Friends, in today’s Gospel, we read about the wedding at Cana. Jesus’ mother is the first to speak, as John tells the story: “They have no wine.” On the surface level, she is indeed commenting on a social disaster— running out of wine at a party—and she is asking Jesus to do something to make things better.
But let’s go deeper. Wine, in the Scriptures, is a symbol of the exuberance and intoxication of the divine life. When God is in us, we are lifted up, rendered joyful, transfigured. Therefore, when Mary says, “They have no wine,” she is speaking of all of Israel and indeed all of the human race. They have run out of the exuberance and joyfulness that comes from union with God.
And this is precisely why Jesus calls her “woman.” We can be easily misled into thinking that he was being curt or disrespectful. But he was addressing her with the title of Eve, the mother of all the living. Mary is the representative here of suffering humanity, complaining to God that the joy of life has run out.