Our priest told a joke during his homily, today. After ten years of marriage, the husband goes to see a marriage counselor to explain his problem:
“I was so happy when we first got married,” said the man. “I came home, my wife would bring me slippers and my dog would gratefully bark at my presence. Now, after ten years of marriage, it’s completely the opposite! When I come home, my wife barks at me and my dog brings me slippers.”
The doctor looks at him incredulously, “What are you complaining about? You’re still getting the same service!”
My wife reached for my hand, today, during the Gospel reading. It was the Wedding at Cana, the same reading we used during our wedding ceremony. It was also part of the Luminous Mysteries that I prayed when I proposed to her on Thursday, July 17th, 2008. This reading will always have a special place in our hearts.
The priest focused on the common misperception that Jesus was being rude when he referred to his mother as “woman.” It’s a polite form that is more accurately rendered as “lady,” in our modern usage. I also remember reading somewhere that the Aramaic or Greek word for “woman” used in this Gospel reading is also the same word used to refer to Eve in Genesis. So, the Gospel author was trying to link the mother of Jesus to the New Eve.
While the priest continued his homily, he made me think about how the interaction between Jesus and his mother showed his humanity. He wasn’t ready for the Passion. It also implied that Mary knew that Jesus was meant to do great things. As his mother, she would be an eye witness to many miracles before his public ministry — probably while Jesus was still a child.
I also learned from today’s homily that running out of wine at a Jewish wedding is a horrible thing. It means the families did not do a good job of planning and it would be a bad omen for the newlywed couple.
In the end, Jesus turned the water into wine, even though it appeared he wasn’t ready to display such a miracle. How often are men not ready to begin a difficult journey without the gentle prompting of a mother-like figure? Mary respected Jesus’ sovereignty. She trusted that whatever he decided to do or not do, it would be for the best. The reading could be a lesson for men to listen to their mothers (or mother-like figures) and for mothers to trust the decisions of their sons.
I’m always amazed by the many lessons that can be learned from the same passages of Scripture. Today was no exception.