These famous words are the final words recorded in Scripture coming from the Blessed Virgin Mary. Remember the story in John 2:1-11, the Wedding Feast at Cana? Mary let her Son Jesus know that they had run out of wine. It was a big deal then and a big deal even today. One that would embarrass the couple and their family. Our dear sweet Mother Mary, the perfect woman, sees the need and brings it to the One she knows, who can do something about it. So, with total confidence and trust she presents the problem at hand stating, “They have no wine.” There is an exchange between Mother and Son that is rich with theological meaning and then she turns to the servers and says, “Do whatever He tells you.” Conversation over, it is time for action. Mary doesn’t tell Jesus how He should go about making wine, she simply entrusts the task for Him to accomplish as He sees fit.
Mothers know when to give their offspring a little necessary nudge.
It was the summer of two thousand something. All the boys plus one, had moved back after college and between jobs. Life was good for them. They ate, they played, they swam, and they gamed all the day long…. until one day in August, when mother had enough. Their plates, and their buns were still in the same place they were hours earlier. I would leave with everything straightened up, only to come home to a mess, and four hairy, twenty-somethings doing pretty much nothing with their life. I wanted to still love them, but I had passed displeasure, and was quickly heading towards abhorrence. They weren’t doing anything bad. They weren’t doing anything, and that was the point. Time for my little birdies, plus one, to get kicked out of the nest and fly on their own. I gave them three months to get out. “Geez, Barb,” you might think, “How cruel.” To this I would counter, it was the best thing I could have ever done for them. You don’t learn how to grow up and mature unless you actually do it. There is growth in the struggle and in the doing. There is joy in breaking through barriers of fear. Years later, they told me it was the right motivation needed.
Mothers know when to give their offspring the necessary shove.
May I propose to you that Mother Church is suggesting it is time to come back to her loving arms. Come home to the warmth of her embrace and to the Sacraments. Sure, it might be scary venturing out if you haven’t yet, but where else can you receive the Bread of Life? Without the Eucharist as nourishment for our souls, we grow spiritually weak. There is a battle raging outside our doors and we need to be fully equipped to fight the good fight. We are needed. If not us, who will put love where there is hate, peace where there is strife, forgiveness, and justice where there is injury? Our world needs us as Catholic Christians, to be Christ. We cannot do this without being properly fed or equipped.
Life was never meant to be 100% safe. In anything there are risks. When I took my bike out five years ago to just ride over to St. Andrew’s for a couple of hours, I had done everything in my control to get there safely. EVERYTHING. However, as humans, much of our life is completely out of our control. Just as I could not account for the woman who wasn’t paying attention until I crashed into her windshield, we cannot guarantee your complete and total safety. What I can tell you is that we are doing everything to make it as safe as possible for our parishioners to return. I learned from my little encounter with glass and metal, that all I can do is what is within my power, and the rest I must leave to God. Learning to let go and surrender our lives to the Almighty is a lifelong task. Every time we let the fear of “what if” take control, the devil wins more influence over our life. Fear is a big motivator and a highly effective weapon in the war against God.
God is bigger than our worst nightmare, our worst illness, or our worst fears. Do you believe that?
I’m not just blowing smoke here. I feel like I have been living some of my worst nightmares for a few years. I never wanted brain surgery, nor to be hit by a car, or fungal meningitis, to name a few. God knew I needed to learn the lesson of entrusting my life over to Him, and to let go of my false belief that I was in control. What I have learned beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that He has never abandoned me. He takes me through it all and I grow in faith and trust. This is not unique to me or my situations, but to all of us. God, our loving Father, really does love us more than we can imagine. He really cares about us, our happiness, our eternal destiny. Not just the collective “us,” but the us, as individuals. He knows that for us to grow, He needs to give us opportunities to entrust Him. Sometimes that feels a little scary to us.
Just like when we learned to ride a bike, our parents would let go, even when we didn’t think we could do it alone. Before long, we were riding by ourselves and felt the thrill of accomplishing something we previously thought impossible.
We miss your smiling faces even though we can’t see them under the masks. Your squinty eyes, however, say it all. Mother Mary and the Saints, Jesus, and the whole host of heaven await your presence at the Heavenly Banquet. Come.