The wine gave out, so Jesus’ mother said to him, ‘They have no wine left.’ He answered, ‘That is no concern of mine. My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’
Today’s reading recounts one of my favorite miracles: Jesus’ turning water into wine. The setting is a wedding in Cana and, no doubt, much celebrating is taking place. While the wine has run dry certainly a serious problem no one is blind or paralyzed or possessed; no one has leprosy or has died. And thanks to Jesus’ transformation of water to the “best wine,” the festivities will continue.
As of late, though, Mary’s role in this story has captured my imagination. Rather than a casual observation about the party, her comment is pointed: “They have no wine left.” How could she be so assured that Jesus could and would resolve this problem? Had he been turning water to wine since his childhood, upgrading their meal-time libations? We certainly hear Jesus’ resistance with his retort: “That is no concern of mine.” Despite his negative response, Mary’s directive to the servants assumes that he will act. Her faith and confidence are clear in his abilities to produce the “best wine.”
How fitting for this first “sign” in the Gospel of John to involve wine. This first miracle leads to another miracle. As all the gospels testify, miracle leads to miracle leads to miracle, leading to another fateful celebration. A Passover dinner of wine and bread leads to the cross, then resurrection and then ultimately to our own experience each Sunday at communion.
This miracle, as I see it, is the first domino of many to come. As Jesus’ first and most unswerving disciple, Mary presses the first tile.