Article: No ordinary Mother, No ordinary Son

Newry Cathedral News

The Wedding Feast at Cana is one of the most popularly quoted stories from the Bible. It is the first public miracle of Jesus and is a further manifestation of the Messiah. Ordinary things can become extraordinary when they are blessed by God.

In St. John’s Gospel our Lady is given a strategic role in her son’s earthly ministry. She is there at its beginning at Cana and again at its end on Calvary. A change in the relationship between Jesus and his mother takes place at Cana. The family relationship, in which she can influence Him and expect Him to help, ceases. He must now, as he indicated when He was a twelve-year-old who had been left behind in Jerusalem, proceed according to the will of his Father in heaven. In a new relationship going beyond the ties of flesh and blood, she now becomes the New Eve, and she issues a command that is evocative of that issued by Pharaoh in relation to Joseph when famine was threatening Egypt: ‘whatever he asks you to do, do it’. She has spoken her last words given us in Scripture and what a striking message they contain: ‘whatever he asks you to do, do it’.

When Jesus says to his mother at the wedding ‘my hour has not yet come’, he is referring to His death on Calvary, the hour in which he will have the final victory over the evil one. In a sense he is also saying to her that her hour has not yet come either because for her too life will take on a new significance after Calvary.

In John’s Gospel, as Jesus is about to breathe His last, he significantly turns to His mother and addresses her as he addressed her at Cana as ‘Woman’, adding the words: ‘behold your son’. Then He said to the beloved disciple ‘behold your mother’. This is not just Jesus making material provision for His mother for whatever number of years she has left. If that were the case, there would have been no need according to the conventions of the time to say anything to His mother.

This is no ordinary mother, this is no ordinary Son, and this is no ordinary friend. The Fourth Gospel once more presents Mary as the new Eve, her Son as the Messiah and John the beloved disciple as representative from Jesus’ followers. In saying ‘Woman behold your Son’, Jesus is entrusting Mary, the new Eve, as she stands at the foot of the cross, not only with care and protection of John, the beloved disciple, but with that of all disciples of all times of whom he is the collective representative. Just as He gave Peter and the apostles their tasks in the Church, He entrusts Mary, the new Eve, with special responsibility for protecting his followers in their continuing struggle with Satan in his many guises.