Gospel - John 2:1-11
"There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servers, "Do whatever he tells you." Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told them, "Fill the jars with water." So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, "Draw some out now and take it to the head waiter." So they took it, and when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from-although the servers who had drawn the water knew-the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, "Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now." Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him."
In this gospel passage, there is an underlying message that strikes me- the message of obedience. As we watch Mary the mother of Jesus, we see her tender heart respond to human suffering. Mary does the most natural thing a woman would do in the absence of her husband, she finds her son. She tells Him her concern, simply, concisely and leaves it with Him. She is teaching us how to relate our concerns to her Son. She doesn't tell Jesus what to do, nor does she stay around trying to control the results. Let us watch her, she states the concern, "they have no wine." She listens to His reply, which perhaps didn't make complete sense, and she holds what she doesn't possibly understand quietly in her heart (accepting what is incomplete to her at the moment). She doesn't push His timing nor is she discouraged or anxious or angry, but rather goes on her way and tells the servers, "do whatever he tells you." A response completely anticipatory, there is complete trust here, between Mary and her Son, Jesus. What does her obedience consist of then? Fidelity to the will of God. She is faithful to the grace upon her, faithful to charity which bids her to help the wedding couple, faithful to the grace which moves her to appeal to her Son on behalf of the couple. Her obedience looks like fidelity.
Now the servants, what does their obedience look like? Its very prompt, they don't argue. Jesus says to them; "Fill the jars with water," so they, "filled them to the brim." Whether it seemed absurd or impossible, they followed what was told them, they were obedient to the voice of the Lord. They did a small act of obedience, and the fruit of it? A miracle, and impossible thing came from a very ordinary task. Obedience in our culture can oftentimes be seen as a "negative thing, that only children must learn and practice." As though obedience negates human and Christian maturity, as if it crushes personal freedom, independence, creativity and initiative. But obedience is truly the greatest freedom because it assures us of living in grace in the will of God. Which is the best place of all, because remaining in God, in His will, is living in His love. Obedience, then, is an expression of love and love always comes out on the top!
A beautiful memory- a grace I was recalling: While stationed in a mission house in Phoenix (which I deeply loved) I was transferred to the busy mission house in Los Angeles. It was loud, in the middle of a gang area, where the helicopter would often pass over at night with a strobe light looking for someone. It was humid and smoggy, upper 90's- it stretched my heart to be there. Every day I would come into the chapel, before the other sisters arrived and I would kneel down and pray; " Good Morning dear Jesus, I love you my Jesus, get me out of here soon please, thank you- Amen." I was bringing my concern to the Lord, but I was telling Him what to do about it. Finally after an entire month of this prayer and noticing inside my heart, this lack of peace, it struck me, I was not surrendering, nor was I allowing the Lord freedom with how He wanted to "address my concern". I was telling Him my needs, but I wasn't leaving Him free. Love always leaves the other free. After a month finally something opened my heart to that truth (a grace) and I went to the chapel and said to Jesus, " Forgive me Lord, ...Yes Lord , whatever you want the answer is Yes, you know my needs, if you want me here for 10+ years, I will stay, I will do whatever you say with a good heart, with love," . Maybe I said similar words before, but I didn't mean it. This time, my heart was "in sync" with my mind. I knew it was based on the peace I felt. Not a half hour later, I was told by my superior that I was being transferred to San Francisco. No one knew what had passed through my heart only a half hour prior-no one, but Jesus. The Lord was only waiting for my "yes", my willingness to follow what He had already determined to do. My 'yes' only was the igniter switch to set it in motion...the Lord changed everything in an instant.
Loving Lord, grant me the grace to listen to your voice, to say "Yes," and do as you say, to follow your lead, to humble my heart. Help me to humble my mind, that seeks explanations, and assurances, help me walk, as a child humbly, simply, in freedom and joy. Give me a humble heart Lord, to say each day, "What's the Plan Lord? Show me, tell me whatever you want me to do and grant me the grace to conform my will to yours. Amen."