Intimacy Between Mother and Son

Jesus at Wedding of CanaLast Sunday’s Gospel reading is one of my all-time favorites.  So many good things in it–and there was wine!

Jesus performs his very first public miracle.  How cool is that?

And his mother Mary is involved. She instructs them to, “Do whatever he tells you.” Simple advice for all of us!

But mostly in this Gospel I especially love the interaction between Jesus and his mom–having two sons of my own, I imagine the underlying messages in Jesus and Mary’s exchange.

Woman, how does your concern affect me?”

This makes me laugh. I LOVE THIS.

“Woman.”  Many writers have made note that at first glance this sounds a little disrespectful.  But not willing to concede that Jesus was ever disrespectful to his mom, thankfully, more context is given which shows how the norms of the culture and language of Jesus’ day makes this address make sense.

To me, a mother of two sons ages 10 and almost 13, I don’t see disrespect at all—and I’m not an ancient culture or language scholar. I see humor, intimacy, a little sarcasm and a knowing smile behind Jesus’ chosen words to his mother in Cana.

Humor?  Sarcasm?  Where do I get that?

So, for example, my boys joke around with me all the time as a sign of affection.  I think they get this from their father.  When a boy teases a girl, it’s his way of showing her he likes her.  It starts way back in grade school.

The other day I mentioned to Ben, “Ben, we really need to rake the yard or the grass isn’t going to grow this spring.”

Ben answered, “Yeah, Mom, we really do. (pointing) The rake is right over there.”

Of course, he grins when he says this and we both know my little phlegmatic-sanguine child will comply with my request.  But he’s got to mess with me a little bit first.

Little boys—including Jesus—-love their mamas.

Jesus also uses, “Woman,” to address Mary Magdalene in John 20:15, saying, “Woman, why are you weeping?”  He knows why she’s weeping — she came to the tomb and his body was gone.  Next thing Jesus says in John 20:16 is “Mary!  Like, “Hello?  It’s me.  I’m here. It’s okay.”

Last Sunday’s Gospel John 2:1-11

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told the them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from — although the servers who had drawn the water knew —, the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.

Spirituality vs Religion

These are my thoughts based on my experience. I have sometimes felt out of place in AA because I am a traditional, practicing Catholic.  I love my faith and rely on my faith in my daily life.

However, in AA meetings, occasionally members will put down my faith—from their own perspective of course, and I am supposed to overlook this because I am supposed to have an open mind and realize each person has their own experience.

But this makes me feel uncomfortable.  I want to defend my faith… if they truly understood the beauty and the truth of the Catholic faith and the Church they wouldn’t be publicly (anonymously?) putting her down.

Many alcoholics in my meetings insist they are “spiritual” but not religious.

The whole “spiritual” but not “religious” thing bugs me.  I explained to my sponsor Amy that my spirituality is within the context of my religion—that the two are one and the same, not separate. To Amy’s credit, she was kind and suggested I was lucky to hold this understanding.  Many members, Amy included, were disillusioned by their childhood religion.

GK Chesterston said, “The purpose of having an open mind — like having an open mouth — is to remain open until you find something worth shutting it for.”

I can’t think of anything more spiritual than the holy spirit coming down to the altar and transforming the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.  Or, the incense representing our prayers being raised to heaven.  Or, the meditating nature of the rosary bringing me peace in the midst of an anxiety attack.  Or, being transformed by grace while meditating in front of the cross.

No, for me there is no way to separate spirituality from religion.  In fact, it doesn’t make sense to do so unless I’m trying to convince somebody that religion is “bad” and spirituality “good.”

What’s wrong with religious?