Jan Cornelisz. Vermeyen c. 1500 – 1559
Today’s message: From companionship to discipleship!
With January reaching its close, I am reminded of all the New Year’s resolutions we made earlier this month. These goals are often times self-initiated as we tell ourselves things like we will stop smoking, join a gym, cut back on social network and spend more time with family. On the other hand, many changes come about by an outside catalyst such as natural disasters or losing a job.
And then, there is change that occurs when in the business of our lives, we open ourselves to God, and something amazing happens. Something life changing happens beyond our imagination.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus not only changes water into wine – he transforms his companions to intimate disciples. This sign moved them to a new way of life.
Jesus was moved because his mother stepped in during a difficult situation. His mother didn’t look to solve the problem. She simply addressed the concern that there was no more wine at the wedding feast. First and foremost, Mary is mother who did not fully understand God’s will, but trusted in God’s plan and spent her life pondering all these things in her heart.
There is a divine interplay worth mentioning. Twice, in the Gospel of John, Jesus addresses Mary as WOMAN, a word of great affection in biblical times. The first time is in today’s Gospel as Mary gives him to us in her statement, “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5). The second time is at his hour, his moment of glory, as prefigured in his statement today. At the cross, Jesus says, “Woman, behold your son” (John 19:26). Jesus gives Mary to every disciple as Mother! This interplay of giving us to Jesus and Jesus returning Mary to us – this is the manner of discipleship – not only do we have a mother in Mary, but that in the greatest moments of life and at life’s greatest tragedies discipleship consists of pointing to Jesus to do his will, only for Jesus to give us back to each other as his family.
When we focus our lives on Jesus, Mary gently whispers in the quietness of our lives and says, “Do whatever he tells you.”And what could that be?
We take the empty stone water jars of our very lives and place them before the Master, so that he can fill our emptiness to the brim with the finest love the world as ever known: the wine of his friendship and the abundance of his love.
Jesus did not come to us to be the problem solver to all our problems. He came to us to be life’s greatest friend, humanity’s savior, and the way home to the Father. He has come to claim us more than companions. He comes to claim us as disciples to bind us in a new covenant of love. And if this was not enough, he not only calls us disciples, he calls us friend and bride, lover and beloved who lavishly bestows on us an abundance of gifts as Saint Paul addresses. Guess what? You don’t have to try hard to make God love you. It is his initiative to give us his mother in Mary, to love us in abundance. Give God the joy of being your savior and lover.
So now we are more than companions, we are intimate disciples, lovers and beloved moved to belief as we process to this Wedding Feast of the Eucharist. Here, there is no shortage of wine. Here, the divine grapes are crushed in the saving act of Jesus Christ in order to fill us with mercy and love. Here, we find the answer to all our unanswered questions and that is the very encounter of Jesus Christ. Here, we hear Mary say, “Do whatever he tells you.” And we hear Jesus say, “Behold your Mother.” All of this is summed up in mission to serve and love the person right next to you. Today, the chalice overflows, come disciples of Jesus, for eye has not seen, ear has not heard what God has ready for those who love him.