The Feast of St. Mary the Virgin, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ
By Sherry Black
A Reading from the Gospel of John 2:1-12
1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Now standing there were six stone water-jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. 9 When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
12 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and they remained there for a few days.
In John’s gospel, Mary makes just two appearances. In today’s reading of the Wedding in Cana, she plays a key role at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry; and then she is present at the end, at the cross. She witnesses the first revelation of Jesus’ glory, and his last.
She is noted only as Jesus’ mother in John’s writings, but that doesn’t minimize her importance.
A mother is an abiding presence, and the first disciple. A mother sustains her child; a mother provides everything a child needs to live and thrive. She provides more than food. She gives water, shelter, safety, and love. Jesus learned love from his mother. Mary is one side of the human/divine revelation. Just as Jesus depended on his mother for his early life, so now he depends more upon the Father. Dependence is also a characteristic of discipleship.
Mary, Jesus, and his disciples are all at a wedding when the host runs out of wine. When his mother hears of it, she initiates Jesus’ ministry by coaxing him, encouraging him. “It’s time, Son, you can do it!” What does she know? How does she know? But somehow, she does. Jesus volleys back, saying in essence, “This is not my problem, nor is it yours.” Still, Mary persists, and tells the servants to do whatever Jesus asks.
We know the results. Wine in incredible quality and abundance! This is what grace tastes like!
What would happen if we did whatever Jesus asked of us? If we more boldly asked of him? What kind of abundance and grace might result? Grace upon grace upon grace!
The Very Rev. Sherry Black is a second-career Episcopal priest, and has been a full-time hospital chaplain for ten years. She also serves a small mission church as priest-in-charge, and is dean of her deanery.
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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer
Today we pray for:
Church of the Incarnation, Dallas, Texas
The Diocese of Easton