When the wine runs out: A homily for the Fifth Sunday of Easter/Mother’s Day (Year A)

jesus_turn_water_to_wine_643Today we celebrate Mother’s Day.  As usual, I start thinking about what I might say in a Sunday homily somewhere in the middle of the week.  Last week I spent my day off in the garden, preparing my plot and putting the tomatoes and peppers and all that in there. I got quite muddy.  I left my muddy cowboy boots on the porch, which prompted Msgr to call and leave a voicemail asking, “Mike, do you know anything about the muddy cowboy boots on the porch? It looks like Cowboy Bob was raptured. OK, bye.”  hahahah. I’ve listened to that about a hundred times.

Anyway, I was thinking as I was gardening about how motherhood is a lot like gardening.  A mother plants, a mother waters, fertilizes, weeds out the problems around the plants. She gives the plant life, she nurtures it, and watches it grow and produce fruit.  This is motherhood!  I say this partly to tell you: everything we, your sons and daughters turn out to be, you helped to make.  Whatever good fruits we produce, it is because you planted us and helped us grow.  That’s one motherly thought from today.

Now, I’ve also been thinking a lot about the Wedding Feast at Cana.  I’ve had a lot of weddings lately, praise God!  The wedding feast at Cana was Jesus’ first documented miracle.  And that miracle happens at Mary’s request.  The wine runs out at the party, and Mary tells Jesus to take care of it.  From the very first miracle, Our Blessed Mother has cooperated in the miracles of Jesus!  She still does.  Which is why we pray TO GOD THROUGH HER.  She intercedes and requests miracles for us.  This is nothing new: it is biblical and REAL!  I’ve seen it all over the place….in my life and in the lives of parishioners.  As Pope Francis said yesterday, “To be Christian is to be Marian!”

Now St. John Paul II noticed that–he noticed how Jesus worked his first miracle at Mary’s request–and he preached about it.  He also noticed something quite important:  “The meaning and role of the Blessed Virgin’s presence become evident when the wine runs out.”  Isn’t that interesting!  Mama Mary has such an important role in the everyday action of grace in the world, but sometimes we don’t notice that until….until the wine runs out.

That, I believe, is the same with our earthly mothers.  Our mothers are important in a myriad of ways, we owe our lives to them!  Their role is so important–in giving life to the world and Church, in nurturing life, in everything.  But that role is perhaps most evident when the wine runs out, when life happens to us.  A mother’s presence and role in our lives is most felt, most pronounced when she is attending to her boy’s broken leg, scrapped knee, or broken heart….when she is helping her daughter because things just aren’t working out….when she takes her kids on trips to the doctor and deals with problems at school….when her little baby boy has a nightmare.

It’s been said that life doesn’t come with a user’s manual, but it does come with a mother. Thanks be to God!  I think the pope was right: a mother’s role is most pronounced when the wine runs out.  Because what we should all know about a mother is that she is always there and she always loves her children….even from heaven.  It’s true about our heavenly mother, and about Christian mothers too.

Mothers: the church esteems your vocation highly and depends upon it.  God so loves mothers that, when he came to earth, he did it through a mother, the mother we venerate during this month of May…he gave everything to her.  If ever you mothers need a little help, you need only look to the Blessed Virgin Mary to find your way. And, as you find your way, the rest of us–your sons and daughters–will find our way, too. Because we look to you. And we love you.