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Dear catholic.com visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find catholic.com helpful? Please make a gift today. Thank you. Wishing you a blessed Lenten season.

Didn’t Jesus tell his Mother that she was out of line in trying to influence him at Cana?

Question:

I’ve never understood why Catholics cite the story about the wedding at Cana (John 2:1–11) in reference to Mary’s intercession with Jesus. Yes, Jesus did what Mary asked—but only after making it clear that it was not her place to ask him: "Woman, what is this concern of yours to me?" Isn’t it obvious that he never intended Mary to have any say in his ministry?

Answer:

Not according to Jesus himself. He explains his objection this way: “For my hour is not yet come.” He doesn’t say, “For you may not have any say in my ministry” or “For it is not your place to ask anything of me.” He is not objecting to the request, only questioning the timing. When his “hour” arrives, she will ask, and he will hear her. What is Jesus’ “hour”? Throughout John’s Gospel this term refers above all to the “hour” of Jesus’ passion and death (Jn 7:30, 8:20, 12:23, 27, 13:1, 17:1). Jesus in effect is saying, “Why are you interceding with me? It is not yet the hour of my saving death.” In other words, Mary’s intercession, like yours and mine, draws all its power from the sacrifice of Christ. Jesus’ “hour” does not make Mary’s intercession improper or unnecessary; on the contrary, it is the very basis for Mary’s intercession.

Note that, even before his “hour,” Jesus granted Mary’s request by turning the water into wine, just as he granted the request of the Canaanite woman who persevered in prayer when Jesus appeared to refuse her request in order to test her faith (Mt 15:21–28).

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