Misinterpreting Requests

I was perhaps eight or nine. On first base in a Little League game. Don’t remember how that happened, since it was not a common occurrence. The next kid hit a pop fly. The coach (my dad) yelled, “Tag up.” Well, I knew to go back to the base and wait. So, I interpreted that as “tag up and go.” So, I did. Got thrown out at second. Dad asked what in the world was I thinking. I said, you told me to go.

We were discussing the story of the wedding feast in Cana as told by John. Mary, being one of the few people perceptive of other people’s situations, noticed that the wine was about gone. That would result in humiliation for the bridegroom. She knew that.

She asked her oldest son (or only son if you’re Catholic, but we won’t go there) to do something.

At this point, we all know the story, so we assume that she meant for Jesus to perform a miracle. Someone suggested, we don’t know what she had in mind. Maybe she just meant for Jesus to gather his new friends and run to the store and buy some more. The writer never says.

We just know that Jesus interpreted it as a strong request to perform a miracle. He said, “Woman, my time is not yet come.” Weird comment.

But then he began issuing commands. He took charge of the situation. Mary tells the others to do what he says (good mother, she is).

I love theology and literary tricks. I take the miracle from that point of view that Jesus, whether he knew it there or not but probably did, changed water meant for Jewish purification rites into Communion wine (you saved the best wine for last, said the steward to the bridegroom, surely an ironic statement). A different sort of purification.

But what if it all started because he thought his mother meant one thing, and he interpreted it as another?

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