The Word of God, discloses several mysteries. One of them is when Jesus responds to prayers of mother Mary, with an excuse – an excuse to intervene. He thus chooses to distance Himself, withdraw Himself from certain prayer situations. I had been praying for certain very pressing situations of my own, as well as for some of my neighbors. During the October 2011 Third Saturday Night Vigil at Perth, when Fr Varghese Parackal VC was sharing the Word, these discernment fermented in my mind.
One excuse, Jesus gives is in John 2: 3-5 and that is to His Mother. Mother Mary is at her relative’s marriage eve at Cana. She finds a family crisis – shortage of wine and the banquet is being served. She discerns the inspiration to intervene. Her process to intervene was to present the situation to Jesus – her intercessory prayer.
Jesus and disciples were also attending the same marriage, and there is a high probability that Jesus himself was aware of the difficult family situation, but chose to hold them in his heart or Jesus did not get the discernment to intervene from Holy Spirit and chose to go with the role of a distant passive relative at marriage.
The disciples’ of Jesus were also present and they also did not pro-actively engage with the situation. Can we then state with confidence that Holy Spirit then chose to be pro-active through Mother Mary ? When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.”
We see a few conflicts here. First conflict is; Mary presents the prayer on behalf of her “needy neighbour”, who is in a crisis. We know the sensitivity of a crisis when we run out of food during a marriage banquet.
The reputation of the family is at stake, and can be a lasting internal wound on the married couple and their families. Her prayer is to her Son, and she knows that He has the capability to find a solution. She uses her relationship with her Son to intercede. We also observe that Jesus also has a similar relationship with the situation and does not visibly progress “suo motto” . We see several evidences across the Bible when Jesus limits himself from intervening into difficult personal or family situations, without the repeat prime move by an intercessor. Thus we have compelling evidence from the Gospels, where Jesus descends the Glory of Father to the personal situation of an affected person at the active intercession of a ‘Third Person’.
The Second conflict is; Jesus also declares his expressive dis-engagement by intimidating His mother (the intercessor) “Woman, what does that have to do with us?” We observe here a technical indifference of Jesus to own mother, own relative. In such a context, if wine is out of stock, several of us – as relatives may go and get some wine from our own homes or friends. But Jesus disowns the engagement of his own mother at the situation and almost intimidates her, but does not succeed in intimidating the determined intercessor in Mary.
The third conflict is ; Jesus raises the limitation of “my hour has not yet come”. He might be meaning also that it is not in the Will of the Father at this hour to intervene. He has not received the communication or message from the Holy Spirit to intervene at that hour. The Father and Holy Spirit are silent on the event of “shortage of wine at Marriage banquet” with respect to Jesus.
The Drama of Salvation works in many ways, as nothing is impossible to the Father. He has many ways, and many doors to shower His Grace into a crisis. My hypothesis is that Mother Mary received the message of courage directly from Holy Spirit. We also know that Gabriel announced her as “Full of Grace” – confirming that she is filled with Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit is the Spouse from whom she conceived Jesus. Inspired by Holy Spirit, she ignores the “verbal resistance” or “excuses” of Jesus and continues to plough the field of crisis with her tool of intercession, to harvest a solution – a miracle. His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
Mary, thus resolved the conflict, by her positive prayer into the situation. She takes command of the situation and powers Jesus indirectly, with “whatever He says to you do it”. My hypothesis is that Holy Spirit revealed to Mary to issue that powerful Word, not direct to Jesus; but to the servants, and thus indirectly announce to Jesus. She is careful not to overrule Jesus or dis-obey Jesus. Neither is she intimidating Jesus as His mother. She gently plays the crisis and solution to the court of Jesus, and announces loudly that we should surrender the situation in its fullness to Jesus and wait for His instructions, even if Jesus apparently disowns us or the crisis.
This puts her Gift of Courage (confidence to negotiate with God like Abraham), she received from the “Full of Grace” status at its best. Jesus would discern the fruits of the Holy Spirit in that Word “Whatever He says to you, do it.” . That Word, satisfies the nine constants which reveals the presence of Holy Spirit – faith, kindness, patience, goodness, humility, self-control, love, joy and peace. And Jesus would have consulted Holy Spirit at that hour. And Holy Spirit would have revealed the plan of God for that event and hour. The Charism for Jesus to perform the first miracle has been unlocked by the words of Holy Spirit speaking through Mary. “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Which effectively was the passWord and discernment key empowering Jesus.
And we know Jesus performed his first miracle once the event and situation was discerned for Jesus, by Mary with the inspiration of Holy Spirit. This model of effective communication by Mary with Holy Spirit-Son-Father demonstrates , one way in which we operate the Gifts and Charisms received from of Holy Spirit at our baptism, confirmation, Holy Mass.
We observe here two persons who are filled with Holy Spirit. First is Mary (as she was confirmed Full of Grace status by Angel Gabriel earlier) and the Second is Jesus (who received Holy Spirit at his baptism by John The Baptist). Both with the congregation (friends, relatives, disciples) are present at the hour, at the event, at the situation. Each then waits on the message from the Holy Spirit. Jesus did not express the message first, but Mary expressed first. She announced the message to the servants and thus to Jesus. And Jesus humbly validated that message with Holy Spirit and delivers the Glory of God into the crisis at the Marriage at Cana.
We should also earnestly pray in a difficult situation where we have the intercessory role of a “good neighour” like Mary discerned from Holy Spirit and communicate the message to Jesus and advise appropriately “do what Jesus says”. En-trust Jesus and press for the solution – “Do what He says”. That is effectively what we do in a Rosary. Rosary thus is a prayer which helps Jesus to move the hour into our favour.
Especially when our prayer situation continues without favour, when the hour for result is not yet visible, rosary is the right resort. We thus also discern the origin of rosary at the first miracle of Jesus –at Cana. It may not be in excess, if we assert that it was the first rosary which unlocked the Charism of Holy Spirit to Jesus.
Prayer: Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us to Jesus when we run out of wine while we have to continue to serve wine to our community, society, friends, families. Pray for us to Jesus, especially when we do not have enough love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, humility and self-control to descend the relevant Charism of Holy Spirit into our day-to-day situations at each of our daily hours.
– – – written by Johnson Edakalathur