Mary, wine and belief

Today is the observation of St. Mary, and as often as this reading is used a reading in marriage rites, it has almost nothing to do with marriage. The, perhaps lost, catch line in this story is the last phrase of verse 11 and his disciples believed in him. Chapter 1 is all about John, the revelation of Jesus identity and the beginning of gathering disciples, some of whom express an opinion about who Jesus is. Nothing is said about believe, Nathaniel’s proclamation … you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” is close; however Jesus reply might cause us to ponder if it is a very zealous expression of identity, but not belief. After (indirectly) witnessing the water becoming wine, it is clear the disciples believe in Jesus.

Their belief is wonderful news. But my attention has often been caught by the exchange between Mary and Jesus, between mother and son. She tells him the wine is out. He tells her, not my problem, not my time. His mother then tells the servants to do what ever Jesus tells them to do. It’s powerfully evocative of God ‘s words in the Transfiguration (Mark and Luke) listen to him. They do, Jesus does what Jesus does, bring life where this is none, and people, here the disciples, come to belief. So maybe this is a model for intractable problem solving. Tell Jesus the problem. Listen to him, and do what he says. Look for new life. The best part is not that the problem will be solved, but that people will come to believe, and that’s where true life is.

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