless they have some degree of faith? So there is a great deal of subtext to read between the lines especially considering that the very next words from Mary are a clear directive. She already knows what Jesus will do without a word of consent from Him. Mary says, “Do what He tells you.” This active voice is doing more than commanding the waiters. It’s true that this is a request that Mary makes of us as well. As grand a point as that is there is still something more. The waiters have been waiting for instruction and Mary gives it to them, which validates their patience. This chapter ends with the particular note that because of this miracle the disciples began to believe in Jesus. Mary is way ahead of them and is already spreading her faith around. Mary’s intersession instigates the miracle which gives the disciples cause to believe. Her behest also reinforces our desire to follow Jesus. Mary is so confident that Jesus will do something that she dispels any doubt on our part. She fills in for our lack of faith. She reassures us and invites us to move into action and to give wings to our trust in Jesus so that we do not just move about on our own but we fly with the help of faith to accomplish what God asks of us.

John 2:1-11
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
1And the third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee: and the mother of Jesus was there.
2And Jesus also was invited, and his disciples, to the marriage.
3And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine.
4And Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is that to me and to thee? my hour is not yet come.
5His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye.
6Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three measures apiece.
7Jesus saith to them: Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.
8And Jesus saith to them: Draw out now, and carry to the chief steward of the feast. And they carried it.
9And when the chief steward had tasted the water made wine, and knew not whence it was, but the waiters knew who had drawn the water; the chief steward calleth the bridegroom,
10And saith to him: Every man at first setteth forth good wine, and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse. But thou hast kept the good wine until now.
11This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee; and manifested his glory, and his disciples believed in him.
Luke 1:18-20
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
18And Zachary said to the angel: Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.
19And the angel answering, said to him: I am Gabriel, who stand before God: and am sent to speak to thee, and to bring thee these good tidings.
20And behold, thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be able to speak until the day wherein these things shall come to pass, because thou hast not believed my words, which shall be fulfilled in their time.
Matthew 16:1-4
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
1And there came to him the Pharisees and Sadduccees tempting: and they asked him to shew them a sign from heaven.
2But he answered and said to them: When it is evening, you say, It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.
3And in the morning: Today there will be a storm, for the sky is red and lowering. You know then how to discern the face of the sky: and can you not know the signs of the times?
4A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign: and a sign shall not be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. And he left them, and went away.
John 6:30-33
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
30They said therefore to him: What sign therefore dost thou shew, that we may see, and may believe thee? What dost thou work?
31Our fathers did eat manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
32Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you; Moses gave you not bread from heaven, but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
33For the bread of God is that which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life to the world.
John 6:66
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
66And he said: Therefore did I say to you, that no man can come to me, unless it be given him by my Father.
Luke 11:29-32
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
29And the multitudes running together, he began to say: This generation is a wicked generation: it asketh a sign, and a sign shall not be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.
30For as Jonas was a sign to the Ninivites; so shall the Son of man also be to this generation.
31The queen of the south shall rise in the judgment with the men of this generation, and shall condemn them: because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold more than Solomon here.
32The men of Ninive shall rise in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it; because they did penance at the preaching of Jonas; and behold more than Jonas here.
Luke 23:8-9
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
8And Herod, seeing Jesus, was very glad; for he was desirous of a long time to see him, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to see some sign wrought by him.
9And he questioned him in many words. But he answered him nothing.
Matthew 24:1-51
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
1And Jesus being come out of the temple, went away. And his disciples came to shew him the buildings of the temple.
2And he answering, said to them: Do you see all these things? Amen I say to you there shall not be left here a stone upon a stone that shall not be destroyed.
3And when he was sitting on mount Olivet, the disciples came to him privately, saying: Tell us when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the consummation of the world?
4And Jesus answering, said to them: Take heed that no man seduce you:
5For many will come in my name saying, I am Christ: and they will seduce many.
6And you shall hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that ye be not troubled. For these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be pestilences, and famines, and earthquakes in places:
8Now all these are the beginnings of sorrows.
9Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall put you to death: and you shall be hated by all nations for my name's sake.
10And then shall many be scandalized: and shall betray one another: and shall hate one another.
11And many false prophets shall rise, and shall seduce many.
12And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold.
13But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved.
14And this gospel of the kingdom, shall be preached in the whole world, for a testimony to all nations, and then shall the consummation come.
15When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that readeth let him understand.
16Then they that are in Judea, let them flee to the mountains:
17And he that is on the housetop, let him not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18And he that is in the field, let him not go back to take his coat.
19And woe to them that are with child, and that give suck in those days.
20But pray that your flight be not in the winter, or on the sabbath.
21For there shall be then great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be.
22And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved: but for the sake of the elect those days shall be shortened.
23Then if any man shall say to you: Lo here is Christ, or there, do not believe him.
24For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect.
25Behold I have told it to you, beforehand.
26If therefore they shall say to you: Behold he is in the desert, go ye not out: Behold he is in the closets, believe it not.
27For as lightning cometh out of the east, and appeareth even into the west: so shall the coming of the Son of man be.
28Wheresoever the body shall be, there shall the eagles also be gathered together.
29And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be moved:
30And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all tribes of the earth mourn: and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with much power and majesty.
31And he shall send his angels with a trumpet, and a great voice: and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the farthest parts of the heavens to the utmost bounds of them.
32And from the fig tree learn a parable: When the branch thereof is now tender, and the leaves come forth, you know that summer is nigh.
33So you also, when you shall see all these things, know ye that it is nigh, even at the doors.
34Amen I say to you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.
35Heaven and earth shall pass, but my words shall not pass.
36But of that day and hour no one knoweth, not the angels of heaven, but the Father alone.
37And as in the days of Noe, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, even till that day in which Noe entered into the ark,
39And they knew not till the flood came, and took them all away; so also shall the coming of the Son of man be.
40Then two shall be in the field: one shall be taken, and one shall be left.
41Two women shall be grinding at the mill: one shall be taken, and one shall be left.
42Watch ye therefore, because ye know not what hour your Lord will come.
43But know this ye, that if the goodman of the house knew at what hour the thief would come, he would certainly watch, and would not suffer his house to be broken open.
44Wherefore be you also ready, because at what hour you know not the Son of man will come.
45Who, thinkest thou, is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath appointed over his family, to give them meat in season.
46Blessed is that servant, whom when his lord shall come he shall find so doing.
47Amen I say to you, he shall place him over all his goods.
48But if that evil servant shall say in his heart: My lord is long a coming:
49And shall begin to strike his fellow servants, and shall eat and drink with drunkards:
50The lord of that servant shall come in a day that he hopeth not, and at an hour that he knoweth not:
51And shall separate him, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

From Cana to Senegal & from Baptism to Eucharist

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

RE: John 2:1-11

1596-97 Vrouwekathedraal, Antwerp

1596-97 Vrouwekathedraal, Antwerp

Wine is representative of the work of human hands because the grapes must be cultivated, harvested, crushed and contained.  So when the wine runs out it is representative of the insufficiency of man’s work to provide the elements that facilitate joy and celebration.  Since the wedding is a union of man and woman, who are in the likeness of God, it represents the coming together of Heaven and Earth.  The question then arises, how will the celebration go on when the wine runs out, or how will the union of man and God be celebrated if man’s work is insufficient?  Christ Himself must make up for our insufficiencies.  Since no man’s work is sufficient on its own merit to bring him to God, God must make up the difference.  How does Jesus bridge the gap?  Jesus first instructs the workers to fill jars with water.  And here is where every Christian journey begins, with instruction and the purifying waters of baptism. Take notice in John 2:6 that the stone water jars that are used for this miracle are intended to be used for purifying (ceremonial washing: NAB).  The baptismal waters are just a beginning because the water must be turned to wine before the head waiter approves.  In a sense the head waiter is like God the Father who at His son’s baptism declares, “This is my Son in whom I am well pleased.”  Similarly, the head waiter approves of the wine in an extraordinary way.  The wine that Christ makes is more than sufficient in both quantity and quality and the head waiter testifies that it is better than the first wine, which was already good.  This refers to the first or Old Covenant which is good not because of man’s effort but because of God’s goodness.  Now the New Covenant that the Father makes is greater than the first covenant because the sacrifice will not be the blood of creatures but of His own Son.  In the context of a wedding celebration this covenant shows God’s plan to save the celebration of life, which is the union of man to God.  This plan involves the obedience of man, our receptiveness to His instruction and our effort in carrying out that instruction no matter how insufficient our work is.  We see this kind of obedience in the actions of the waiters whom Mary tells to do as Jesus says. 

Institution of the Holy Eucharist

Institution of the Holy Eucharist

In this plan, Jesus leads us from one sacrament to another; from repentance through Baptism to communion through the Holy Eucharist.  For now, at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry He makes the water into wine yet when His ministry culminates in the Senegal and on the Cross He will make the wine into His blood.  It is through water that we come to His Body and Blood; it is through Baptism that we come to the Holy Eucharist.
© Tim Bartel 2009

John 2:1-11
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
1And the third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee: and the mother of Jesus was there.
2And Jesus also was invited, and his disciples, to the marriage.
3And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine.
4And Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is that to me and to thee? my hour is not yet come.
5His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye.
6Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three measures apiece.
7Jesus saith to them: Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.
8And Jesus saith to them: Draw out now, and carry to the chief steward of the feast. And they carried it.
9And when the chief steward had tasted the water made wine, and knew not whence it was, but the waiters knew who had drawn the water; the chief steward calleth the bridegroom,
10And saith to him: Every man at first setteth forth good wine, and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse. But thou hast kept the good wine until now.
11This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee; and manifested his glory, and his disciples believed in him.
Luke 1:18-20
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
18And Zachary said to the angel: Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.
19And the angel answering, said to him: I am Gabriel, who stand before God: and am sent to speak to thee, and to bring thee these good tidings.
20And behold, thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be able to speak until the day wherein these things shall come to pass, because thou hast not believed my words, which shall be fulfilled in their time.
Matthew 16:1-4
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
1And there came to him the Pharisees and Sadduccees tempting: and they asked him to shew them a sign from heaven.
2But he answered and said to them: When it is evening, you say, It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.
3And in the morning: Today there will be a storm, for the sky is red and lowering. You know then how to discern the face of the sky: and can you not know the signs of the times?
4A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign: and a sign shall not be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. And he left them, and went away.
John 6:30-33
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
30They said therefore to him: What sign therefore dost thou shew, that we may see, and may believe thee? What dost thou work?
31Our fathers did eat manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
32Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you; Moses gave you not bread from heaven, but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
33For the bread of God is that which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life to the world.
John 6:66
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
66And he said: Therefore did I say to you, that no man can come to me, unless it be given him by my Father.
Luke 11:29-32
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
29And the multitudes running together, he began to say: This generation is a wicked generation: it asketh a sign, and a sign shall not be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.
30For as Jonas was a sign to the Ninivites; so shall the Son of man also be to this generation.
31The queen of the south shall rise in the judgment with the men of this generation, and shall condemn them: because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold more than Solomon here.
32The men of Ninive shall rise in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it; because they did penance at the preaching of Jonas; and behold more than Jonas here.
Luke 23:8-9
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
8And Herod, seeing Jesus, was very glad; for he was desirous of a long time to see him, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to see some sign wrought by him.
9And he questioned him in many words. But he answered him nothing.
Matthew 24:1-51
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
1And Jesus being come out of the temple, went away. And his disciples came to shew him the buildings of the temple.
2And he answering, said to them: Do you see all these things? Amen I say to you there shall not be left here a stone upon a stone that shall not be destroyed.
3And when he was sitting on mount Olivet, the disciples came to him privately, saying: Tell us when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the consummation of the world?
4And Jesus answering, said to them: Take heed that no man seduce you:
5For many will come in my name saying, I am Christ: and they will seduce many.
6And you shall hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that ye be not troubled. For these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be pestilences, and famines, and earthquakes in places:
8Now all these are the beginnings of sorrows.
9Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall put you to death: and you shall be hated by all nations for my name's sake.
10And then shall many be scandalized: and shall betray one another: and shall hate one another.
11And many false prophets shall rise, and shall seduce many.
12And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold.
13But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved.
14And this gospel of the kingdom, shall be preached in the whole world, for a testimony to all nations, and then shall the consummation come.
15When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that readeth let him understand.
16Then they that are in Judea, let them flee to the mountains:
17And he that is on the housetop, let him not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18And he that is in the field, let him not go back to take his coat.
19And woe to them that are with child, and that give suck in those days.
20But pray that your flight be not in the winter, or on the sabbath.
21For there shall be then great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be.
22And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved: but for the sake of the elect those days shall be shortened.
23Then if any man shall say to you: Lo here is Christ, or there, do not believe him.
24For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect.
25Behold I have told it to you, beforehand.
26If therefore they shall say to you: Behold he is in the desert, go ye not out: Behold he is in the closets, believe it not.
27For as lightning cometh out of the east, and appeareth even into the west: so shall the coming of the Son of man be.
28Wheresoever the body shall be, there shall the eagles also be gathered together.
29And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be moved:
30And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all tribes of the earth mourn: and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with much power and majesty.
31And he shall send his angels with a trumpet, and a great voice: and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the farthest parts of the heavens to the utmost bounds of them.
32And from the fig tree learn a parable: When the branch thereof is now tender, and the leaves come forth, you know that summer is nigh.
33So you also, when you shall see all these things, know ye that it is nigh, even at the doors.
34Amen I say to you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.
35Heaven and earth shall pass, but my words shall not pass.
36But of that day and hour no one knoweth, not the angels of heaven, but the Father alone.
37And as in the days of Noe, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, even till that day in which Noe entered into the ark,
39And they knew not till the flood came, and took them all away; so also shall the coming of the Son of man be.
40Then two shall be in the field: one shall be taken, and one shall be left.
41Two women shall be grinding at the mill: one shall be taken, and one shall be left.
42Watch ye therefore, because ye know not what hour your Lord will come.
43But know this ye, that if the goodman of the house knew at what hour the thief would come, he would certainly watch, and would not suffer his house to be broken open.
44Wherefore be you also ready, because at what hour you know not the Son of man will come.
45Who, thinkest thou, is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath appointed over his family, to give them meat in season.
46Blessed is that servant, whom when his lord shall come he shall find so doing.
47Amen I say to you, he shall place him over all his goods.
48But if that evil servant shall say in his heart: My lord is long a coming:
49And shall begin to strike his fellow servants, and shall eat and drink with drunkards:
50The lord of that servant shall come in a day that he hopeth not, and at an hour that he knoweth not:
51And shall separate him, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
John 2:1-11
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
1And the third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee: and the mother of Jesus was there.
2And Jesus also was invited, and his disciples, to the marriage.
3And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine.
4And Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is that to me and to thee? my hour is not yet come.
5His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye.
6Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three measures apiece.
7Jesus saith to them: Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.
8And Jesus saith to them: Draw out now, and carry to the chief steward of the feast. And they carried it.
9And when the chief steward had tasted the water made wine, and knew not whence it was, but the waiters knew who had drawn the water; the chief steward calleth the bridegroom,
10And saith to him: Every man at first setteth forth good wine, and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse. But thou hast kept the good wine until now.
11This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee; and manifested his glory, and his disciples believed in him.
John 2:6
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
6Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three measures apiece.