The Authority of the Handmaid

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” [And] Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” John 2: 1-5

We all know the rest of the story. Jesus, who at first seems a little annoyed at his mother’s words, allowed her suggestion to affect his actions. God submitted himself to the request of a woman.


If His time had not yet come, why didn’t he just smile his wise smile and ignore her? To answer that question, let’s consider another scripture passage.

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. Luke 1:26-38

We all know what happens here as well. Gabriel presents God’s will to Mary, telling her God wants her to become the mother of the Messiah, and what does she say?

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

Mary’s yes made God’s plan possible – mankind is redeemed from the original sin of Eve and her husband, Adam.

The first woman had believed the lie of Satan over the word of God. She basically told God “no,” and her husband Adam went right along with her. Welcome to our disordered, broken world.

But in this new world, God creates another woman, Mary (the New Eve) who shows total receptive trust and gives herself to God, responding openly to His request to fill her with Divine life.

And later on in the story, in another garden, her Son Jesus (the New Adam) goes right along with her.

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” Luke 22:42.

Now back to the Wedding at Cana, where Jesus, interestingly, addresses His mother as “Woman.” Until I studied John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and got all kinds of insight into scripture passages like this one, I always thought this was strange. I would soon discover Jesus is fond of referring “back to beginning,” the times of Genesis. He wants us to remember what happened in that garden with that first “woman,” comparing it to what happens in the Gospels with our Blessed Mother Mary.

She is the first of Jesus’ disciples to believe in the Good News, to cooperate with God’s plan of redemption. Consequently she is exalted to such a level that even her Son, Jesus, submits to her requests. (We must note that her will is in complete agreement with God’s will, when she tells the servants to “Do whatever He tells you.”)

This is Mary’s great role. The teacher of the apostles, present with them in the upper room, guides the Church toward Pentecost, prefiguring all Christian women, who spiritually are the mothers and “teachers” of humanity.

Women, through the Holy Spirit — the “Lord and Giver of Life” — bring “Christ” into the world. Then they show these children how to be receptive to the gift of God, trusting Him in all things.

God subjected himself to the will of a woman, and believe it or not, the Catholic Church does too.

Wait, you mean that patriarchal, misogynist organization that won’t ordain women or give them any power?

More to come…




About Kelly Luttinen

Kelly Luttinen works as a public relations advisor for the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi. She is a wife and mother of four teens and lives in the metro-Detroit area.
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