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Wedding Feast at Cana Large

Wedding Feast at Cana – Bartolome’ Esteban Murillo, circa 1675

How many of you remember hearing the words, “Listen to your mother!” from your dad or other adult when you were growing up? Most of you, I’m sure. They were words of sound advice based on experience. My mother, and the moms of the kids I hung around with, seemed to possess an uncanny sixth sense. They knew when we were about to do wrong or make a bone-head mistake that would cost us down the road. It hurt to heed that advice but we usually knew it was in our best interest.

We know very little about the early life of Jesus Christ, those years before He began His public ministry. We know He probably gave His mother and father fits from time to time, such as hanging around the temple and missing His ride home. I can imagine Him bristling up, perhaps not wanting to do His chores. And, I can imagine Joseph saying, “Son, listen to your mother and do as she says!”

Throughout the New Testament the Scripture hints that Jesus had a respectful and loving relationship with His mother, Mary. We know that she was a disciple and stayed close to Him throughout His adult life. The first account of this is the story of the wedding at Cana, which was yesterday’s Gospel reading:

1On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. 3When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” 5His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:1-5, NAB)

I’m imagining standing there near Jesus and listening to this conversation. Mary, in her foresight, sees that running out of wine will be an embarrassing social disaster for the bride and groom and, in her kindness, wants to prevent it. She turns to her son, whom I’m sure she knows is more than an ordinary young man, and subtly suggests he do something about it. Jesus alludes that He may not be ready to start performing miracles. Not quite yet.

Then, in my mind’s eye, I imagine her leaning over and whispering to Jesus, “Son, you have to start sometime and it might as well be now.” And, then, without further discussion, she tells the server to, “Do whatever he tells you.”

In my imagination I see Jesus is in a predicament. It’s either put up or make his mother look bad. Even though He may roll His eyes, He listens to His mother:

6Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. 7Jesus told them “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. 8Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it. 9And 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 10and 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.” 11Jesus 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. (John 2:6-11, NAB)

Jesus listened to His mother because of His great love for her, a love so great that He created a place for her in Heaven next to Him. And, He still loves and listens to her. That is why I often ask Mary, our Blessed Mother, to intercede for me and personally deliver my most sincere prayers to her son, Jesus. What better way can there be to have my prayers heard and obtain God’s grace?


(Listen to Your Mother! was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)

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