And He Was Subject Unto Them

In last week’s Gospel, we followed the story of how our Blessed Lady and St. Joseph spent three anxious days, searching for their twelve-year-old Son Jesus, who had deliberately left them and stayed in the temple of Jerusalem, conversing with the Elders of Sion.  This was the only story we have from the childhood of Jesus.  Other than this short episode, we know nothing of the events in our Lord’s life from the time the Holy Family returned from Egypt until his Baptism by St. John the Baptist when he starts recruiting his apostles.  From the age of 12 to the age of 30, all we know about our Lord’s life is defined by the following short words of Scripture, that after his parents found the Christ Child in the temple, “he returned to Nazareth and was subject unto them.”

So for all of eighteen years, he was subject to Mary and Joseph, and with this in mind, we move on now to today’s Gospel.  In it we read, that on the day after he chooses Peter and Andrew to be his apostles, our Lord goes to a wedding in Cana with his Mother, this same Blessed Mother to whom he has been subject and obedient for the past eighteen years.  It should come, therefore, as no surprise, that when the newly married couple run out of wine at their reception, and “the mother of Jesus saith unto him, “They have no wine,” our Lord performs his first miracle.

He changes water into wine, not because it is his own will to do so.  In fact, it was not his will, “Mine hour is not yet come,” he tells her.  And yet, so accustomed was he to doing what his Mother wanted, that he turns to the servants, and gives them the necessary instructions so that he might accomplish her wishes by changing the water into wine.  This was the first miracle we know about, and it’s an interesting one.  He’s not healing anyone, not making the blind see or the lame walk.  He’s creating an alcoholic drink out of water so that people can enjoy themselves at a wedding.  It is still, nonetheless, an act of mercy, preventing the shame of a married couple for not sufficiently preparing for their wedding.  And it is certainly a clear response to those puritanical folks who believe that alcohol is evil.

But let’s not get distracted by such thoughts.  Let’s just focus this year on the wondrous dynamics between Christ and his Mother.  For no matter how great and glorious our Blessed Lady certainly is, she is still nevertheless a Creature, while her Son is not.  He is the God who created his Mother, and thus infinitely more glorious than she.  Mary is a mortal human being, Christ is divine.  But here’s the kick—he was subject unto her.

The lesson for us is so very obvious, and yet so often neglected.  It is this: that if God himself is willing to humble himself by being subject to one of the Creatures he made out of nothing, then who are we to refuse to subject ourselves to those in authority over us?  Who do we think we are, that we would refuse to recognize that there are other human beings to whom we should be subject, to think that we are free to do whatever what we want in spite of any authority telling us not to, how dare we think that it is we the people who rule our governors, and not the other way around?

Let’s pause for a moment, as they used to say in the early days of radio and television, for station identification.  Let’s take a break from normal programming, the routine tasks and events of our daily lives, and consider whether or not God actually has placed anyone in charge over us.  If we’re honest with ourselves, we have to admit that we are not entirely in charge of our own lives, and never have been.  When we were children, we had parents who dictated to us what was acceptable and what wasn’t.  They gave us everything we needed, and punished us when we misbehaved.  We followed the rules of the house when we were at home, and the rules of the school when we went out in the world to learn how to become grown-ups.  Finally we’re eighteen and feeling independent.  Off we go to run our own lives, or so we think.  We soon find out that in order to survive, we need money.  And to have money means we needed a job, and someone to give us that job.  We find ourselves once again under the authority of our employers who now take over from parents and teachers.  Take a step back, and you’ll soon realize that we have so very many, many responsibilities, with an army of people in authority to make sure we live up to these duties.  Break the speed limit or run a red light and you’ll pay a fine.  Drive drunk and you’ll lose your license.  Kill someone on the road by driving recklessly or impaired, and you’ll go to jail.  And that’s all while just driving your motor car.

We are subjects to authority.  Whether it takes the form of a parent, a teacher, an employer, a policeman, a tax collector, or the folks at City Hall, they have the God-given right to subject us to the power they wield.  It is God’s will that it be so.  We should give thanks to Almighty God when these people who govern the various aspects of our life are worthy of the authority God grants them.  So often they don’t, unfortunately, but that is between them and God.  The authority they wield is still applicable, and we must still subject ourselves to that authority, no matter how disagreeable it might be.  Only when they command us to commit sin are we obliged to disobey, but then indeed, disobey we must.

This is why we refuse to acknowledge the authority of the current pope of Rome and those bishops and priests he has delegated to the dioceses and parishes of the Catholic world.  Our daily lives are run by worldly governors in every way imaginable.  And yet the most important aspect of our lives is currently leaderless.  We do not obey Mr. Bergoglio when he orders Catholics to stop offering the traditional apostolic Mass, when he tells us priests we must give Communion to people like Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi who promote the sin of child murder.  When a leader, any leader, uses his authority to command what is immoral, he loses that authority automatically and must be disobeyed.  The Church today is in the catastrophic position of having no leader, no one with the authority to enforce the laws of the Church—we are, in short, without any kind of discipline whatsoever when it comes to our religious life.

This is most certainly against the will of God.  It might not be our fault that we are not subject to our local bishop or even the bishop of Rome.  But it is a situation that is entirely unacceptable.  As we’re not able to do anything about it, that doesn’t mean that we have to accept it.  We tolerate the situation as it’s beyond our control to change it, but we must always be conscious of the fact that it is unacceptable and pray for God to intervene.  Pray for the Church!

One last thought on this Sunday of the Wedding Feast at Cana: if, perchance, it is not God’s will to intervene, if his time has not yet come when he will put an end to the catastrophe that has struck his Holy Bride, the Catholic Church, then let us turn to our Blessed Lady and remind ourselves that “never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided.”  And why not?  Because if we seek her intercession, she will most certainly herself turn to her Son, and simply point out our plight.  He will never refuse her.

We need the protection, the guidance and the direction of the right people in authority over us.  The world isn’t doing too well, but the Church is worse.  You could say that no matter where we look, we “have no wine.”  But let’s not lose hope.  The story has a good end, when wine appears where water once existed.  The Church of the future, after God’s intervention, will unquestionably be vastly superior, far more godly and united, than the contaminated water we have today, better even than the good wine we had before Vatican II.  We look forward with hope and confidence to that future when we may once more be subject to our legitimate popes and bishops.  In the meantime, we will continue to follow our Lord’s example and turn to Holy Mary.  We will flee to her protection, implore her help and seek her intercession.  She is our Blessed Mother, the Queen of Heaven.  And we will be subject unto her.

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