My dear brother priests and bishops, are not the Mysteries of Light especially appropriate for use by ourselves? Blessed John Paul II, while thinking about his own priesthood over the years, put these together, it seems to me, specifically with us, his fellow priests and bishops, in mind. Please God, more Scriptural and Patristic sources will be added to the present “rant style” meditations when circumstances at Holy Souls Hermitage aren’t quite so utterly barbaric.
The purpose of this first run through these mysteries is to note especially the goodness and kindness of Jesus amidst the violence and chaos back in the day… and today. Hang on, it might be a bit of a rough ride, as rough and tumble as the conversation between Jesus and the Woman of Intercession, His mother and ours… that is, especially of us, His priests, sons of His mother with Him. Here’s the old NAB of the first part of John 2:
1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 (And) Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. 7 Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. 8 Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it. 9 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 10 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.” 11 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.
Don’t you just hate it when busybodies start off everything they say to you with the words, “You should…”, as if they had the breadth of oversight that you have? Yes, well, Mary is not a busybody, and she stays away from any “You should do this” or “You should do that.” She knows that all she has to do is present herself and make a simple statement, that being sufficient to know that this is a concern for her, and that she is appealing to her Son as an act of intercession: “They have no wine!”
Excuse the pelagian terminology, and of course we are utterly dependent on the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but just to put it in a way that we can understand: all of us, without exception, make or break our eternal salvation in relation to marriage. Those who are biologically married know this very well. Those who find themselves in horrific situations are intensely aware of this. Priests and religious are married to the Church through the Sacrifice of the Mass. Those who are single are also given over to the marriage of Christ with the Church by way of His wedding vows at the Last Supper, those vows of total self-giving: “This is my Body and Blood given and shed for you in Sacrifice…”
Mary, in her own extraordinary marriage, was extremely aware that marriage is central to who we are before God. It is to be celebrated: “They have no wine!”
Jesus’ response by way of a question (so typical in those days), has been even maliciously misinterpreted in the past by some of our non-Catholic separated brethren as an insult of Jesus for His dear mother. Nothing could be further from the truth. An incisive question is not dismissive of her request. His own explanation proves that, and her further response proves she understood oh so very well.
Jesus says: Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, γύναι; οὔπω ἥκει ἡ ὥρα μου. “What’s it to me and to you, Woman? My hour is not yet come.” That “what’s it to me and to you” is a much used phrase. It is even used by Satan against Jesus amidst exorcisms in Mark 5,7 and Luke 8,28. That doesn’t mean that Jesus is possessed! It’s just a question: “What is this to me and to you?” It demands an answer. And Jesus with the greatest tenderness and love a Son could have for His dear mother gives her a hint as to what that answer of her’s might be: “My hour has not yet come!”
It is either impurity of life or misogyny or utterly false ecumenism or just what-I-don’t-know which has some Scripture ”scholars” think that Mary is less intelligent than they are, that she doesn’t have an agility of soul which can take in the breadth of the history of salvation even though being the very Mother of God, the Mother of the Savior, of Jesus. That’s why they think Jesus’ words to her are an insult, thinking she could never answer. Actually, they don’t even know what Jesus is talking about in the first place. But she does. Let’s see:
The question of Jesus — What’s this to me and to you? — surely puts her on edge, awakens her, so that every bit of her being (as always) is centered on her Son and where He wants to lead her. Note that the question is not casting her off, but uniting her with Himself (“to me and to you”). Her answer is to reflect that unity. O.K. Great! But let’s have a hint: “My hour has not yet come!”
Cana and Mary’s statement about the lack of wine for the celebration of the marriage is all about… marriage… right? Jesus speaks of another time when her intercession is to come into play in a special way, during an event analogous to the wedding of Cana, His hour of marriage with the Church by way of the Last Supper and Calvary, which makes marriage possible, which makes our salvation possible. He announces to her how her vocation to be His mother is to be fulfilled on Calvary, where her intercession for us will be her birth pangs giving birth to us as other members of the Mystical Body of Christ. She intercedes. Our Lord provides the redemption, the salvation, the re-creation of us as members of His body, the indwelling of the Most of Holy Trinity. But she intercedes. This is her hour with Him during His hour.
She understands. Her conversation with Him is over. Her “response” to Him is by way of what she tells the servants: “Do whatever He tells you.” She knows that from what He said that, yes, of course, He wants to celebrate this marriage at Cana right here and now, though in view of what He will do at the Last Supper (His wedding banquet) and Calvary, the Sacrifice of the Sacrament, whereby He has the right in justice to bring us to Himself. I’m sure our Lady was just beaming, radiant in transcendent joy, blessedness: “Do whatever He tells you!”
I’m sure Jesus was also just as happy at this moment, some years before that wedding of His would take place. We know the rest of the story, how He changed the water into wine, the Law into Freedom, the Old into the New.
There’s just one last bit I would like to emphasize for my fellow priests and bishops, the last phrase of the account: καὶ ἐπίστευσαν εἰς αὐτὸν οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ — “… and His disciples believed in Him.”
Whether some started believing just then or increased tremendously in their faith is beside the point. There is an emphasis here on believing amidst what was happening there at Cana. The sign that was worked was not for “ooohs and aahhs” — which leads to the bordom of looking for the next trick to be done. No. The sign that was worked was to encourage faith, and it did. They “got it” just as did the Mother of God. She led the way. They followed her lead. She lead them straight to Jesus. The “Do whatever He tells you!” is a command of the Mother of God especially to us, her priests sons in her Priest Son. She puts us right before Jesus, looking to Him expectantly for His marching orders for us. She has her hands on our shoulders as we look to Him.
In the new evangelization, He will have us change the water of a mere shell of Catholicism into the wine of vigorous faith. Believing in Him, truly, on our knees in humble thanksgiving, we will want to share our believing, the greatest love of our lives, with others. Profound adoration of our Lord in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will provide all we need to invigorate what is needed for everyone in whatever relationship to marriage that they are to have in this life, whether single or married or priests or religious. Mary will be interceding for us at that hour of Jesus, her hour of intercession. She will remain with us under the Cross, where we will receive our marching orders. And we will march with feet nailed to that Cross. We will march right into the thick of battle, right into the false culture of death, wherever we find it.
This is how the Woman of Cana fulfills being the Woman of Genesis, the Mother of the Redeemer back in Genesis 3,15. This is how the Woman of Cana find her fulfillment in her intercession for us under the Cross, the Woman in John 19,26. This is how this Woman of Cana is the Woman of the Apocalypse (12,1), the Mother of Christ, the Mother of the Church, our Mother. This Woman!
Gentlemen! At this very moment, just as at that moment on Calvary, there are those of us who …
… are dead to all that is good and kind, as was Judas, swaying in the wind by the rope around his neck. Not many, just a few. But they are not only non-believers. They are anti-Catholic, ready to betray any truth and charity they see, right to death. You know it as well as I do. It is a great suffering to see those who are led astray, whom these Judas priests lead to hell with themselves.
… have run away and don’t know what to do, fearful, scared, as if waiting for Jesus to come to the Upper Room right though the very tightly locked doors. We are frozen with fear before the challenges of the culture of death that we find beating us down all around us, incessantly, mercilessly… with no conscience. There are many more of us who don’t want to look up in that Upper Room to see Jesus, or who, like Thomas, are cynical that Jesus truly rose from the dead, although our hearts are crushed… for we want to believe… There is such great danger to remain in this state, to not fall to one’s knees before the risen Jesus to repeat with Thomas, “My Lord and my God!” If we refuse, bitterness makes us start acting like Judas with our fellow priests, and we become faithless, a danger to ourselves, to others, to the Church, to society.
… have run away and come back again, and now stand with John, that beloved disciple, under the foot of the cross with that Great Woman, our Mother, ready to get our marching order from our High Priest, at her intercession, all for the true culture of Life, the Life of God among us.
But gentelmen… If we imagine that we are going to change water into wine in such a society as ours, know that we will do nothing with our own plans, however nice, however grandiose, however much money we have thrown at them. We will only say something, do something, be something in the family of faith if we can feel the hands of Mary on our shoulders as she has us look up to Jesus on the Cross. If we are not in humble thanksgiving for the family of faith, for the marriage of Jesus to the Church being consummated on the Cross, all our words and actions, our very lives, will be as nothing, and worse than nothing, detrimental to ourselves and others. No compromise! Calculating degrees of love and truth to tolerate of those under our charge thrusts us from the cross right onto the tree of Judas.
Jesus is the one who gives us our marching orders. There is no calculation with Him. All the truth. All the charity. Mary asked this of Him for us. This is how we change water in wine. Jesus and our Blessed Mother are just that good, just that kind.