Remember your death

Pope Pius XII famously said “The greatest sin is losing the sense of sin.” This saying comes in 1946, shortly after WWII, which I find profound that he didn’t say the holocaust or hatred of fellow man was the greatest sin; to be fair, I agree with Pope Pius XII.

What is the consequence of sin but death. When sin entered the garden, the result was that we would die and all death is a consequence of the sin of the world. Through one act, all will perish, but there’s more. Through one act of Jesus’s death, all can be saved, a greater gift than the punishment.

“But the gift is not like the transgression. For if by that one person’s (Adam’s) transgression the many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one person Jesus Christ overflow for the many.” Romans 5:15

We must never forget why Easter is the most important holiday – it is the moment Jesus triumphed over death. We cannot have Easter, without Good Friday. Most would think, Good Friday, the day we killed our God in the most brutal fashion, wouldn’t be called Good, but we do, because it is good that He laid down His life for us.

If man has forgotten their sense of sin, could they have also forgotten their sense of mortality? Death is the secret hidden away from the forefront of the mind, but not for all. There are many monasteries around the world where death is a constant focus. A popular phrase is memento mori, which is Latin for, remember your death.

Trappist Monk’s are often known to have symbols of death prominently displayed and at one monastery, on the wall is inscribed, “Tonight perhaps?” Another monastery in France, on their cemetery is inscribed, “Today I die, tomorrow it will be you.”

The Catholic faith speaks extensively about death. The Hail Mary ends, “ Pray for us, now and at the hour of our death.” We don’t focus on death because we are macabre and dark. It is important that we remember not just Easter Sunday, but we remember Good Friday. We must remember that if we don’t die, we can’t be saved. The fruit must die so that the tree can grow. Rather, we focus on death because it is important to be ever mindful that we live forever and death is not the end. All the tragedy of the world is not the last say. All the misery, and trust me, there is lots of misery if you bother to look, is not just misery in its finality. Jesus offers eternal salvation and only Jesus offers it. If you forget that we perish, that we live in a dangerous world where perhaps, tomorrow is your last day, you forget you need the saving power of Jesus.

Why are Churches full of elderly? Because the elderly can’t escape the thought that their death is getting closer and now, more than ever, they cry out for their Savior. Connecting life and death connects our actions to our judgement.

Why is the Church not full of all ages? Perhaps because the youth have forgotten their mortal.

This pandemic has taught many that we are vulnerable and we live in a dangerous world; death numbers are published constantly and they can’t be ignored. Many think they can just stay home and be safe – that their actions will save themselves, but that’s just not true. Many put their faith in the government to come up with a solution or their doctors, but again, that won’t save either. If 1,000 die every day in the US from the novel Coronavirus, there are another 7,000 that die every single day, in the US, from things other than the Coronavirus. Death and our vulnerabilities are in the news today but death and peril was and is always here.

I know as a Dad that I can’t protect my children from everything. I allow them to bike to their friend’s house, which has hazard. I allow them to have that freedom, but I know there’s risk. When I get nervous, I say a quick prayer to the Blessed Mother to ask for Her intercession for my children’s protection. Mother Mary has more power than my watchful eye, after all. Life’s vulnerabilities help me to connect to my Lord and Savior.

During a Simpson’s episode, Hurricane Neddy, Maude Flanders states after nearly dying, “It was terrifying, I thought I was heading towards the eternal bliss of paradise.” I believe that in actuality the writers were making fun of the religious, but the jokes on them. We do hold out hope for the eternal bliss of paradise, that can only be accessed through death.

Let’s be clear, I am nervous about dying and death, but for a few reasons. The process of dying sounds scary and likely painful. I feel I have more to do on earth to love and care for those that depend on me and therefore, I don’t want to die – even though I’m confident God would provide. I mourn the loss of loved ones, who are no longer with me, which is normal, even if I hold out hope they are in eternal bliss. I also worry about my own judgement. All of these fears are made easier knowing that on the other side of that door awaits the loving embrace of My Lord and My God.

The veil of tears is not the end of our existence. Remembering my death helps me to remember that I have a Lord and Savior and that death doesn’t have the final word. What I do today matters. Life is not, as Macbeth put it, “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing,” but rather, it has a purpose. Remember your death so you don’t forget to strive to be saved. When the pandemic goes and fades away to a bad memory, don’t fool yourself – run to the loving embrace of our Savior and stay with Him. God Bless!

The 6th Commandment

“You shall not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Mt 5:27-28

The 6th commandment is not just some arbitrary rule that is imposed on you. Rather, it’s a prescription of how to live your best life. To practice the virtue of temperance is to live a chaste life. A life where you are not dominated by thoughts and actions of sex. You’ll be miserable if you hop from bar to bar, looking for a one-night stand. A meaningless life, dominated by sex will never be enough to fill the emptiness you will feel.

Imagine the scene, where the young man is enticed by the beautiful woman. She beckons for him and he resists because he loves another. Finally, the young man has a change of expression and one of determination and succumbs to his desires. Men and women have a choice, to master their passions or be enslaved to them. You can live a life of free choice or you can be moved by blind impulses.

Let’s say in the example above, the young man succumbs to his desires and is unfaithful, but his young bride never finds out. Is it ok then? There are two issues with this thought and first and foremost, is that nothing you do is unseen to the Lord. Nothing will go unpunished in a sinful life. The second is that you, yourself, know of your unfaithfulness. Even if you can’t express it, you know that you’ve failed. The demons in your head are in and they will continue to whisper to you, louder and louder; you are not free, but enslaved to the master of lies. Only through the sacrament of reconciliation and repentance can you find your burden eased.

In baptism, we are all called to live a chaste life. A life of chastity is a life of mastery over self and allows you to appreciate the integrity of another rather than reducing a person to their sexual function. The 6th commandment is not just about NOT committing adultery, but rather, its about loving one’s neighbor. The commandment is about the integrity of the person.

Not too often do you hear of the word chastity or chase other than as part of some joke (think chastity belt). Much like how today, we hear pride as a good thing to have, but when the good is bad (chase) and the bad is good (pride) do we know the devil is at work trying to trick us. “Chasity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being.” CCC2337. When you are free from the desire, you can know yourself better, live a better and holy life and have a better relationship with your God, who loves you.

In the 6th commandment, at first, you see quiet simply that you must be faithful to your spouse. As you dig more, you come to realize that the 6th commandment is about, once again, love. It’s about the respect and integrity you must acknowledge about your fellow man. As we are drawn more and more closely to God and His love, we can live both a moral and free life but also an unflappable life in knowing God’s love always wins out.

Thank you for reading this blog today! God bless!

The 9th Commandment

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.” Exodus 20:17. This is also restated in Deuteronomy 5:21.  As we discussed previously, the 9th and 10th commandment are linked with a call to NOT desire for both your neighbor’s goods and his wife.  The 9th commandment deals with the desire for another man’s wife and vice versa, a woman to desire another woman’s husband. 

Jesus reinforces this commandment in Matthew 27:28 “But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

So, what is wrong with thoughts, they are seemingly harmless.  Clearly, if you stop and think, there are harmful thoughts.  Thoughts of envy, thoughts of greed, thoughts of hatred all diminish your quality of life.  If you are consumed with thoughts of revenge on someone who wronged you, you will find yourself unhappy and miserable.  You could be led to actually hurting the person who wronged you but more than likely, you will hurt those around you with your unpleasant disposition.

Thoughts, driven by lessons, either learned first hand or assumed, can dictate your actions.  If you had a boss that once wronged you, if you let that lesson impact your next experience with your new boss, you will not likely have a good relationship, hurting your career.  For example, if your old boss stole your ideas and presented them to others as his own, if you carry those lessons forward, you may be less likely to share ideas with your new boss, hurting your career by being overly secretive, protective and defensive. 

Thoughts can hurt you, if they are inconsistent with God’s will.  By stealing your mind away from immoral thoughts of desire, you can more freely think clearly and appropriately.  If you let the desires of flesh consume you, you will never be happy because desires of the flesh and sexual pleasure is not enough to make one’s heart at ease; only the love of God can ease your heart. 

For all of time, pornography has been shunned and widely rejected by society.  Today, we are inundated with pornography on any media device and the evil one himself wants us to believe pornography is harmless.  Why are Christians and Jews so against pornography – because they’ve read and studied the 9th Commandment and know it harms oneself.  Pornography stands as an obstacle to purity of heart and lets in damaging thoughts.  Today, we are free to allow unhealthy thoughts, but we are far from free, rather, we become trapped.  Freedom of desire is to be sought so we can be truly free. 

“Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God.” Matthew 5:8.  The 6th Beatitude challenges us to clean our heart and mind.  By purifying your thoughts, you will hear God and know better His will. 

Purity of heart should be desired.  As you work towards adhering to the 9th Commandment, freeing your mind from thoughts of desire, you are better able to see your fellow man and woman as who they truly are, a child of God. 

Purity of the heart brings freedom.  You are no longer enslaved to your desires, but clearly see the dignity of the person.  It is erroneous to want to be free from God, where you are immodest in thought and behavior, only to find yourself trapped in sin and far from God and His love. 

God Bless!

The Ark is Mary

To Moses, by God’s very word: “You shall make an ark of acacia wood, two and a half cubits long, one and a half cubits wide, and one and a half cubits high.  Plate it inside and outside with pure gold, and put a molding of gold around the top of it.”   Exodus 25:10-11

The Lord has the Ark made of pure gold and spends a few chapters explaining how the Ark is to be made pure, flawless and blessed.  Later in Exodus, the dwelling that Moses erects to house the Ark is often covered, or overshadowed, by the cloud of the Lord.

In the Gospel according to Luke, Chapter 1:35, the angel Gabriel tells Mary that “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.”  Like God overshadowed His Ark, God will overshadow His new Ark, Mary.

The Ark contained the word of God, and Mary now contains the Word of God in Jesus, becoming the new Ark.

Remember that God was very specific in the creation of the Ark, having it made pure.  No less than 5 Chapters are dedicated to the making of the Ark.  Knowing the pains God takes to purify His Ark to house the Ten Commandments, it only stands to reason that His new Ark, Mary, would also be pure prior to Her housing the Word of God, Jesus.  This is a major reason Catholics believe in Mary’s purity and her Immaculate Conception, because the Ark is made pure and Mary is the new Ark.

The Ark continues to have significance as David takes great pains to secure it and it continues to bless him while in his possession.

David sets out to Judah to retrieve the Ark to bring it to Jerusalem but while transporting the Ark, it begins to tip and a man name Uzzah reaches out to steady the Ark.  Because Uzzah believes he can steady the Ark, rather than God protect it, God strikes Uzzah dead.  David now fears the Ark and leaves it in the hill country of Judah with a man named Obededom.

“The ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obededom the Gittite for three months, and the Lord blessed Obededom and his whole house.”  2 Sam 6:11

Mary, after she is with child, in haste rushes to her cousin Elizabeth who lives in the hill country of Judah and remains with her for three months.  The parallel with the Ark is gaining ground here, as the Ark was in the hill country of Judah and remained for three months, just like Mary travels to Judah for three months.

As David brings the Ark into Jerusalem, he dances before the Ark.  “Then David, girt with linen apron, came dancing before the Lord with abandon as he and all the Israelites were brining up the ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and to the sound of the horn.”  2 Sam 6:14-15

“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”  Luke 1:41-42 The child with Elizabeth is John the Baptist and John here, like David before, dances (or leaps) before the Ark with abandon.

Turning to John in the book of Revelations Chapter 11:19 to 12:1-2 we get to the final point of Mary as the Ark.  “Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.  There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm.  A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.  She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.” 

“She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.” Rev 12:5

Clearly, its Mary John speaks of, who is with child that is destined to rule all the nations.  John notes he sees the Ark and directly after noting the Ark, he sees Mary.  Mary is the new Ark – she is significant.

God Bless!

The Cock’s Crow!

“Peter said to him in reply, “Though all may have their faith in you shaken, mine will never be.”  Jesus said to him, “Amen, I say to you, this very night before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” Mat 26:33-34

Did every nation East of Jerusalem, as the sun rose while the world spun, awake to silence?  Did the world cease to hear the morning call of the cock?

I like to imagine that the good men and women in the East stopped in wonder.  Was something wrong?  Was something happening?

The answer is, something was happening, The Son was accepting His death, a death alone on a cross for all mankind.  Yes, something was happening, but no one but a few knew.

Did the cock not crow for all mankind during this time or was the cock’s crow at that moment just for Peter’s ears?  I believe the rooster called it shrill cry for Peter’s ears, to teach our first Pope of his great sin.

Our God is a patience and deliberate God.  Had the cock not crowed for all mankind for the 10 or so hours it took between our Lord’s prophesy and Peter’s denials, it would have been just curious and resolved the next morning as the cock resumed his predictable noise.

Something was going on, but that happening is not just a curious event at one moment in time but one that an everlasting, ancient one made sure still rings today.  That bird’s call is forever memorialized to this day.  An insignificant beast played his part, oblivious of his role in history.

Its not just spooky that Jesus knew the future, rather, we come to learn that even in Jesus’ greatest time of need, Peter couldn’t stand firm, and he ran.  Peter was far from Jesus, but the sound of the cock’s crow is the Father calling to Peter, come back.  It calls to the man, repent/ turn back.

Peter does repent:

“At that he began to curse and to swear, “I do not know the man.”  And immediately a cock crowed.  Then Peter remembered the words that Jesus had spoken: “Before the cock crows you will deny me three times.”  He went out and began to weep bitterly.”  Mat 26:74-75

Peter weeps bitterly, which is our great saint’s display to all of us, that despite our sins, our Lord calls us back for His mercy, we only need to weep bitterly.  Peter knows he’s failed, yet unlike Judas who commits suicide, Peter repents.  Later, the risen Lord demands Peter’s words of commitment.  Peter must answer Jesus three repeated questions, “do you love me?”  Peter must undo his three denials.

Christianity spread like wildfire after these events.  Our God is a patient God though, and His plan and will was to bring the good news to others at the time He felt was right.  The America’s, for example, would have to wait 1500 or so more years before the Good news was spread.  Many still wait today.

All of the world’s roosters probably sang their shrill cry to the unaware while we waited for Peter’s denials because it wasn’t just some weird event in history, but is an everlasting call, sustaining through the ages by a perfect and patient storyteller.  A storyteller pulling you in even today, 2000 plus years later.

Hear the cock crow and if your sins are great, then weep bitterly.

God Bless!

Thanksgiving

My daughter was tasked to write a grace for Thanksgiving dinner.  Apparently, we are going to dispatch with the traditional prayer – “Bless us o Lord for these thy gifts which we are about to receive from the bounty.”  Bounty, of course, references the bounty given to our first parents, Adam and Eve in the garden, where the Lord our God created all things in variety and abundance.

This grace my daughter is to write is basically a statement about for which she is thankful.  Later she asked me how to write it and I responded, “Dear Lord, I’m thankful for:” then fill-in the blank.

Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks.  It is a very secular holiday, although it was memorialized by Abraham Lincoln as: “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”  Clearly the nation in 1863 wanted to give thanks to our Father in Heaven.  While many thinks of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians having a harvest feast, the feast was to give thanks for the abundance of the harvest which the Father creates.  Thanksgiving doesn’t really have any notion of being religious today, and it certainly doesn’t have to be for anyone, but its perfectly acceptable to make this holiday about our Lord our God, as it was once intended.

“Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining,” John 6:11

As we contemplate and remark to what we are thankful for during this Blessed time, let’s not lose sight of to whom we are thankful.

BTW – my daughter is thankful to the Lord for a great family, food and water.  (Nailed it!)

God Bless!

Love your enemy

I’ve been a manager for some time now, over 10 years, and during that career I have regrettably had to fire 3 people during this time.  Most recently, I ran into one of them at a function and try as I might to have been nice to her, she clearly resents me.  I’m sure that it would make her day if I too had something bad happen to me.  I wonder how she would feel if I got promoted?

I share her feelings of someone in the workplace that I too dislike.  I briefly worked for a company that determined success by how many people liked you, not how you performed; constructive feedback, no matter how well framed and accurate, was not good if that person was well liked.  Add to it a very close nit group that would bad mouth those doing well and I failed.  I knew I wasn’t wanted, so I ran for it, and thanks be to God, I found a better job.  I hold resentment towards my manager and if honest, I want him to fail but I’ve been praying for him.

My prayer for my former boss is simple, I leave it up to God.  I can’t pray my boss is successful because I don’t think God determines success as one being promoted.  The prayer is one of smooth sailing and if it gets rocky, that those challenges help him grow to know God better.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?”  Mat 5:43-46

First, there is not a commandment in the Old Testament that you should hate your enemy, just that at the time, most believed that it was ok to hate your enemy.  Think about it, if someone came to you during Jesus’ time and said, ‘boy I sure hate those Romans who keep taking our money and making salves of us,’ your response would be, well, yeah, me too.

Jesus calls us to pray for our enemies.  That is really hard.  Of course, justice always gets served, after all, we all live on this broken world and none can avoid the final judgement, of which is determined by the Father alone.

If there is a murder on trial, it is ok to want that person to be convicted and serve his life in prison.  During that time, we should pray that the person repents and turn towards God.

God loves me.  I fired someone who hates me and probably considers me her enemy.  Thank God I’m loved.  I know I’m loved and I know I’ve done wrong.  I don’t deserve God’s love.  It would be wrong for me to think that God can overlook my faults and love me but not others.  To that end, I know God loves my former boss as well.  We have a God that doesn’t discriminate His love of us sinners and His mercy is endless and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thanks be to God.

Move Mountains

I’ve often thought about Matthew 7:20 – “Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.”

So why, in all of time, has no one moved a mountain through faith alone?  Because if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will only want to move a mountain if its God’s will.  Faith is doing God’s will and what He wants.  If God put a mountain somewhere, chances are, He doesn’t want you to move it.  If you want to move the mountain, and He doesn’t, then you are in conflict with God and don’t have the faith the size of a mustard seed.

Those with true faith, could move a mountain but don’t want to because God doesn’t want that mountain moved.  The minute you try to move a mountain with your great faith, then, you don’t have great faith.

It’s a brilliant catch 22.

There are countless miracles that have happened throughout history that have demonstrated that faith can do wonderous things.  I believe those blessings are like moving mountains.

God Bless!

Cleansing Tears

In the Gospel Luke, Chapter 7, Jesus enters the house of Simon, a Pharisee.  Simon calls Jesus teacher, so we understand that there is some recognition of Jesus’ abilities by the Pharisee.  Somehow though, a sinful woman, a common lady of the street has also entered this house.  We are unsure what her sins are, what her name is, and we do not know how she came to be in the house of Simon other than she learned Jesus was around and sought Him out.  It has been suggested that this woman is Mary Magdalene and perhaps also, one in the same, the woman who Jesus’ saves from being stoned.

All three, perhaps more, are in this house and the woman is weeping.  She is weeping so much that a sufficient amount of water is being produced.  From this water, she is washing the dirty feet of our Blessed Savior.  This scene, to me, is dramatic and strange and to add to it, she is now cleaning His feet further with her hair and kissing His feet.

“Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears.  Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment.” Luke 7:37-39

There is much to this story.  The Pharisee seeks a teacher while the woman seeks a savior.  The woman’s sins, which are great, are forgiven and thus loves Jesus more than another.  Finally, we come to understand and appreciate the love of Jesus, who can even love a great sinner, where most turn their heads away in disgust.

What strikes me is the scene.  If I saved a person’s life from a burning building, would they seek me out if I were in town, hysterically crying at my feet?  My reaction would likely be of humility, giving all glory to God for saving her (right place, right time).  I most certainly would not nonchalantly continue with my dinner party as if all were normal, while a woman wept.

The woman pours out her sins in tears onto the Blessed Saviors feet, unburdening her heart as Jesus forgives them all.  Jesus, as a man, is made clean by her tears, her soul is made clean by her actions through His great Mercy.  Jesus doesn’t demand her repentance by accusing her of her sins but she freely and dramatically repents and weeps.

I’ve wept.  I wept when my daughters were born.  I wept when I told my wife about the time an Angel saved me, even though I wasn’t deserving.  I wept during a difficult time in my life when I went to adoration and couldn’t control myself.  Each time I wept, I felt better but never have my tears been so great as this woman in the story.

Finally, Jesus doesn’t admonish her actions, weeping and cleaning and kissing Him.  He is not humble of the fact that He has forgiven her and ask her to stop.  He allows her to wash His feet with her tears and clean them with her hair.  He let’s her do these things to Him for her own sake.  It is for her that it is good.  It is perfectly alright and recorded for all history of her actions.

Jesus is better than us and He knows it.  The woman’s actions aren’t over the top, so He doesn’t fake modesty.  Jesus allows her to fuss over Him because He knows that He truly is the Savior and we should run to Him, weeping away our sins as He wipes them away with His great mercy.

God Bless!

Woman

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.

God Bless!