Mary Among the Prophets

Feast of St. Mary the Virgin

By Ajit John

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 me and to you? 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 person in charge of the banquet.” So they took it. 9 When the person in charge tasted the water that had become wine and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), that person 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 a few days.


We all have a favorite painting or preferred icon of Mary, the mother of our Lord. Mine is a painting entitled Madonna of the Pinks done by the Italian Renaissance master, Raphael. It still hangs in London’s National Gallery after a public appeal raised £35 million to keep it there. The near universal appeal of this painting is because Raphael has captured the tender emotions of a mother exchanging with her child flowers, which are symbols of divine love and of Christ’s suffering.

These days we are reminded of Mary’s incredible strength. She had to give birth without her own mother’s loving attention and in a building not known for its human comforts. Then when her child was scarcely two years old she and Joseph became refugees in a far away country. How did she manage through all this to preserve the profound truth about his identity, and for many years raise this singular boy, even without Joseph’s support? She was clearly a woman of enormous fortitude with a singular devotion to God.

It is, however, in the account of the wedding at Cana that we can see something in Mary that places her among the greatest of the prophets of Israel. She knew God face-to-face, as it were. She grasped the long view of God’s salvation through her son. At the wedding she finds Jesus and tells him they are out of wine. Jesus is still in pre-ministry mode, even though he had just selected the first of his disciples. “My hour has not yet come” he tells Mary. Without responding she tells the staff to follow his instructions.

Mary was full of faith. She was humble and pure and strong. But she is revered because she knew God like the very greatest of the prophets of Israel. She understood that it was God’s time for Jesus to begin his ministry. Without saying anything to Mary, Jesus performed his first miracle. Mary was there.

The Rev. Ajit John is an associate priest at St. Paul’s L’Amoreaux, a vibrant multi-ethnic parish in Toronto, Canada.

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Today we pray for:

St. Francis Episcopal Church, Potomac, Md.
The Diocese of Central Melanesia – The Anglican Church of Melanesia


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