A few nights ago on my nightly radio show, I discussed the Blessed Mother’s important role at the Wedding in Cana and the significance of her last recorded words in Scripture, “Do whatever He tells you”. One of my listeners, Kathy Bowles, was so touched by the show that she (astonishingly) transcribed the entire broadcast! Not wanting to let Kathy’s amazing effort work go to waste, I’d like to share it with all of you in the hope that it may help you as well. Thank you, Kathy!
Do Whatever He Tells You – The Blessed Mother Mary’s Final Words in Sacred Scripture (transcription of Gary Zimak’s Radio Program on 1/12/12)
If we do whatever Jesus tells us, then one day we will one day live with Him in Heaven. The problem is we want to do whatever we want to do, and sometimes it is difficult to listen to what Jesus tells us. In the story of the wedding at Cana, we do not know the names of the bride and groom, but we do know that the Mother of Jesus was invited. Jesus and his disciples were there as well. During that wedding feast, Jesus performed his first miracle, which was changing water into wine. Mary told us to do whatever He tells us – and there were NO exceptions. The church has always interpreted this to mean that we should follow the Lord’s commandments, and that those words were not just directed at the servants at the wedding, but to each of us.
John 2:1 – On the third day, there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee and the Mother of Jesus was there. Mary is highlighted in this story. John includes details for a reason. If John is including the fact that Mary is at the wedding, there is a reason. It’s not just something that is “thrown in” – Mary is mentioned first. And why is that? Because Mary plays an important role in this miracle. And then John mentions that Jesus also was invited to the marriage with His disciples. Mary even gets mentioned before Jesus in this miracle. This is not to say that she is divine or that she actually “performed” the miracle, but it is just to draw attention to Mary’s importance in what is about to happen.
When the wine failed, the Mother of Jesus said to Him, “they have no wine.” Just a simple statement. Not even a request. Just a simple statement. She went up to her son. She did not need to say much, because she knew what He would do. “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Oh woman, what has this to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” Now this is sometimes a point of confusion. People who do not want to give the Blessed Mother any credit, who want to discredit her role or downplay her importance, express the opinion that Jesus is rebuking His mother. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. The fact that He is calling her Woman in reference to the original woman, Eve. Mary is the new Eve. It also is a title used for queens. It is an honorable title. He is not talking down to her.
“My hour has not yet come.” There are a number of reasons why our Lord could have said this. One of the most plausible is that He wants to show us the importance of Mary’s intercession. His hour has not yet come. He has not yet started His public ministry. He has not performed His first miracle. But at the request of Mary, when Mary brings to His attention that there is a problem, what happens? Immediately after Mary says to the Lord, “They have no wine,” she turns to the servants and issues her last words in Sacred Scripture, “Do whatever He tells you.” Note that she didn’t come back and argue with Him. Why is that? Because: #1: She trusted him; and, #2. She knew what He was going to do. Mary and Jesus understand each other. Mary’s will is always one with the will of the Lord. She knew what He would do.
Obviously, Our Lord was going along with Mary’s request, responding to her statement. If He was rebuking her, he wouldn’t perform the miracle. That is another reason why we know that Our Lord listens to His Mother. The servants filled the jars with water;they filled them up to the brim, as Jesus instructed. He said to draw some out and take it to the steward of the feast. So they took it – they were listening to Him. The steward of the feast tested the water, now become wine, and did not know where it had come from. He then called the bridegroom and told him, “Every man serves the good wine first, but when the men have drunk freely, they substitute the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” This is the first of the signs that Jesus did at Cana in Galilee and manifested His glory; and his disciples believed in Him. This is one of the reasons John refers to Jesus’ miracles as signs. They were not acts of magic. They were signs of His glory. And people saw this. As humans, when we see miracles we are awed, we are stunned. We realize God is in our presence. Jesus had to establish the fact that He was the Son of God and miracles were a means of illustrating that fact. And the beautiful thing about this miracle is that, the Lord replaced the wine with even better wine. Not only did Jesus listen to Mary, not only did He honor her request, but He exceeded it. And that is a lesson for each of us.
From an old prayer book, the Our Lady Book (by Fr. Lasance) : “How admirably sublime the position occupied by Mary in this circumstance at Cana. The Redeemer states openly and emphatically that His Hour is not yet come for the public manifestation and exercise of His miraculous power. And yet, He actually works a great miracle at the modest request of His mother. They have no wine – that is all she said. Thus, the eternal decrees of God are, as it were, accelerated or even anticipated for the purpose of sparing the young couple mortification. And this is done out of regard to the blessed Virgin. Here, we may discover what wonderful and extraordinary power Mary has with God. Moreover, the thoughtful and kind Virgin Mary points out to us the conditions under which help is to come from God when she says to the servers, ‘whatever He says to you, do ye’ .”
The author of this prayer book is telling us that if we want to get our prayers answered, do whatever Jesus is telling us. If we would but throw ourselves with faith and confidence unconditionally into the hands of the Savior resolving to tread in His footsteps, to keep His commandments, God would help us – and even be ready and willing to come toward us in a supernatural manner, when all ordinary and natural means fail to sustain us.
Do you have problems in your life? Are you facing major crises? The Lord is standing by to help you. And our Blessed Mother is ready to come and take you by the hand and bring you to Jesus. And she is going to remind you of these words, “Do whatever He tells you.” That means following His commands. Are you following the commandments of the Church founded by Her Son? So many times we pick and choose which teachings of our Lord we wish to follow. That is not good enough. Mary says to do whatever He tells you. The author of the prayer book goes on to say:
“Jesus does even more than what His mother asked him to do. She wished him merely to extricate the bridal party from an unpleasant embarrassment. This could have been affected by a new supply of the same quality of wine or even an inferior quality of wine, it being the custom of the country to serve a less expensive wine toward the end of the feast. But Jesus did more. He produced a wine so excellent that the chief stewardess was astonished. What a gentle and suggestive act of attention from Jesus to His Beloved Mother. This miracle wrought by Jesus out of love for his Mother is well calculated to awaken, to strengthen, to elevate your unlimited confidence in the same Holy Mother.
She had not been asked by the bridal couple of Cana to use her good offices with Jesus. It is probable that they were not aware of the deficiencies in the wine until the whole thing had been remedied. There is no indication that the bride and groom knew there was a problem. But Mary was so compassionate that she made sure that it was brought to the Lord’s attention even before the people involved knew there was a problem. Mary, though unsolicited, sought to relieve and supply their necessities. If you, in your hour of need, pray to this same kind Mother, earnestly and persistently, assailing her, so to speak, by your prayers and your tears, will she not turn toward you a willing and attentive ear? At the wedding in Cana, it was a question of a very trifling and transitory inconvenience. If then, you turn toward her in the most important areas of life, where there is a question of saving your immortal soul, of preserving your innocence, of maintaining your very life, where there is danger of offending the Divine Majesty or of dishonoring the Sacred Blood of Jesus Christ, will she act less mercifully or efficiently in your behalf than she did on the behalf of the embarrassed couple at their wedding feast? When at Cana, the Blessed Mother was still sojourning in this valley of tears, but now in Heaven, her position as Queen of Angels, is eminently glorious and influential. Now it is her special office to act as refuge of sinners, comforter of the afflicted and helper of the sick”.
From her position in Heaven, Mary can help us in tremendous and unbelievable ways. But she expects us to do what Jesus tells us. For example, Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount do not be anxious. Matthew 6:25, Our Lord says, “therefore I tell you do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, or what you will put on. Is life not more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you of not more value than they? And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to your span of life? Therefore do not worry about what shall we eat, what shall we drink, what shall we wear. For the Gentiles seek all these things and your Heavenly Father knows you need them all. Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all of these things shall be yours as well.”
So there you go – that is a commandment from the Lord – Do not be anxious. Well, we say, “I can’t help it.” “I worry.” Well, stop it! If you worry, open your bible, say your prayers, and get to Holy Communion as often as possible. Receive penance as often as you can. Get those graces flowing. The Lord said “Do not be anxious”! This is a battle I fight every day. I need to focus on the Lord’s providence. I have to battle though this. The minute I see the worry starting to happen, I stop myself and I pray. That is what Blessed Mary expects us to do. The Lord commands us not to be anxious. You might still be nervous, but pray for assistance. If you are praying, you are not going to be worrying. Worrying accomplishes nothing. Praying has a tremendous effect.
Also in Matthew, we read: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and give glory to God your Father in Heaven.” People should be seeing our actions and giving glory to the Father in Heaven. Is that happening in my life? Am I living my life in such a way that gives glory to the Father? If not, I need to work on it. The Blessed Mother is telling us to do whatever Jesus tells us to do. Therefore, we can’t ignore His words!
How many times do we hold a grudge and not forgive? Jesus tells us to not only forgive minor offenses but to love our enemies. When people do bad things to us – love them! That is a command of our Lord. Are we listening? “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does them is like a wise man who builds his house on a rock. When the rain comes, the house built on rock will stand strong.” Do you listen to the words of the Lord? Are you obeying his commandments? Or are you taking matters into your own hands and only choosing to obey the commands of our Lord that you wish to listen to? Many times, we only do our “own thing”. And the same thing applies to the laws of the Church. Jesus founded the Catholic Church and Benedict XVI is the successor of St. Peter. Do we listen to the teachings of the Church, or do we disregard the ones that we find unpleasant? Listen to Mary’s advice and you’ll do just fine… Do whatever He tells you. If you obey, one day you will be with the Lord in Heaven.