The wedding feast at Cana (John 2:1-12) is one of those Gospel stories that has layer upon layer of meaning. It is a clear pointer to Jesus’ divinity in the miracle of water into wine, but there are other ‘divinity indicators’ in the story, not least Mary’s amazing statement: “Do whatever he tells you”.
“Do whatever he tells you”.
If this was said to us
By one person about someone else,
We might well have reservations,
And find such an instruction troubling:
Who is telling us this?
Who are they referring to?
What is the relationship between them?
Are there ulterior motives?
What if ‘whatever’ is less than good?
Depending on who is talking about who,
And what we know of them,
Or don’t know about them,
This instruction may well leave us in a quandary,
And do more harm than good.
When all is said and done,
It really is quite a mouthful.
Who could possibly say such a thing?
And if it’s said with authority,
From where does that authority stem?
Would you dare to say to someone, about another:
“Do whatever he tells you”?
I think not.
Surely it can only truly be said by someone reliable,
Speaking about another who is… infallible?
As a positive statement,
It can only come from someone touched by the Divine?
Otherwise they are a fraud… or a control freak.
So often in the Gospel,
If we read a statement right,
We are faced with a stark choice:
Either this is a link to the Divine,
Or it is simply wrong.
Accept its truth or reject it,
But do not stay on the fence.
And the Gospel prompts us to make that choice,
Even to the point where it is
Better to be cold than lukewarm:
Better to deny the Divine
Than to be wishy washy.
If we accept the underlying truth,
That Mary is showing us the Lord,
Then this statement is pure empowerment,
And it is liberation.
For Mary is saying:
“Do whatever God tells you”.
What a maxim for life!
“Do whatever He tells you”
What profundity of meaning
Is held in these few words!
What richness of relationship
Gives rise to this instruction?
The mother knows her Son,
Knows that He has power,
And He will obey her call…
Her simple confidence in Him,
Allows her to make a difference,
And bring practical assistance
To another’s critical need.
This relationship is eternal,
And Mary’s role is clear:
She sees our human need,
And intercedes for us,
And only she can state,
With a quiet authority:
“Do whatever He tells you”
Ultimately Mary doesn’t wield God’s power,
She points to it.
There is nothing passive in this.
It is a call to action – DO!
Do whatever God instructs.
Just how does God instruct?
In and through prayer.
Invite God into our life,
As the wedding couple invited Jesus,
And lo! He comes, quietly but surely,
And then the miracles begin!