I have been using both of the images above in Ignatian Prayer to centre myself on Jesus. Here’s what I learnt about Jesus by meditating on them:
- Both images show an intimate moment between Jesus and his Mother Mary.
- Jesus is someone to turn to when there’s a difficulty, he is nearby and dependable.
- Jesus can be trusted in situations.
- Jesus can be interrupted and is accessible and available, even when everything appears to be busy.
- He enjoyed the wedding party and liked being with people.
- What matters to us, matters to him.
- Jesus’ conversation with Mary went relatively unnoticed, he doesn’t seek to be the centre of attention and was just another guest.
I like Jesus as portrayed in these pictures!
However, it was harder to understand what was going on when I read the passage in John chapter two that these paintings portray. In verse four, after Mary informs Jesus that the wedding hosts are running out of wine, he tells her “Dear woman, that’s not our problem, my time has not yet come”. Hmm…., he doesn’t sound so helpful or dependable now.
But, he does act, and the water becomes wine. Why?
By this time, Jesus has already gathered his twelve disciples and had become a rabbi. Perhaps Mary approaches Jesus to solve the problem because she thinks the thirteen of them could seek out some wine nearby and together carry it to the wedding for the guests to enjoy. Perhaps the wine has run out because Jesus turned up with twelve additional male guests!
I think the paintings do get it right, Jesus performs the miracle because of his love for his Mother, she can see something in Jesus. She knows Jesus better than anyone, and also understands the social pressures of the time; to run out of wine at a wedding was something to be ashamed of. Mary was still teaching Jesus, and he was learning from her. This gives me hope that Jesus understands the social pressures I face.
This was Jesus first miracle, and perhaps Mary also had an inkling that his time was coming, why gather disciples otherwise? Perhaps she too realised what he was capable of, her words to him were the nudge he needed to begin his ministry. I too need people to give me a nudge from time to time to do the right thing. If Jesus hadn’t bought along extra guests, perhaps this miracle would never have occurred!
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