Today, we have the story of the wedding in Cana. Jesus is there with Mary. (Missing from this event is Joseph. Where is he? According to biography.com, he is believed to have died before Jesus’ ministry.) This is a pretty happening party, obviously, as the wine is almost gone even though the guests have no plans of leaving anytime soon.
Mary tells Jesus they have no more wine. Jesus knows what she’s getting at, but he doesn’t seem eager to help. In fact, He comes off as a tad annoyed. “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4)
Mary is not taking no for an answer. She says to the stewards, “Do whatever he tells you.” As you might know, Jesus has the men fill the casks with water, he turns the water into wine, and the wedding guests marvel at a reception where the best wine is saved for last. Jesus saves the day!
As the priest explains today, the union of a man and a woman is very sacred in Christianity, and so it is fitting that Jesus’ first miracle takes place at a wedding. Something else seems intriguing to me, though: Although it is Jesus who performs a miracle, it is his mother who tells Him to do so. In other words, Jesus turns the water into wine upon the insistence of a woman.
The Church is often faulted for not giving women prominent roles. Women can’t be priests. They can’t head up a church. But women within the Church are doers. They teach; they heal; they console. And as this story of Mary indicates, they can have great influence. Sure, Mary was Jesus’ mother and He should obey her, but she is seen here as someone with a lot of strength and determination. She sets the wheels in motion for Jesus’ work. She initiates His ministry of healing and miracle-working.
That is pretty cool, and it makes me think that maybe we need to be more aware of the great and positive power women have, and how it can and should be used to do good.