2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time (Jn 2:1-11) “When Jesus Called Mary Woman…” PDF Version
Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C (2019): Jn 2:1-11
“Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour as not yet come.” Coming from a family of 4 boys, none of us would have dared to speak to our mother as Woman when responding back to her after being asked a question! So why then does our Lord appear to respond back to His mother in what sounds to our modern ears to be in a demeaning and rude manner?
Having just celebrated the great feast of Our Lord’s baptism, we were affirmed that Christ never committed sin even though He will bear its consequences on the Cross, and as such His response to His Mother Mary cannot be seen as a breaking of the 4th Commandment and in anyway dishonouring His Immaculate Mother, whom herself never knew sin but endured its consequences when she stood by the Cross of her Son.
Some of argued that our Lord’s reply is a reflection of the patriarchal society in which He lived and where it was acceptable to speak to a woman in what sounds to us to be a belittling and even chauvinistic tone. However, such an argument fails to understand what is truly taking place in this exchange between Christ and Mary.
We must remember that Our Lord and Our Lady spoke Hebrew and Aramaic and the word Woman in their language also referred to a proper name that we are very familiar with: Woman in Hebrew is the name Eve.
Now since our Lord is responding to His Mother by giving her the name Eve, He is revealing that Mary is now beginning to take upon herself a new identity. If Eve was the mother of all the living, then Mary, the New Eve, has taken the place of her maternal ancestor and become the new mother of all the living, not those born of the flesh, but those born anew by the water, blood, spirit and fire that will come from the pierced heart of her Son and brings that new baptism of salvation into our fallen universe.
Our Lord, whom St. Paul spoke of as the New Adam, asks the New Eve to ponder what she is asking of the one who is both her Son and her God. The hour of which Our Lord speaks is that moment when He will begin to reveal Himself to the world as the Messiah through the signs that the People waited to see as affirmation that their Saviour was in their midst.
Among those signs of the coming of the Messianic age was the gift of fine wine. The prophet Isaiah spoke of the Messianic Banquet that await those who eagerly and patiently looked for the Messiah to come into the world so as to be seated at His table.
In transforming water into wine, Our Lord made known His identity as the saviour of the world, allowing those wedding guests to be the first to taste the bountiful vintage of the Messianic Age, which on that occasion was the gift of excellent wine but was a mere foreshadowing of a much finer fruit of the vine that would come at the Last Supper, when Jesus poured His being into the chalice that contained wine had been transformed into His Precious Blood and of which anyone who drank of His Eucharistic Life would enter into the New Covenant He sealed in the shedding of His Blood on Calvary.
By noting that the wedding guests at Cana had run out of wine, Mary, the New Eve, was asking Jesus, the New Adam, to enter into His hour, by not only offering a miracle to reveal himself as Messiah, but also to begin walking the royal road to Jerusalem and the Passion that awaited. Mary was asking her Son to begin His great work of Salvation and to start to bear the Cross of which He would die and beneath which a sword of sorrow would be driven deep into her Immaculate Heart.
It is little wonder then that Our Lord asked Our Mother to consider carefully what she was asking while also showing us that He will always answer those petitions that His mother brings before Him, from Cana until the end of all things.
In responding “Do whatever He tells you”, Mary was also undoing the knot of disobedience that was tied by Eve, who grasped at godliness and in failing to trust in God brought sin into the world alongside her husband Adam. Here Mary does not grasp at divinity but humbly trusts that her Son will now begin His work of salvation, and she will accompany Him wherever He must go to save us from our sins.
In the midst of this brief exchange between Mother and Son, an exchange that few likely noticed in the midst of that joyous Wedding Feast, save St. John who was in attendance and remembered these words which He would one day include in the Gospel that bears his name, we are reminded of the powerful intercession of Our Mother Mary and her maternal wisdom to always trust in whatever her Son asks of us.
As we begin this new year of 2019, a year in which we will watch our new shrine church and parish, dedicated to Our Lady of the Rockies and Queen of Heaven and Earth, begin to take shape, let us spend this year rediscovering the role that Mary plays in our Christian lives.
Since Our Lord has inspired us to built this new church in honour of His Holy Mother, let us be confident that she will be very close to us this year and countless more to come!
Let us ask her to intercede for everyone who will be part of our building project, including all of the architects, contractors, construction workers, trades persons, and Our Steering Committee to work diligently, prudently, safely and confidently that Jesus and Mary are with us.
Let us ask her to intercede in our fundraising efforts, to touch hearts both known and unknown to us who can assist us financially to build our new shrine for our local community and people the world over!
And let us ask Mary to teach us how to always trust in the ways of her Son, doing whatever He asks of us, and trusting that doing so will allow us to taste that Messianic Wine that He provides to all who seek to follow Him.