Please examine the gospel passage below and keep these questions at the back of your mind as you read it. In the narrative, how many people received directives from Jesus and immediately did what they were told? What was the final result of their action? Who initiated the proceedings?
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. (Jn 2:1-11, NIV)
Jesus’ answer to his mother meant: “Why do you involve me? What has this got to do with me? My hour has not yet come, has it? Did you not tell me at age twelve when you found me at the temple in Jerusalem that I should stay quietly at home in Nazareth?”
Besides, at the temple in Jerusalem, the teachers who heard the young lad speak were astounded by his answers and his understanding; but there was no indication that he could perform miracles.
Jesus’ order to the servants: “Fill the jars with water.” To the servants, that must have sounded quite irrational. At what part of the wedding feast did this happen: at the beginning, or the middle, or towards the end? Obviously it was towards the end; otherwise the wine would not have run out. Even the steward retorted to the bridegroom: “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” The water was for ritual-washing at the guests’ arrivals. Nobody else was going to arrive anymore. Why should all the jars be filled?
But the servants did everything as Jesus had instructed them, and filled the six jars to the brim.
Then they were told to draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet to drink. The “servants who had drawn the water knew” it was water, and it must have seemed rather ridiculous too – get the steward to taste water reserved for washing???
But they did take it to the steward – who drank it.
The servants plus the master of the banquet received directives from Jesus, and all of them did as they were told, immediately.
The final result: Jesus “revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.”
That was the point of the story: Jesus’ glory was revealed when people followed his orders.
When Jesus tells you to do something, do it! Yes, read the gospel, but don’t just stop there. Heed his instructions and act on them.
The blessedness of Jesus’ followers is measured by how obediently they carry out the word of the Lord, not by how many religious conferences they attend or how much theology they know, not by how frequently they come up with pious remarks or how nice-sounding are the prayers they say, not by how busy they are involved in spiritual activities or how impressively they perform rituals in the sight of men, not by how popular they can become or how many famous people they are associated with.
“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!” (Lk 11:28, NIV)
“My mother and my brethren are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (Lk 8:21, RSV)
Who initiated the proceedings at Cana that led to the first of the signs through which Jesus revealed his glory?
It was Mother Mary!
Her purpose: draw attention to her Son.
That was her vocation; it still is today.
And her command will always be: Do whatever Jesus tells you!
In this work, the initials RSV indicate that the Scripture quotations are from the REVISED STANDARD VERSION BIBLE, Second Catholic Edition, copyright © 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Any passage designated NJB is an excerpt from THE NEW JERUSALEM BIBLE, copyright © 1998 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd. and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. Reprinted by permission.
Texts followed by the letters NIV are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
In this work, Scripture excerpts marked NAB are taken from the NEW AMERICAN BIBLE REVISED EDITION copyright © 2011, 1986, 1970, by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used with permission. All rights reserved.