What concern is that to you and me?
In the gospel passage, two people are supposed to be enjoying the happiest day of their lives with family and friends – and disaster strikes. They run out of wine! This could be a terrible omen for this couple; if they cannot manage the arrangements for the feast, what else might be lacking in their marriage. John doesn’t go into detail about the shortage of wine, he simply states it as fact through Mary’s announcement to Jesus.
Mary won’t just sit back and watch the wedding feast fall apart. Rather she responds as any concerned mother might and seeks to find a remedy to the problem that will dog the lives of this couple well into the future.
In her concern and in the way John has Jesus address her as ‘woman’, Mary becomes a symbol for all of Israel, God’s chosen people. The lack of wine is a symbol of God’s people who have a real lack of joy and hope, following centuries of conquest and domination. Mary trusts that God’s generosity, which she experienced in her own life, is too great to allow God’s people to remain joyless and ashamed. Jesus’ eventual response is a promise that God will take away his people’s shame and sorrow.
As Jesus’ disciples, we hear Mary’s announcement today as well as her call to be signs and instruments of God’s healing and joy in our world. As we listen to the news, as we walk our streets, as we encounter those who suffer on the margins, do we hear the call? Our vocation as baptized followers of Jesus is to be his presence in our world today. But to do that, to be instruments, we need to have hearts open to hear the call as it comes. Hearing and responding to the call happens easily if we have a sense of vocation – that we are called as disciples to continue Jesus ministry and be his presence in our world.
If we have this sense of vocation, then we recognize that the needs of others are indeed a concern to you and me and our vocations may take us in many different directions. We can be certain that, no matter in which direction we are called, it is the Spirit calling us and showing us the way.
By Richard Beaudette, OMI