Throw me the ball woman.
Come on woman.
Get out of here woman.
Answer me woman.
Throw me the ball man.
Come on man.
Get out of here man.
Answer me man.
Do they ring differently in your ear? How did you read the first few lines versus the last few lines? Tone matters and your perceptions matter. What is in the heart matters. If the first few lines are stated with malice in your heart, its offensive and the same is actually true with the last few lines. If when you read these lines, you assumed hate, then you possibly misunderstand the intent.
Does Jesus have malice in His heart? No and never assume that He does. He is Love. So why, when we read these lines at the wedding at Cana, would anyone ever think Jesus is admonishing His Mother?
Mary, the Mother of God, notices first that at the wedding in Cana that the feast has run out of wine. It is a concern she has and “prays” to the Lord. She prays with complete confidence that He will answer her prayer.
“They have no wine.” John 2:3
“Woman, what is that to Me and to thee?
My Hour is not yet come.” John 2:4
First, Jesus has no malice in His heart. Consider this though, when Jesus says His Hour, he is referring to His passion, His brutal death on the Cross. The first good work of Jesus’ ministry is done at the bequest of His Holy Mother. She is, in effect, giving her consent to start the journey that ends in His Blessed giving of His life – His Hour.
Second, woman is not a negative connotation. Curious though that He doesn’t call her Mom. Rather, she is something more than just another mother and He is signifying that changing of roles here with a new title, Woman. She is THE WOMAN or THE MOTHER. Just as Jesus is THE SON. When Jesus calls her woman, He is calling her THE woman or as many consider her rightly, the new Eve. She is the replacement of our first mother as we are all sons and daughters of Eve, but now, Behold, your Mother, we are now the children of Mary and look to her rather than to Eve.
While dying on the cross he states:
“When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple there whom He loved, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” John 19:26-27
Notice, He doesn’t call John, Man but He does call Mary, Woman. It is significant that Jesus calls her woman. While dying on the cross, He would not be cruel to His mother by negatively calling her woman, obviously! No, the title woman means more here.
Read the wedding exchange this way, less elegant, but to illustrate a point. (Forgive me St John!)
Mary: Jesus, the joyful feast will end without more wine. Please, do something.
Jesus: Mother of God, Mother of Mercy, future Queen of Heaven and Earth, I can do something, but it will start the process that ends in you watching me dying, horribly on the cross. Life will change, and it will be difficult. It must be done this way, but I just want you to know, by me doing this miracle, it begins.
Mary: Let it be done according to His will.
From Bishop Fulton Sheen’s great work, The Life of Christ, page 90: “As soon as He had consented to begin His “Hour,” He proceeded immediately to tell her (Mary) that her relations with Him would be henceforth changed. Until then, during His hidden life, she had been known as the mother of Jesus. But now that He was launched on the work of Redemption, she would no longer be just His mother, but also the mother of all His human brethren whom He would redeem. To indicate this new relationship, He now addressed her, not as “Mother” but as the “Universal Mother” or “Woman.”
If you enjoyed this post – I own it all to Bishop Fulton Sheen, who I’m confident would give all glory and honor to the Holy Spirit.