Mary Answered God's Call....Will You?

Posted: 12/10/2012

Pat McEntee, Glenmary Associate Vocation DirectorBy Pat McEntee,
Associate Vocation Director

"Do whatever he tells you."—Jn 2:5

Mary, the mother of God, made this statement to the workers at the wedding feast of Cana before Jesus performed his first public miracle. Years earlier, she was already practicing her own advice: although it seemed unthinkable, she accepted the angel Gabriel's word when he came to announce that she would conceive a child (despite her virginity).

Can any of you imagine being in a similar situation? It's easy to say she did the right thing. It's much harder to say you could have or would have done the same in this circumstance.

Mary is a clear example of someone who was so close to God that she was not only willing, but also had an intense desire, to "do whatever he tells you." Given the difficulties she knew would come with saying yes to God, it would have been easier to say no. Fortunately for all of human history, she did not.

How could she say yes? Clearly, she must have had a sense that God's plan was indeed right. So when Gabriel told Mary of the plan, despite being troubled, she replied, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." (Lk 1:38)

Fast forward to the time when Jesus performed his first public miracle at the wedding feast of Cana, and you can see Mary playing a different role. As we know the story, Jesus seems reluctant and maybe even annoyed that Mary has come to him to help fix the problem of the wine shortage at the wedding. When she first tells him about it, he seems dismissive. He says it is not his concern and that it is not yet his time. But Mary simply says to the waiters, "Do whatever he tells you."

This part of the passage has always puzzled me, because it leaves things so vague. You don't get the nonverbal cues that certainly had to be present in the situation. I envision Mary possibly rolling her eyes at Jesus as she walks away and then utters her famous line to the wait staff. Although Jesus felt it was not his time, it seems Mary knew otherwise. In this sense, Mary helped Jesus to emerge and fulfill his vocation.

So not only did Mary find her own vocation and respond with a yes, but later, as Jesus' mother, she helped Jesus accept and follow his calling. It reminds us that we may sometimes need help from others to find our vocation. How many times have you had someone in your life who could see some positive quality or ability in you that you couldn't see in yourself? I can think of dozens of times when other people have helped me in this way. Be open to the advice and support of others, especially when you may have some doubts of your own.

As we celebrate the joyful anticipation of Advent, please do take some time to search deep in your heart to determine "whatever he tells you." It may just be that he is telling you to serve in the home missions of the United States.