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We have seen and we believe

Mary Jo Tully
Chancellor, Archdiocese of Portland


Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 62:1-5
1 Corinthians 12:4-11
John 2:1-11

Today’s Gospel reminds me of my Mother and the unique relationship that parents and their children share. When I was a child, I thought it very strange that my Mother seldom asked for anything directly. She simply stated the case. If she wanted one of us to take out the garbage, she merely said, “The trash is going to be collected in the morning.” If she wanted someone to run to the grocery store, she mentioned that we were out of milk.

Mom never learned to drive a car but even as we became adults she never asked for a ride. Instead, she told us where she needed to go the next day. There were times when we were convinced that we did not have the time and certainly not the inclination. We did it anyway because, after all, this was our Mother. The story suggests a pattern already present in the relationship between Jesus and Mary. Jesus knew how Mary asked for what she needed or wanted and Mary knew how Jesus would respond.

Mary asks and even as Jesus seems reluctant, his mother knows him so well that she tells the servers to follow her son’s directions. Even Jesus knowing that his time had not come could not say no to his mother. I suspect this realization is one of the things that encourages us to ask Mary to intercede for us.

Today’s Gospel tells the story of a relationship of intimacy.  It is also the story of Jesus’ first revelation of himself as the Son of God. It is called a “sign”—something that points to something greater. All the “signs” Jesus performed served to identify him as the promised Messiah, the Son of God. At the same time, the individual “signs” revealed aspects about him or his activity.

This is an interesting tale because it was witnessed by only a few. There is no fanfare. Not even the steward knew what had happened or why or when. Jesus had a very small audience for his first miracle, didn’t he? The reason John records this can be found in the last sentence: “And Jesus…so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.” Raymond Brown, the Johanine Scripture scholar reminds us that “One of the consistent OT figures for the joy of the final days is an abundance of wine.” Now, at the beginning of his ministry, Christ points to his glory and at this Eucharist, we are witnesses.

At this Eucharistic celebration, our response is like the disciples…we believe in Jesus and move to the altar pledging to follow him.

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