Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Jesus & Mary, Mother & Son At A Wedding

Most of the world Knows the story recounted in St. John's Gospel, when Mary the mother of Jesus went to him for help because she heard the Bride & Groom were going to be greatly embarrassed by running out of wine and they needed help. We know that Jesus first reaction wasn't too ready for action but his Mother prevailed and he bailed them out by changing drinking water into fine wine.

This was the first of Jesus' miracles and very important but just as important is what was going on between mother and son and all the guests at the wedding feast. Mary had Jesus when she was around 16. Jesus was just getting started with his ministry and he assembled his 12 Apostles but he wasn't in full gear yet. He was about 30 at the time which makes Mary around 47. Joseph her husband had passed away at least a decade earlier. There was no life insurance in those days and a woman on her own had no source of income. It is presumed Joseph was a carpenter and he probably taught Jesus the trade. Jesus probably ran the business and was the sole support of Mary for all this time. Hopefully he was a good and honest Carpenter and they were well known around the small region. Mary was a good Jewish mother and Jesus a good Jewish son which probably means she was a bit controlling and he listened to his mama. 

There was a young couple getting married just about the time that Jesus was getting ready to launch his ministry which was to change the world. But before he hit the road he and Mom got the invitation to this wedding. Jesus was never one to pass up a party so he figured why not have a little fun before he hit the road with his 12 friends. Besides Mama wanted to go because she knew the couple since they were born. Now Jewish weddings were not a small thing, there was a lot of customs to be followed and if the girl was a virgin, presumably meaning first marriage, the feast would last 7 days. A lot of preparation went into this. Jesus and Mary were poor so one can presume the couple getting married were not well off. This means they could afford just so much. They figured out who was coming to the feast and how much food and drink was to be needed. They wouldn't turn away anyone but they hoped they wouldn't be embarrassed by running out of food or drink. This would not be a good way to start a marriage. 

The Bride went out to greet her Groom on the night of the marriage. The rituals were followed. AND the festivities began. Everyone was happy and by the third day many people showed up some unexpectedly, like Jesus. Jesus and his mom were expected but they weren't aware that Jesus would bring twelve friends to boot and guys who apparently ate and drank quite a bit. The fact of the matter many unexpected guests showed up. so that the party ran out of wine. Mary, she wasn't quite a Yenta, but she noticed that there seemed to be some trouble in paradise, so she sauntered over to eavesdrop and learned that the newly weds were going to be laughed at and derided because they ran out of wine. She wanted to help but she didn't have the money to buy all the wine that was needed. She wanted to do something and didn't quite know what to do but she promised the couple that with a little patience everything would be OK. What else could she do but go to her son for help? She remembered how she was told she was going to give birth. She remembered how Joseph had to flee with them into Egypt because that crazy Herod wanted to kill her baby. She remembered how Jesus was lost in Jerusalem when he was 12 and when he was found he was confounding the scholars of the temple. She knew he prayed a lot and seemed to have a solution for every problem they encountered after Joseph passed on. She knew he was going out now to preach the word of God and love. She didn't know quite how he was going to fix this but she had faith he could fix anything if he wanted. So she sought him out and found him laughing and sharing stories and jokes with his 12 companions.

She pulled him aside because she didn't want the whole assembly to know of the problem. She told him of the problem. Jesus, stepped back and with amazement said, "Mom, what is this to you and me? I am not ready to start my mission just yet and if I were to fix this then it would just draw attention to me.", To which she responded, "You know I don't ask too much of you, if you won't try to fix this for the wedding couple, then do it for me." Jesus stepped back, how was a good Jewish son going to disappoint his Mama when something was this important to her. "Gee, Mom!" was all he could utter, with a look of surrender. Mary without hesitation signaled to the Stewart to come over, "With regards to the wine problem, do whatever he (pointing to Jesus) tell you to do." and she walked away. Now Jesus couldn't embarrass his mother so he told the Stewart to have the stone water Jugs holding many gallons of liquid brought over. The Stewart threw his hands up in disgust, he knew the problem and now this Carpenter is going to try and make some kind of grape juice into wine. However he did what he was told and filled the jugs with drinking water. Jesus instructed him to taste it. It still looked like water but what the hell the Stewart thought he was already paid for his effort. So he drew it out and tasted what was the finest white wine he had ever tasted. He tried the other jugs and the same result happened. The Stewart looked at Jesus and asked"How the hell did you do that?" to which Jesus answered with a smile, "Only by using a mother's love which wasn't through hell but through heaven.", now how about giving me a glass of that fine wine. With that he called over to his Mom and raised his glass in a toast, "Everybody's happy now. Are You? I love you Mom." And so that was Jesus' first miracle which had a lot more going on than just turning water into fine wine. Heck anyone can do that but only a loving family can do things out of love brought out of years of living with each other.

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