2nd Sunday Year C - Homily 5


Homily 5 - 2022 

Today’s First Reading from Isaiah was a wonderfully extravagant reading. God was addressing the nation as one corporate whole. Speaking metaphorically, God spoke of divine love as like a powerful young love between two recently married spouses.“Like a young man marrying a virgin, so will the one who built you wed you, and as the bridegroom rejoices in his bride, so will your God rejoice in you.” Earlier he had said, “The Lord takes delight in you …”. It is an image of divine love that most of us are not too familiar with, but the image can help us to sit up and take notice, to listen personally, and to respond appropriately.

Anyhow, in today’s Reading from John’s Gospel, we have the story of Jesus at a wedding feast, and taking charge of the drinks. And he provided enough wine to give headaches to everyone in the small town.

John used the story theologically, as he so often did, to make the point that Jesus was about to usher in the redemption that God had in mind when he inspired Isaiah to prophesy the way he did.

There was another point that he also wanted to make. You will have noticed the dialogue between Jesus and his mother. Firstly, he addressed her as “Woman”. Then he said, “Why turn to me?” That translation does not help. What he was really saying was more like, “This is my business, not yours” — and his reason was “My hour has not come yet”. [Though, in fact, he did do what she suggested.]

We need to go to the end of Jesus’ life to make sense of all this. On the night of his last supper, less than twenty-four hours before he would be crucified, John commented, “Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the Father … Now he showed how perfect his love was”. That he could do this was very much Mary’s business.

Just before he died on the cross, Jesus spoke to Mary who stood nearby with the beloved disciple. He said, “Woman, this is your son”, and to the disciple he said, “This is your mother”.

The title, “Woman”, recalled the story of God’s creating the first two human persons. The Book of Genesis refers to Eve as “Woman”. It later declared, “The man named his wife ‘Eve’ because she was the mother of all those who live.”

What was Mary’s connection to the dying Jesus? It was precisely because he was human that he was able to die. It was Mary who provided Jesus with his humanity, who conceived Jesus, nourished him in her womb for nine months, and then gave birth to him. It was she who later taught him to love. She made his redeeming us possible.She had everything to do with him when “his hour” to die for love had come.

At Cana, Mary seems to have asked Jesus for a miracle. That Jesus could work miracles had nothing to do with her. Jesus could work miracles because he was the Christ, the Son of God. And at Cana, Jesus’ hour, the hour of his definitive conquering of the power of sin through his human death and thereby of his gaining life for every human person, had not yet come.

Once Jesus had died, Mary became the new Eve, “the mother of all those who live” — symbolised in the Beloved Disciple.