Merry Christmas

Raffaello_Santi_-_Madonna_della_Rosa_(Prado)

And the third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee: and the mother of Jesus was there.  And Jesus also was invited, and his disciples, to the marriage.  And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine.  And Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is that to me and to thee? my hour is not yet come.  His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye. (St. John 2:1-5)

–Perhaps it is well that when we think of the Nativity narratives of Matthew and Luke, we keep in mind as a coda this dramatic, sometimes misunderstood scene between the Mother of God and her adult son on the cusp of his ministry.  Paul Roche– who alas sometimes annotates his translation of Bible selections with a modernist, almost gnostical perspective– treats this scene with solemn respect and deep perspective, explaining the respectful address of “Woman” and then giving this gloss on the Virgin Mary’s response:

“Mary knows exactly the caliber of her son.  For thirty years she has pondered his uniqueness.  And he does not hesitate to please her, even though it means hastening his public ministry.”

The Bible keeps silent about what Christ did in those early years of adulthood.  For that matter, we know not what emotions Mary herself felt as she awaited the consummation of her son’s mission on earth.  But she speaks not only to the waiters but to all of us when she says, when the moment has arrived for that first public miracle, “Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye.”

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