2nd Sunday Year C - Homily 1

Homily 1 - 2007

In the Gospel passage we have just read, John commented: This was the first of the signs that Jesus did. He let his glory be seen. The story is a sign, revealing his glory. So let’s look closely. Let’s be particularly observant and alert to detail.

What is glory? It is what others can see of the mystery of another. As a sunset gives us a glimpse of the mysterious beauty of God, this story of Cana gives us a glimpse of the mystery of Jesus. But what does it show us of the mystery of Jesus?

The one who helps us see further into the mystery is Mary, whom John introduces us to for the first (of two) times in his Gospel, and he calls her mother of Jesus. He emphasises her role as mother – as life bearer.

The story is about a wedding – it’s about a man and a woman in partnership. It’s about two potential parents, two life-givers. So the mother theme occurs a second time.

The story is also about water into wine – It’s about new creation. It’s about abundant new creation. And it’s about celebration. It’s a celebration of abundant new life. So the life theme occurs a second time

But it’s still only sign - It’s not the real thing.

Let’s look further. Jesus calls Mary Woman: Woman, why turn to me? That sounds a bit strange. It puts us on the back-foot. It even seems abrupt, unkind. But does the word woman sound perhaps familiar? Does it ring a distant bell?

Remember the Adam and Eve story. After God shaped Eve from the side of Adam, Adam said: This one this time is bone from my bone, flesh from my flesh. This one shall be called woman for from man she has been taken.

She shall be called woman –

And later, after the original sin of the man and the woman, the book of Genesis says: Adam called the woman Eve because she is the mother of all the living. So the woman Eve is shown as the partner of the man Adam in the fall of humanity; but she is also, with her partner Adam, the mother of all the living.

The plot thickens! Could it be that Mary, in partnership with Jesus, turns around the original fall and mothers a whole new humanity, a whole new creation? The story might be talking about a whole other new life, abundant, redeemed life, and genuine celebration.

Let’s keep looking. Jesus says to Mary at Cana: Woman, why turn to me? My hour has not yet come.

Why turn to me! – it’s a terrible translation of a difficult phrase. It sort of means: What’s this between us? It’s sort of denying a relationship. But it’s only temporary. My hour has not come yet. Effectively Jesus is saying: “When my hour does come, then we shall be in partnership.”

Cana is only the sign. Of itself, it’s empty.

When is, what is, Jesus’ hour? In John’s Gospel, his hour is the moment of his death. That is the hour when Mary appears in the gospel a second time. At Cana, Jesus called Mary Woman, and said that they were not yet in partnership. On the cross, with Mary and the beloved disciple at his feet, he would address her as woman again, and say: Woman, this is your son.

"You are the mother of the beloved disciple; you are the mother of all beloved disciples. Mary, you are the new Eve, you are truly the mother of all the living. Now that my hour has come, we are in partnership".

Jesus the new Adam; Mary the new Eve: together, in their different ways, life-givers to a redeemed humanity, life-givers to a new creation, to abundant life, to genuine celebration.

Cana was just a sign, giving a glimpse into the mysterious creativity, abundance and joy of God. Calvary would bring it about. Mary wasn’t on the cross with Jesus. But her heart, mind and will were aligned perfectly with his in trusting abandonment to the God of life and in his act of redeeming love.

And we are the ones who celebrate.