17 May Mary invites us to listen, to believe, to hold fast to Jesus | Homily of the Vicar General on the Feast of Mary, Mediatrix of Graces
The title of Mediatrixis rooted in the Franciscan tradition: in fact, many of our saints have fostered devotion to Mary, Mediatrix of all graces. St. Francis of Assisi had a well-known devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and it is clear from his writings that Mary, the mother of Jesus, has a unique place in our relationship with God. Thanks to her openness to the plan of salvation and to an intimate union with God, she has become a model for every believer.
In today’s liturgy of the Word we heard the Gospel passage of the “Wedding Feast of Cana” (Jn 2:1-11), Jesus’ first sign and miracle as recounted by John the Evangelist. On this feast of Mary Mediatrix of graces, I would like to highlight some vital features of Christian life and Consecrated life.
Listen to Jesus. Let’s think about what the Mother of Jesus says to the servants: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2: 5). There is a parallel situation in the bible: the people of Israel declare to Moses that they are willing to do all that the Lord has said (Ex 19: 8) and carry out all the commands given by the Lord (Ex 24: 3). Similarly, Mary prompts the servants to obey the word of her son, he who is the Son of God (Cf. Jn 2,5). In this way, the Virgin shows herself to be the mother of those who are faithful, that is, of those who fulfil the commands of Christ. In this event, at the wedding feast of Cana, Mary helps to bring about a birth of faith in the hearts of men and women.
In the Gospel, Mary is shown as a mediator of the revelation of Jesus, and of the faith of the disciples,precisely because she shows her full confidence in the Son and, consequently, invites the servants to take on her own attitude: “Do whatever he says!”. For his part, Jesus completes his first sign because he is asked to do so by his mother. Even today, Our Lady says to us: “Whatever Jesus tells you to do, do it”. This is an expression that reminds us of the faith formula used by the people of Israel at Sinai in response to the covenant promises: “As the Lord has said, so we will do ” (Ex 19: 8). Indeed, at Cana the servants obey (Pope Francis, June 8th, 2016).
Believe in Jesus. In the final verse John writes: “Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” (Jn 2:11). With this text in which Cana is once again named, the Gospel closes the narrative, saying explicitly that this is the first of the signs.
It is not only the first sign but is the beginning of the time of signs — the starting point of the complete revelation of himself that Jesus achieves through the signs. Therefore, the meaning of the sign at Cana is Christological: it indicates that Jesus is the Messiah. The nuptial context also refers to the biblical vision that imagines the messianic era as a wedding celebration (Cf. Is 54.4-8; Ap 19,7.9) — the detail of abundant and excellent wine also refers to this (Cf. Am 9,13; Gl 2,23ss).
Hold fast to Jesus. To conclude, I invite you to look at the image of Mary: she shows us Jesus “the way, the truth and the life” (Jn 14: 6) and she gives the Son to us. She is the mediatrix who will always remind us to have Jesus as the center of our life and to keep our gaze fixed on him (Heb. 12:2). Jesus is the focal point, while others are presented only in reference to him: “the mother of Jesus”; “his mother” (without being called by her name, ‘Mary’); “His disciples” — the silent witnesses who will eventually appear as the faith community.
Precisely as Mother of Jesus, present at that event and noting that there is no more wine at the wedding feast, she boldly turns to him to say: “They have no more wine” (Jn 2: 3). If there is no wine, then it will be difficult to celebrate the wedding with appropriate joyfulness and feasting. In the Scriptures, more than anything, wine is a promise that God himself makes: it is his gift of delight and joy to his people. It is wine that rejoices the human heart (Cf. Psalm 103.15), as well as the heart of God (Cf. Gd 9,13). It is wine that is freely given and abundant and, because of this, bread and wine are offered freely in the meal left to us by Jesus as his memorial.
Let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to continue to be Mediatrix of the graces of her Son, Jesus Christ, so that we may always listen and carry out the words spoken by Jesus, thus tasting the new wine of the Kingdom.
“Holy Virgin Mary, pray for us with St. Michael the Archangel, with all the angelic powers of heaven and with all the saints, to your most holy and beloved Son, our Lord and Master, Amen.” (St. Francis)
Rome, May 12th May, 2018
Feast of Santa Maria Mediatrice
Patroness of the General Curia Church
Br. Julio César Bunader, OFM