Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes
Isaiah 66:10-14c; John 2:1-11
In the first reading Isaiah called to mind the tender image of a mother comforting a baby carried in her arms… fondled in her lap (Isaiah 66:12-13). At such times, mothers might speak, but they know that words are unnecessary. They prefer the other senses: Touch, smell, and especially, sight. Many of us know this from experience; while we like to hold babies and smell them (there’s nothing like that “new baby” smell), we especially love to look into their eyes.
In fact, scientists have recently discovered that when infants and parents lock eyes, their brain waves synchronize; that is, the child’s brain activity mirrors their parent’s. That’s not all; this phenomenon seems to continue throughout life. No wonder my mother was so good at reading my mind every time she asked me to look her in the eyes!
I believe the same is true of the Blessed Mother and Jesus, and I think today’s gospel story is a good case in point. After Mary tells Jesus that the wine has run short, he’s not disrespectful but he does make it clear that he’s not particularly interested. Nevertheless, just a moment later, he miraculously creates about 120 gallons of fine wine. What could possibly have so moved him?
I think only one thing could do that: Looking his Mother in the eyes.
She had gazed into those eyes from the time she first carried him in her arms, and many times since over those thirty hidden years in Nazareth. In a very real way and beyond anything either science or St. Paul could have imagined, Mary had the mind of Christ. So, whatever was behind her eyes at that moment in Cana, he knew that it could only be motivated by the purest love of him, her Son, her Savior, and her Lord.
And, in ways known only to Christ, Mary’s eyes were much more than a window to her immaculate soul. Hers were the eyes that beheld the angelic revelation in Nazareth; that searched for a place to give him birth; that watched and guarded him as he grew; that wept as he walked out the door for the last time. Hers were the eyes that constantly looked for ways to be the disciple she had been called from all eternity to be; the eyes now gazing at him, pleading in their own quiet way for him to save the honor of this bride and bridegroom; to show them and the world the merciful and loving Savior she had gazed upon for ten thousand wondrous days in Nazareth.
I came across a book by Fr. Raneiro Cantalamessa, Preacher to the Papal Household, entitled, Mary, Mirror of the Church. I look forward to reading it! By that title he surely must be thinking of the Blessed Mother as we now know her and as she once described herself to Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” The titles work wonderfully together, for as St. Paul once wrote, Christ has sanctified the Church that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:27). It may have been the love of a young man for his mom that first moved Jesus to change water into wine at Cana, but it was the infinite love of the Son of Man for his holy and immaculate bride, the Church, that moved him to change bread and wine into his own Body and Blood at the Last Supper.
Today we remember the one he called Woman, who we call Mary Immaculate, Mother and mirror of the Church. Let us take a moment today to thank God for giving us so loving a mother. May she continue to look tenderly upon all of us, her spiritual children, and plead that we too be made into the finest wine. She, who has for so long looked into the eyes of Infinite Love and perfectly conformed her mind to His.
Mary Immaculate, pray for us.
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