At the wedding feast of Cana, it seems like Jesus rebuked Mary when she told him that there was no more wine. Is that really what happened?
Well, first of all, here is the passage in question:
Jn 2:1-5 On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; 2 Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. 3 When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
This passage can be confusing because it requires an understanding of what words and phrases meant in Jesus’ day. For example, if you say, “Hey woman!” to a female today, she will consider it an insult, and rightly so. But, in Jesus’ day that was simply a common form of address. This is verified by other instances in which Jesus uses this form of address (cf. Mt 15:28; Lk 13:12; Jn 4:21; 8:10; 19:26). In none of these occasions did Jesus have a reason to get frustrated or talk down to the woman in question.
As for the second part (“what have you to do with me”), biblical scholars point out that the original Greek here can also be translated as, “What is that to you and to me?” In other words, Jesus is asking her if she understands how her request will impact both of their lives. I think the next sentence (“My hour has not yet come”) confirms this understanding.
As of that moment, Jesus’ hour had not yet come. But, once he performs the miracle, then his hour will begin. His march to the Cross will begin. A course will be set that will cause great suffering for both him and his mother. I think Jesus simply wants to make sure that Mary truly understands what is about to happen and the full scope of her request.
And she does. After all, Simeon had already told her at the Presentation in the Temple, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed” (Lk 2:34-35). She knows what must be done. She is not afraid. That’s why she immediately turns to the servants and says, “Do whatever he tells you.”
May we all be more like our Blessed Mother, never afraid to walk with Jesus to the Cross.
Peace of Christ to you,
Nicholas Hardesty, WIMM Board Member
Director of Religious Education, Blessed Mother Catholic Church
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