The Role of Mary in the Gospel of John


Dear brothers, praised be Jesus Christ! Praised be Jesus Christ because he loves us. Through these few lines, I want to reflect on the place of the Virgin Mary in the Gospel of St John. 

Tradition presents St John as an Eagle. The Eagle is a bird of the raptor family capable of flying as high as possible and from this height, tearing the air to grab its prey, however tiny it may be or hidden. Those who have once hunted know how out of nowhere, from the tearing of the air, the Eagle attacks a partridge that escapes the hunter’s vigilance. This is how St John is painted by tradition. His ability to penetrate the invisible, the mystery of God and deliver it to those who have heart for their eyes. Thus, St John begins his Gospel almost with Mary who intercedes and ends it with Mary who offers, who offers her son to God for the salvation of the world. How does Mary appear at the wedding feast in Cana?

The Place of Mary in the Wedding Feast of Cana

Mary at the center of the Wedding Feast of Cana

“There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the Mother of Jesus was there. Jesus was also invited to this wedding ”(Jn2.3). St John does not present Mary as a guest at these Wedding Feasts. She is there as part of the family who celebrated the nuptials. However, thanks to Mary her son was also invited and with him his disciples. We know that in our African traditions, we do not invite a family member, we inform him. After the family we think of important people and friends or relatives who receive a special invitation. This was the case with Jesus. Jesus can we say, according to the presentation of St John, takes his invitation from his Mother. At some meetings the children do not participate or if necessary, there they receive a special invitation, I say special because it can take the place of a summons. And surely it is because Jesus is the son of the Virgin Mary that he is invited.

For St John, we can say that Mary is at the heart of these nuptials and that what is happening could be done without the son. However, to underline the humility of the Virgin Mary, he reveals the son who works the miracle.

The humility of the Virgin Mary

Mary in the Gospel of St Luke presents herself as the humble servant of the Lord through her magnificate (Lk 1, 48). It is this humility that St. John paints on the one hand through the wedding feast at Cana. It is Mary who is attentive to the lack of vain: “They have no wine” (Jn 2,4). A non-Christian reading might present Jesus as inattentive to the needs of the people From this reading, it is indisputable that Mary is attentive to our needs. It covers our shortcomings, so that we do not appear naked before the accusing and guilty gaze of the world.

She defies the harsh word humanly speaking of her son to, like wake him up and show him that he has power over everything. It actualizes and makes present non-being. “What do you want with me, woman?” My hour has not yet arrived “(Jn 2,5), words which do not stop the daring of the Virgin Mary. She disrupts her son’s schedule. And this why? Just to cover the shame of the married and through them participate in the happiness of sinners that we are. Are we aware of this? Can we put ourselves in the place of the Virgin Mary and measure the resonance of these words from the son to his mother? “What do you want with me, woman?” “What a human shame! But love laughs at humiliation when it comes to doing good. I am not claiming that Jesus humiliated his Mother at all; but I bring the fact back to anthropology, that is, the human understanding of the child-parent relationship.

Let us try to question each word or word of the Virgin Mary, to dare to understand the framework. Let’s take the first word that says, “They have no wine. “(Jn 2,4) This is information that Mary brings to her son. But how does this concern either Mary or Jesus?

The Virgin Mary

Two hypotheses can draw our attention:

The first, as we pointed out above, is that Mary appears as a member of the family of those who celebrate weddings, and for that she does not need an invitation. She is concerned with the wedding preparations. And for that she doesn’t need an invitation. This too is noticeable during her visitation to her cousin Elisabeth: informed by the Angel Gabriel of her cousin’s situation, she did not ask to fly to her aid where she spent three months (Lk 1, 39 … ). But it would be too simplistic to stop at this simple fact because she is not only a member of this family. So what is it that most characterizes his gesture? which invites us to dissect the second hypothesis.

She has the power to give this wine. Because she is the mother of the impossible possible. It is she who gives us the invisible visible God. However, her humility, her abasement, leaves room for the one who makes her the mother of the impossible possible, to make the impossible possible. It has to grow and I have to shrink. As John the Baptist will say (Jn 3.30)


“They have no wine.” How does this relate to Jesus Christ? But he is presented as a simple guest! Or is it in Jewish culture that the guest participates with a bottle of wine as is done in other skies? Did Jesus keep the family money (family steward) and could he take the money out to buy wine?

However, all of these questions are irrelevant to what happens next.

Bro. David  MIGNOUNA (SM)