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February 20

John 2, 1-5

Something to read

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’
New Revised Standard Version

Something to think about

This is a precious, precious story. We are allowed to eavesdrop on a conversation between Jesus and his mother. And is it too much to suppose that Jesus, surrounded by his disciples, still has something to learn?

Jesus has things organised, at least in his head: his mission lies ahead, his destiny awaits. Mary – because she’s a woman, because she’s a mother – has no time for grand plans. ‘They have no wine.’

Awkwardness and embarrassment are about to descend on their hosts. She doesn’t know what Jesus will do, but knows that the situation demands that he do something.

This is the woman we honour for the way she accepted God without question: the Theotokos, ‘God bearer’. We see that acceptance again here, but there’s nothing passive about it. Mary’s strength leaps out of the page.

If she argued or pleaded with Jesus, it would show doubt and uncertainty. As it is, she ignores him, turning to the servants: ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ What a woman!

Something to do

If you are able to, contact your mother and tell her how much you owe her. If that’s impossible – and there are plenty of good reasons why it might be – try to be more attuned to the sorts of things mothers notice: domestic problems, potential embarrassments, ways in which you can help your neighbours.

Something to pray

If we consider ourselves servants of Christ, here are our orders: ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ If, as we see later this week, we are invited into his family, here is our model, too: we must know him as thoroughly as Mary does.

Lord, increase our faith so that it turns from hope into certainty. You have known us from the time we were formed in our mother’s womb. Allow us to know you, too. Amen

Today’s contributor is Paul Handley, Managing Editor of The Church Times


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