Does Jesus Rebuke His Mother at the Wedding of Cana?

Wedding of Cana (detail), stained glass window, St. Raphael Catholic Church (Springfield, Ohio)
Wedding of Cana (detail), stained glass window, St. Raphael Catholic Church (Springfield, Ohio)

In John’s Gospel, it’s Mary who sparks Christ’s miraculous ministry, and Christ responds to her in a strange way. She does this by beseeching Him to change water into wine, leading to His first public miracle. Well, “beseeching” isn’t quite right. The actual conversation – which takes place in the presence of witnesses – is much more discrete and indirect, and easily capable of being misunderstood (even by modern Christian readers). Here’s how John describes it (John 2:1-5):

On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”
 And Jesus said to her, “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”
 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

What do we make of Jesus’ response to Mary’s implicit request?

I. The Wrong View: Jesus Scolding His Mother

One popular Protestant interpretation is that Jesus is “rebuking” His Mother. In the Baker exegetical commentary on John, Andreas J. Köstenberger contends that::

The underlying thrust of the phrase translated ‘Why do you involve me?’ in the TNIV is ‘What do you and I have in common (as far as the matter at hand is concerned)?’ The implied answer: ‘Nothing.’ The expression occurs elsewhere in the Gospels exclusively on the lips of demons who strongly oppose Jesus (see Matt. 8:29 pars; Mark 1:24 par.). As OT parallels make clear, the phrase always distances two parties and frequently carries a reproachful connotation. This suggests that Jesus here is issuing a fairly sharp rebuke to Mary (cf. Matt. 12:46-50), similar to his rebuke of Peter when he failed to understand the nature of Jesus’ calling (cf. Matt. 16:23).

So, according to this view, Jesus treats Mary the way that demons treated Him. James Rochford of Evidence Unseen suggests that this was because Jesus “was making a break from his family duties (and beginning to focus full-time on his public ministry), Jesus probably felt the need to sharply rebuke Mary to let her know that he was calling the shots in his public ministry—not her.”

Ironically, while this interpretation intends to minimize the importance of Mary, it has the opposite effect: it presents Mary as greater than Jesus. After all, this “scolding” interpretation would make sense if the passage stopped there, or if Mary went away, rebuked and chastened. But that’s not what happens at all. Instead, Mary responds by saying to the servants “Do whatever He tells you,” and then Jesus performs the requested miracle through these servants.

So in this Protestant interpretation, Mary made an imprudent request of Jesus, for which He rightly rebukes her: He’s not going to do a miracle just because His Mother asks Him to! But then she goes around Him by speaking to the servants, and He crumples. He ends up doing the very thing He rebuked her for asking for — an imprudent miracle — because His Mother forces Him into it by going directly to the help. This view doesn’t just make Mary a bit wicked, it makes her more powerful than Christ. Christ opposes His Mother… and loses.

Furthermore, if Mary is asking for something bad, why did Jesus do it? And if she’s not asking for something bad, why is Jesus “rebuking” her? So this “rebuke” interpretation is a non-starter.

Cimabue, The Capture of Christ (13th c.)
Cimabue, The Capture of Christ (13th c.)

II. The Right View: Jesus is Warning His Mother About the Cross

There is another interpretation, however: that Jesus is cautioning her. Mary has come to Christ with an implicit request for a miracle. Jesus responds by addressing her as “Woman.” A lot could be said of that title, and its implications for Mary as the New Eve (it’s the name that Adam first gives to Eve in the Garden of Eden, Genesis 2:23). For now, though, it’s sufficient to recognize that it’s not rude to call Mary “Woman”: Jesus does this again on the Cross (John 19:26-27) and Paul does it in Galatians 4:4, and in both places, it’s unambiguously positive.

But then He warns her that His “hour has not yet come” (John 2:4). That’s not a reference to the start of His earthly ministry. It’s a reference to His Passion, as we see at several points both in John’s Gospel and in the Synoptics. Look at four points during Jesus’ ministry. First, during His ministry, prior to Holy Week:

  • “So they sought to arrest Him; but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come” (John 7:30).
  • “These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come” (John 8:20).

Immediately prior to the Last Supper:

  • “And Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit’” (John 12:23-4).
  • “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, for this purpose I have come to this hour” (John 12:27).
  • “Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (John 13:1).

At the Last Supper:

  • “And when the hour came, he sat at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, ‘I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer for I tell you I shall not eat it until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God” (Luke 22:14-16).
  • “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is in travail she has sorrow, because her hour has come; but when she is delivered of the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a child is born into the world. So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:20-22).
  • The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, every man to his home, and will leave me alone; yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me”(John 16:32).
  • “When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee, since thou hast given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom thou hast given him” (John 17:1-2).

Finally, in the Garden of Gethsemane:

  • “And going a little father, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him” (Mark 14:35).
  • “And he came the third time, and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come; the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand” (Mark 14:41-42; cf. Matthew 26:45-46).
  • “Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, ‘Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the hour of darkness” (Luke 22:52-53).

So Christ’s “hour” is the time at which He is betrayed, arrested, and killed: the moment of His greatest agony and greatest glory. That’s what He is referring to each and every time that He mentions “His hour,” and it’s what He’s warning her about.

So there is a sense in which Christ is “pushing back,” so to speak, but not because Mary has done something wrong. Rather, it’s because He wants to ensure that she knows just what she’s asking. If she gets Him involved in this miracle – a public one – He can’t stay “hidden” anymore. The hidden years will be over, and she’s going to lose Him to the masses, in a certain sense. He’ll no longer be part of the home of Nazareth: “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). And embarking on this public ministry will decisively set Him on a trajectory towards the Cross.

Read in this light, in the light of the rest of the Scriptural evidence on point, Mary’s response makes sense. It’s a faithful acceptance of the fact that the Second Person of the Trinity didn’t take on humanity simply to stay at home. After all, Mary’s response is to call the servants to obey Christ (John 2:5). That would be particularly ironical if, as the first interpretation suggests, she said this while ignoring her Son’s rebuke.

One final point. Mary’s continuous faithfulness in the Gospel is critical for salvation history. Time and again, she willingly accepts the plan of God: she brings Christ into the world in the Incarnation, helps to lead Him into His public ministry at the Wedding of Cana; and follows Him to the Cross. That doesn’t make her more powerful than God (as the first interpretation would suggest), but His most willing instrument.

51 Comments

  1. According to several Church Fathers, yes:

    “He was justly indignant, that persons so very near to Him stood without, while strangers were within hanging on His words, especially as they wanted to call Him away from the solemn work He had in hand. He did not so much deny as disavow them. And therefore, when to the previous question, Who is my mother, and who are my brethren? He added the answer None but they who hear my words and do them, He transferred the names of blood-relationship to others, whom He judged to be more closely related to Him by reason of their faith” (Tertullian, Against Marcion, Book 4, Ch. 19).

    “And therefore He answered thus in this place, and again elsewhere, Who is My mother, and who are My brethren? Matthew 12:48, because they did not yet think rightly of Him; and she, because she had borne Him, claimed, according to the custom of other mothers, to direct Him in all things, when she ought to have reverenced and worshipped Him…And so this was a reason why He rebuked her on that occasion, saying, Woman, what have I to do with you? instructing her for the future not to do the like; because, though He was careful to honor His mother, yet He cared much more for the salvation of her soul, and for the doing good to the many, for which He took upon Him the flesh.” (John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of John, homily 21).

    They have nowine. For she desired both to do them a favor, and through her Son to render herself more conspicuous; perhaps too she had some human feelings, like His brethren, when they said, Show yourself to the world John 17:4, desiring to gain credit from His miracles. Therefore He answered somewhat vehemently” (John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of John, homily 21).

    For, doubtless, some such train of thought as this passed through her mind: ‘I conceived Him That is mocked upon the Cross. He said, indeed, that He was the true Son of Almighty God, but it may be that He was deceived; He may have erred when He said: I am the Life. How did His crucifixion come to pass? and how was He entangled in the snares of His murderers? How was it that He did not prevail over the conspiracy of His persecutors against Him? And why does He not come down from the Cross, though He bade Lazarus return to life, and struck all Judaea with amazement by His miracles?” The woman, as is likely, not exactly understanding the mystery, wandered astray into some such train of thought (Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on John, Book 12).

    …St Hilary in his Annotations on the 20th verse of the cxixth [119th] Psalm, “My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments,” applies it unto the future judgment and among other observations has this passage, “Seeing we must render an account for every idle word do we desire the day of judgment in which that unwearied fire is to be passed through in which those grievous punishments are to be undergone for the expiating of a soul from sin [1 Cor 3:12], a sword shall pass through the soul of the blessed Virgin Mary that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed [Luke 2:35]. If that Virgin who bore God is to come into the severity of the judgment will any one dare desire to be judged by God?”(Excerpt of Hilary of Poitiers Homily on Psalm 119).

    1. Interesting! It seems some of the Church Fathers had gotten this wrong too. It is human, after all, as this is in the region of interpretation rather than infallible oral tradition.

      Excellent article, thank you!

    2. W. Hall Harris (an Evangelical professors at Dallas Theological Seminary), in his commentary on the passage explains the two meanings of the phrase “What to me and to you?”:

      “This phrase is a semiticism. The Hebrew expression in the Old Testament had two basic meanings:

      (1) When one person was unjustly bothering another, the injured party could say “What to me and to you?” meaning, “What have I done to you that you should do this to me?” Examples: Judges 11:12, 2 Chr 35:21, 1 Kings 17:18.

      (2) When someone was asked to get involved in a matter he felt was no business of his, he could say to the one asking him, “What to me and to you?” meaning, “That is your business, how am I involved?” Examples: 2 Kings 3:13, Hosea 14:8.

      Meaning (1) implies hostility, meaning (2) merely disengagement. Meaning (2) is almost certainly to be understood here as better fitting the context (although some of the Greek Fathers took the remark as a rebuke to Mary; I feel such a rebuke is unlikely).”

      In other words, this is a Semitic phrase that bears of two meanings, and occasioned some confusion for some of the Greek Church Fathers (namely, the ones you’ve quoted).

      It’s worth noting that there’s a difference between the Fathers’ passing on Apostolic Tradition, and the Fathers doing their own Biblical exegesis (which sometimes contradicts other Patristic interpretations). In both cases, they should be treated with respect, but their own exegesis carries less authority than the things that they received through the Apostles. That’s particularly the case when, as here, they’re deciphering a figure of speech from a language they don’t speak.

      Also, citing the Fathers doesn’t get you around the core problem: if you understand John 2 as a battle of wills between Jesus and Mary, it appears to be a battle that Jesus loses.

      The second interpretation does a better job of accounting for (a) the dual meanings of the “What to me and to you?” semitism; (b) the prophetic sense of the arrival of Christ’s “hour”; (c) Mary’s obedient response; and (d) the outcome: that Mary’s implicit request was granted.

      1. “It’s worth noting that there’s a difference between the Fathers’ passing on Apostolic Tradition, and the Fathers doing their own Biblical exegesis (which sometimes contradicts other Patristic interpretations).”

        True, but if it was universally believed that Mary was sinless, let alone the immaculate conception (which would in effect prevent the transmission of original sin into her I suppose), then such interpretations being so widespread would be impossible. Silence for centuries about such doctrines, but with a plethora of comments such as these, is suggestive of what I have said elsewhere: Modern Catholicism is not ancient Catholicism. While this argument is not bulletproof, it is certainly a respectable synopsis of what the ancient evidence appears to say.

        “Also, citing the Fathers doesn’t get you around the core problem: if you understand John 2 as a battle of wills between Jesus and Mary, it appears to be a battle that Jesus loses.”

        Apparently you happened upon something that many great saints never happened upon. I suppose the Holy Spirit tarried in leading us into all truth until now. OR, Jesus Christ was perfectly obedient to the Law, so He honored His mother as He would have been obligated to do by His own Law which He decreed to Moses. I don’t see any battle of wills, but rather a consistency.

        And, I’m not the first guy to come up with this idea either. Chrysostom wrote: “And so this was a reason why He rebuked her on that occasion, saying, Woman, what have I to do with you? instructing her for the future not to do the like; because, though He was careful to honor His mother, yet He cared much more for the salvation of her soul, and for the doing good to the many, for which He took upon Him the flesh.”

        So by rebuking her on one hand, and honoring her on the other, He fulfilled all righteousness given the situation.

        1. True, but if it was universally believed that Mary was sinless, let alone the immaculate conception (which would in effect prevent the transmission of original sin into her I suppose), then such interpretations being so widespread would be impossible.

          Agreed, I suppose. The Catholic position isn’t that every Church Father held to the Immaculate Conception, or even Mary’s sinlessness.

          Broadly speaking, there were three groups in the early and Medieval Church: those holding that Mary was freed from sin from the moment of her conception; those who believed that she was freed from sin at the moment of her ensoulment (which was understood as occurring later, based on the inadequacy of the science of the day); or that she was guilty of personal sin (typically, the idea was that she had sinned one – perhaps at the Cross – and that this was the sword that pierced her heart). There were not, to my knowledge, Fathers who claimed that she was “totally depraved” or anything near it.

          It’s precisely because there was a diversity of belief on this question that the Magisterium of the Church was needed. If the Church could only settle issues in instances in which everyone agreed, the Magisterium would be of no use.

          But you’re making a huge jump when you go from “not every Church Father affirmed Mary’s sinlessness” to “none of them did.” And it’s the latter point that you need to prove if you’re going to claim that Catholicism isn’t ancient Christianity.

          The notion that Mary was conceived without sin is closely tied to her being the New Eve, an idea found explicitly within the Fathers from the second century forward. It’s also alluded to in Luke 1, and alluded to here in this very passage in John 2. I go through some of the Patristic evidence for that here and here.

          So to summarize: Mary’s sinlessness was one of the views held in the early Church (arguably the majority view). Mary as totally depraved is a view not found in the early Church.

          I.X.,

          Joe

          1. My first reply is below, where I put a dent in the claim that “several” Church Fathers believed that Jesus rebuked His Mother. For some reason, it didn’t post right under the comment I was addressing. Hopefully, this one will. Here is St. Thomas understanding of the matter and as a bonus, St. Thomas’s understanding of St. Chrysostom’s teaching on the same verse:

            Catena Aurea of St. Thomas Aquinas:
            344 At this physical marriage some role in the miracle belongs to the mother of Christ, some to Christ, and some to the disciples. When he says, When the wine ran out, he indicates the part of each. The role of Christ’s mother was to superintend the miracle; the role of Christ to perform it; and the disciples were to bear witness to it. As to the first, Christ’s mother assumed the role of a mediatrix. Hence she does two things. First, she intercedes with her Son. In the second place, she instructs the servants. As to the first, two things are mentioned. First, his mother’s intercession; secondly, the answer of her Son.

            Note St. Chrysostom’s explanation as explained by St. Thomas, here:

            353 Chrysostom explains this differently. He says that the Blessed Virgin, burning with zeal for the honor of her Son, wanted Christ to perform miracles at once, before it was opportune; but that Christ, being much wiser than his mother, restrained her. For he was unwilling to perform the miracle before the need for it was known; otherwise, it would have been less appreciated and less credible. And so he says, Woman, what does that have to do with me and you? As if to say: Why bother me? My time has not yet come, i.e., I am not yet known to those present. Nor do they know that the wine ran out; and they must first know this, because when they know their need they will have a greater appreciation of the benefit they will receive.

            Note also, how St. Thomas does not understand St. Chrysostom be relating any sort of rebuke of the Virgin by her Son. That seems to be a matter of the interpretation of Chrysostom’s writing. Either that, or St. Chrysostom contradicted himself. In either case, it does not affect the Catholic Teaching.

            As for me, I believe St. Thomas understands the teaching of St. Chrysostom better than someone who neither understand Sacred Tradition, nor Scripture, nor has shown any understanding of the culture from which the Church Fathers were drawing their lessons.

        2. Apparently you happened upon something that many great saints never happened upon. I suppose the Holy Spirit tarried in leading us into all truth until now. OR, Jesus Christ was perfectly obedient to the Law, so He honored His mother as He would have been obligated to do by His own Law which He decreed to Moses. I don’t see any battle of wills, but rather a consistency.

          As for this part, you seem to be suggesting that I’m the first person to suggest this view. I can’t take credit for it.

          However, if you really want to live by this standard, I would be happy to hold the doctrines of both Roman Catholicism and Reformed/Calvinist Protestantism to the test of Patristic testimonies. I think you’ll find that of the two of us, only one of us believes doctrines entirely absent from the Fathers.

          I.X.,

          Joe

          1. “However, if you really want to live by this standard, I would be happy to hold the doctrines of both Roman Catholicism and Reformed/Calvinist Protestantism to the test of Patristic testimonies. I think you’ll find that of the two of us, only one of us believes doctrines entirely absent from the Fathers.”

            True, the assumption of Mary, the immaculate conception, works+faith, and a few more have no mention for the first 500 years of the Church 🙂

            In all seriousness, it is not a perfect standard, but the universal Patristic witness is probably the best standard we have to judge that we are not contriving new doctrines or novel interpretations. When I read Scripture, I am very careful to take this into account.

            “So to summarize: Mary’s sinlessness was one of the views held in the early Church (arguably the majority view).”

            Actually, in my own reading, I have found only Augustine affirming her sinlessness and the witnesses I quoted here obviously suggesting against it. I would venture to guess that Ambrose, being Augustine’s teacher, probably held to a similar view…I just never came across it anywhere else than Augustine, so it is probably not the majority view, but the minority.

            God bless,
            Craig

          2. But, of course, that is a major problem, isn’t it; but, it is also a frequent precursor to conversion.. A protestant diligently strives to disprove the truths of the Catholic Faith (well, they ARE protestants, after all) and that is to be expected but there are answers to their claims alover the place.

            And you are an excellent source whose arguments and responses often fall upon deaf ears but that is not your problem.

            Here is another easily accessible source (just one of many available)

            http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2008/07/church-fathers-on-sinlessness-of-mary.html

          3. Craig Truglia says:
            May 5, 2015 at 12:47 am

            True, the assumption of Mary, the immaculate conception, works+faith, and a few more have no mention for the first 500 years of the Church 🙂

            That would be false. Sola Scriptura and faith alone have no mention for the first 1500 years of the Church.

            Immaculate Conception

            Origen

            This Virgin Mother of the Only-begotten of God is called Mary, worthy of God, immaculate of the immaculate, one of the one (Homily 1 [A.D. 244]).

            And if Origen had this view in 244, then it was being taught much earlier.

            Faith and works :

            Clement of Rome

            Let us therefore join with those to whom grace is given by God. Let us clothe ourselves in concord, being humble and self- controlled, keeping ourselves far from all backbiting and slander, being justified by works and not by words. . . . Why was our Father Abraham blessed? Was it not because of his deeds of justice and truth, wrought in faith? . . . So we, having been called through his will in Christ Jesus, were not justified through ourselves or through our own wisdom or understanding or piety or works which we wrought in holiness of heart, but through faith, whereby the almighty God justified all men. (Letter to the Corinthians 30:3, 31:2, 32:3-4 [A.D. 95]).

            Origen (185-254), “Whoever dies in his sins, even if he profess to believe in Christ, does not truly believe in him; and even if that which exists without works be called faith, such faith is dead in itself, as we read in the epistle bearing the name of James (Commentaries on John 19:6).

            Mary’s Assumption:

            That we know of, Mary’s Assumption is not mentioned outside of Scripture, for the first 300 years. And the first time it is mentioned, outside of Scripture, it is found in an apocryphal work. But apocryphal does not mean heretical. It just means that we don’t know the author.

            Thanks be to God that it is explicitly mentioned in Rev 12:1. St. John there sees the Mother of the Messiah in heaven. The Mother of the Messiah is Mary. Because Jesus is the Messiah and Mary is His mother.

            In all seriousness, it is not a perfect standard, but the universal Patristic witness is probably the best standard we have to judge that we are not contriving new doctrines or novel interpretations. When I read Scripture, I am very careful to take this into account.

            I have spoken to you before and it seems unlikely that you do this at all. If you did, you would not hold to faith alone or Scripture alone.

            Actually, in my own reading, I have found only Augustine affirming her sinlessness and the witnesses I quoted here obviously suggesting against it. I would venture to guess that Ambrose, being Augustine’s teacher, probably held to a similar view…I just never came across it anywhere else than Augustine, so it is probably not the majority view, but the minority.

            You’re getting warm, but your Protestant presuppositions continue to hold sway. You mention St. Augustine a great deal, but you don’t understand him nor do you understand the Catholic Culture, yesterday or today.

            St. Augustine:
            “But in regard to those observances which we carefully attend and which the whole world keeps, and which derive not from Scripture but from Tradition, we are given to understand that they are recommended and ordained to be kept, either by the Apostles themselves or by plenary [ecumenical] councils, the authority of which is quite vital in the Church” (Letter to Januarius [A.D. 400]).

            St. Augustine held to the Teaching of the Immaculate Conception because it was passed down to him. Did you and I not discuss that St. Augustine would not even accept the GOSPEL if the Catholic Church did not teach him?

            If he would not accept the Gospel except the Catholic Church approve it, do you think he would accept anything else in contradiction to the Church?

            And that is the case with all the rest of the Church Fathers. If YOU don’t see it before the 5th century, it is because you don’t want to. But you can be certain that those Church Fathers who taught it in the 5th century, received the Teaching from the Church Fathers of the 4th and 3rd and so on.

            God bless,
            Craig

            God bless you, as well.

    3. Craig Truglia says:
      May 4, 2015 at 6:39 pm
      According to several Church Fathers, yes:

      “He was justly indignant, that persons so very near to Him stood without, while strangers were within hanging on His words, especially as they wanted to call Him away from the solemn work He had in hand. He did not so much deny as disavow them. And therefore, when to the previous question, Who is my mother, and who are my brethren? He added the answer None but they who hear my words and do them, He transferred the names of blood-relationship to others, whom He judged to be more closely related to Him by reason of their faith” (Tertullian, Against Marcion, Book 4, Ch. 19).

      1. That is not a reference to the Gospel of St. John. It is a commentary on St. Luke.

      Luke 8:18 Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have. 19 Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press.
      20 And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee. 21 And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.

      2. You said, “According to several Church Fathers, yes: Did you notice that Tertullian does not have apellation, “Saint”, before his name? That is because Tertullian is not a Church Father. He is a well respected Christian writer, but some of his writings are not completely in conformity with Catholic Teaching.

      “And therefore He answered thus in this place, and again elsewhere, Who is My mother, and who are My brethren? Matthew 12:48, because they did not yet think rightly of Him; and she, because she had borne Him, claimed, according to the custom of other mothers, to direct Him in all things, when she ought to have reverenced and worshipped Him…And so this was a reason why He rebuked her on that occasion, saying, Woman, what have I to do with you? instructing her for the future not to do the like; because, though He was careful to honor His mother, yet He cared much more for the salvation of her soul, and for the doing good to the many, for which He took upon Him the flesh.” (John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of John, homily 21).

      They have nowine. For she desired both to do them a favor, and through her Son to render herself more conspicuous; perhaps too she had some human feelings, like His brethren, when they said, Show yourself to the world John 17:4, desiring to gain credit from His miracles. Therefore He answered somewhat vehemently” (John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of John, homily 21).

      Well, ok. You have this one.

      For, doubtless, some such train of thought as this passed through her mind: ‘I conceived Him That is mocked upon the Cross. He said, indeed, that He was the true Son of Almighty God, but it may be that He was deceived; He may have erred when He said: I am the Life. How did His crucifixion come to pass? and how was He entangled in the snares of His murderers? How was it that He did not prevail over the conspiracy of His persecutors against Him? And why does He not come down from the Cross, though He bade Lazarus return to life, and struck all Judaea with amazement by His miracles?” The woman, as is likely, not exactly understanding the mystery, wandered astray into some such train of thought (Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on John, Book 12).

      I’m not sure what you’re talking about there. Perhaps you can explain why you provided that reference. Here’s what I get for Cyril of Alexandria on his Commentary on John:

      4 Jesus saith unto her Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come.

      Most excellently did the Saviour fashion for us this |156 discourse also. For it behoved Him not to come hastily to action, nor to appear a Worker of miracles as though of His Own accord, but, being called, hardly to come thereto, and to grant the grace to the necessity rather than to the lookers on. But the issue of things longed for seems somehow to be even more grateful, when granted not off-hand to those who ask for it, but through a little delay put forth to most lovely hope. Besides, Christ hereby shews that the deepest honour is due to parents, admitting out of reverence to His Mother what He willed not as yet to do.

      5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever He saith unto you, do.

      The woman having great influence to the performing of the miracle, prevailed, persuading the Lord, on account of what was fitting, as her Son. She begins the work by preparing the servants of the assembly to obey the things that should be enjoined.

      …St Hilary in his Annotations on the 20th verse of the cxixth [119th] Psalm, “My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments,” applies it unto the future judgment and among other observations has this passage, “Seeing we must render an account for every idle word do we desire the day of judgment in which that unwearied fire is to be passed through in which those grievous punishments are to be undergone for the expiating of a soul from sin [1 Cor 3:12], a sword shall pass through the soul of the blessed Virgin Mary that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed [Luke 2:35]. If that Virgin who bore God is to come into the severity of the judgment will any one dare desire to be judged by God?”(Excerpt of Hilary of Poitiers Homily on Psalm 119).

      This again, says nothing about Our Lady being rebuked by Our Lord. So, no, this is not one of the purported “several” Church Fathers whom you claim to teach that Our Lord rebuked His mother.

      But, this is a proof which St. Hilary is offering for the existence of Purgatory. You didn’t understand it because, again, you don’t hold to the Traditions of our Lord.

      Here’s what it means. Our Lady, St. Hilary says, will suffer because of the sinful thoughts of men against Our Lord. If she, who is free from all sin, will suffer due to our Lord’s passion and death, what makes you think that you, a sinner, will not be judged and pass through the fires of Purgatory?

  2. And the penny drops.

    I’ve many times heard that the “Woman” was an allusion to Eve, and that Christ was not rebuking her. But I had never heard the interpretation that Christ was giving her the option and reminding her that she would lose him to his public ministry, and that she followed with another fiat.

    As a convert, I’ve been hesitant to embrace any Marian devotion not mandated by the Church (as I am generally wary of private revelation) but Mary has been working on me, and introducing herself more fully to me. I feel that this post has allowed me to see more of Mary’s heart than I have previously seen.

    Rather than a stereotypical “mother’s resolve,” providing instruction “do whatever he tells you” I have heard this verse for the first time as Mary, with saintly resolve, accept the sword that would pierce her own soul.

    1. Wonderful!

      Along these same lines, I was blown away when I discovered that Mary wasn’t bound to make a sin offering (since it was a Virginal conception and birth), but chose to do so anyways. We tend to speak of Mary’s “Fiat” as a one-time “yes” to God; but in fact, we see her saying “yes” to God over and over again, even as Christ’s Apostles blink.

      1. Along similar lines, I’ve come to feel that Mary’s conception without sin is much less impressive than her sinlessness thereafter. After all, Adam and Eve were conceived without sin, too. It’s Mary’s lifelong cooperation with God’s will that amazes me so much more than a mere miracle. It’s as if Eve was given a second chance, and she got it right this time.

        1. Joe,

          Amen! That’s almost exactly how Irenaeus describes it: “thus also it was that the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith.”

          And this is also why it’s a shame when people misunderstand the Catholic position to mean that Mary didn’t have free will. She absolutely did: a freer will than ours, in fact.

    2. Relating to my replies in the Prayers to the Dead articles, it is worth noting that Protestants take exception to the sort of excesses here. Where does a mortal like Mary get the power to work on anyone? As far as I’m aware of the Scripture’s teaching, it is not in her power to do anything, though she may pray to the One in which it is in His power. You might want to consider the source of such revelation. It isn’t Mary.

      With love and respect,

      Craig

  3. Your first quote from Tertullian ‘against Marcion’ is directed to the Matt 12:48 scripture and not to John 2:4. Of course it can be used for a reference, but Joe’s focus in the present post is only on John 2 which is ‘the Wedding at Cana’. The same can be said for much of your Chrysostom quote, except that he does address John 2:4 fairly extensively. But in this case it is good to read the entire commentary to get the best context of what he is trying to convey. There are a lot of great ideas included in it revealing the profundity of this particular scripture. The commentary is a page or two long, but here is a sample from a part of it for those interested:

    “These then were the words, not of one speaking rudely to his mother, but belonging to a wise dispensation, which brought her into a right frame of mind, and provided that the miracles should be attended with that honor which was meet. And setting other things aside, this very appearance which these words have of having been spoken chidingly, is amply enough to show that He held her in high honor, for by His displeasure He showed that He reverenced her greatly; in what manner, we will say in the next discourse. Think of this then, and when you hear a certain woman saying, “Blessed is the womb that bare Thee, and the paps which Thou hast sucked,” and Him answering, “rather blessed are they that do the will of my Father” ( Luke xi. 27 ), suppose that those other words also were said with the same intention. For the answer was not that of one rejecting his mother, but of One who would show that her having borne Him would have nothing availed her, had she not been very good and faithful. Now if, setting aside the excellence of her soul, it profited Mary nothing that the Christ was born of her, much less will it be able to avail us to have a father or a brother, or a child of virtuous and noble disposition, if we ourselves be far removed from his virtue. “A brother,” saith David, “doth not redeem, shall man redeem?” ( Ps. xlix. 7 , LXX.) We must place our hopes of salvation in nothing else, but only in our own righteous deeds (done) after the grace of God.”

    1. This is a terrific comment. Thanks for putting the quote back into its original context: it really does seem to change the meaning.

      As for Luke 11, I’ve commented on it here. Once again, there’s a Protestant interpretation that views Jesus as rebuking His Mother, telling her that she’s not blessed. But that can’t be right, since it would contradict the inspired words of Elizabeth in Luke 1. Instead, He’s showing that the reason Mary is blessed is even more for her faith than for her being Mother of God.

    2. The reason behind the Tertullian quote I used was to show that he did not affirm that Mary was the greatest of all born of a woman (for what it is worth, neither does the Bible, John the Baptist is the greatest born of a woman.) In his quote on Mark 3, he writes, “Who is my mother, and who are my brethren? He added the answer None but they who hear my words and do them, He transferred the names of blood-relationship to others, whom He judged to be more closely related to Him by reason of their faith.”

      This means that Tertullian viewed Christ’s disciples, at this point, as more faithful than Mary. So, if you want to affirm Tertullian on one point in the same book, you have to affirm him on this one.

      1. Of course, it was not Jesus alone who regarded keeping the word as important. What does Elizabeth praise Mary for? “Blessed is she who trusted that the Lord’s word to her would be fulfilled.”

      2. “The reason behind the Tertullian quote I used was to show that he did not affirm that Mary was the greatest of all born of a woman”

        There’s a very fundamental problem with this above argument. You are associating Mary, in some way, with St. John the Baptist from Luke 7:28 and Matt.11: 9-14, but where there should be no association what-so-ever. You also appear to change the context of the Lord in these Scriptures by omitting the reference to the term ‘prophet’, the which term is clearly referred to in both of these New Testament Scriptures.

        Jesus is clearly comparing “all of the prophets who prophesied until John” to John the Baptist, and then to the members of the ‘kingdom of God’. He is not referring to His mother in any way as one of these ‘prophets of Israel’. Read the context of both scriptures, and see how Mary does not apply in either circumstance, except maybe that she should be greater than John in the kingdom of Heaven:

        Matt.11: 9-12 :

        But what went you out to see? a PROPHET? yea I tell you, and more than a PROPHET. [10] For this is he of whom it is written: Behold I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee.

        [11] Amen I say to you, there hath not risen among them that are born of women a greater than John the Baptist: yet he that is the lesser in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. [12] And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away. [13] For ALL THE PROPHETS AND THE LAW PROPHESIED UNTIL JOHN: [14] And if you will receive it, he is Elias that is to come. [15] He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (my capitalized emphasis included)

        Luke 7:28:

        For I say to you: Amongst those that are born of women, there IS NOT A GREATER PROPHET than John the Baptist. But he that is the lesser in the kingdom of God, is greater than he. (my capitalized emphasis included)

        So you can see clearly that Jesus is referring specifically to the ‘O.T. prophets of Israel’ in particular relation to John the Baptist (and thus also the reference to “Elias that is to come”), and not to anyone else except those referred to, and as is noted above: “PROPHESIED UNTIL JOHN”. However, regarding His own disciples, it is highly reasonable to include Mary into those described by Jesus to be, at least, one of “the lesser in the kingdom of God”, making her even in this most ‘minimal’ case GREATER than John the Baptist.

        But every sensitive Christian should be able to interpret the simple truth proclaimed by Mary herself regarding her particular dignity as Mother of God:

        Luke 1:48:

        “for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed”.

        1. Fair enough, I think you are spot on about the greatest of all men born of a woman. It does not change the fact that Tertullian clearly taught that Mary was not the most faithful person out there, because clearly that is what he said. It also does not change the fact that Chrysostom wrote that Mary was rebuked because she wanted Christ to perform a miracle so she can be exalted in front of others as his mother. It does not change that Cyril wrote that it is “doubtless” that Mary doubted that Christ was telling the truth when He said “I am the life.” Lastly, it does not change that Hilary of Poitiers wrote that Mary is to subjected to “grievous punishments” for the sake of “expiating of a soul from sin.”

          All of the above things do not quite mesh with the modern Catholic understanding of Mary, though the ancients had no problem with it. Joe’s exegesis is not the historical exegesis of the Church, nor is his view of Mary the historical view of Mary for the first few hundred years of the Church. The above quotations would be unthinkable if it were.

          If I just quoted them out of thin air, I would be accused of quoting Protestant heretics.

          1. Don’t know which St John Chrysostom you are reading but the real one teaches something quite different than the disingenuous summation you make here.

            You know, protestants do themselves no favors when they argue like you are arguing for when such a false assertion is made, it calls into question everything you claim.

            In any event, here is the Doctor of the Church

            ++++++++++++ begin quotes ++++++++++

            John 2:4
            Woman, what have I to do with you? My hour is not yet come.
            To prove that He greatly respected His mother, hear Luke relate how He was subject to His parents Luke 2:51, and our own Evangelist declare how He had forethought for her at the very season of the Crucifixion. For where parents cause no impediment or hindrance in things belonging to God, it is our bounden duty to give way to them, and there is great danger in not doing so; but when they require anything unseasonably, and cause hindrance in any spiritual matter, it is unsafe to obey. And therefore He answered thus in this place, and again elsewhere, Who is My mother, and who are My brethren? Matthew 12:48, because they did not yet think rightly of Him; and she, because she had borne Him, claimed, according to the custom of other mothers, to direct Him in all things, when she ought to have reverenced and worshipped Him. This then was the reason why He answered as He did on that occasion. For consider what a thing it was, that when all the people high and low were standing round Him, when the multitude was intent on hearing Him, and His doctrine had begun to be set forth, she should come into the midst and take Him away from the work of exhortation, and converse with Him apart, and not even endure to come within, but draw Him outside merely to herself. This is why He said, Who is My mother and My brethren? Not to insult her who had borne Him, (away with the thought!) but to procure her the greatest benefit, and not to let her think meanly of Him. For if He cared for others, and used every means to implant in them a becoming opinion of Himself, much more would He do so in the case of His mother. And since it was probable that if these words had been addressed to her by her Son, she would not readily have chosen even then to be convinced, but would in all cases have claimed the superiority as being His mother, therefore He replied as He did to them who spoke to Him; otherwise He could not have led up her thoughts from His present lowliness to His future exaltation, had she expected that she should always be honored by Him as by a son, and not that He should come as her Master.

            3. It was then from this motive that He said in this place, Woman, what have I to do with you? and also for another reason not less pressing. What was that? It was, that His miracles might not be suspected. The request ought to have come from those who needed, not from His mother. And why so? Because what is done at the request of one’s friends, great though it be, often causes offense to the spectators; but when they make the request who have the need, the miracle is free from suspicion, the praise unmixed, the benefit great. So if some excellent physician should enter a house where there were many sick, and be spoken to by none of the patients or their relations, but be directed only by his own mother, he would be suspected and disliked by the sufferers, nor would any of the patients or their attendants deem him able to exhibit anything great or remarkable. And so this was a reason why He rebuked her on that occasion, saying, Woman, what have I to do with you? instructing her for the future not to do the like; because, though He was careful to honor His mother, yet He cared much more for the salvation of her soul, and for the doing good to the many, for which He took upon Him the flesh.

            These then were the words, not of one speaking rudely to his mother, but belonging to a wise dispensation, which brought her into a right frame of mind, and provided that the miracles should be attended with that honor which was meet. And setting other things aside, this very appearance which these words have of having been spoken chidingly, is amply enough to show that He held her in high honor, for by His displeasure He showed that He reverenced her greatly; in what manner, we will say in the next discourse. Think of this then, and when you hear a certain woman saying, Blessed is the womb that bare You, and the paps which You have sucked, and Him answering, rather blessed are they that do the will of my Father Luke 11:27, suppose that those other words also were said with the same intention. For the answer was not that of one rejecting his mother, but of One who would show that her having borne Him would have nothing availed her, had she not been very good and faithful. Now if, setting aside the excellence of her soul, it profited Mary nothing that the Christ was born of her, much less will it be able to avail us to have a father or a brother, or a child of virtuous and noble disposition, if we ourselves be far removed from his virtue. A brother, says David, does not redeem, shall man redeem? Psalm 49:7, Septuagint We must place our hopes of salvation in nothing else, but only in our own righteous deeds (done) after the grace of God. For if this by itself could have availed, it would have availed the Jews, (for Christ was their kinsman according to the flesh,) it would have availed the town in which He was born, it would have availed His brethren. But as long as His brethren cared not for themselves, the honor of their kindred availed them nothing, but they were condemned with the rest of the world, and then only were approved, when they shone by their own virtue; and the city fell, and was burnt, having gained nothing from this; and His kinsmen according to the flesh were slaughtered and perished very miserably, having gained nothing towards being saved from their relationship to Him, because they had not the defense of virtue. The Apostles, on the contrary, appeared greater than any, because they followed the true and excellent way of gaining relationship with Him, that by obedience. And from this we learn that we have always need of faith, and a life shining and bright, since this alone will have power to save us. For though His relations were for a long time everywhere held in honor, being called the Lord’s kinsmen, yet now we do not even know their names, while the lives and names of the Apostles are everywhere celebrated.

            Let us then not be proud of nobleness of birth according to the flesh, but though we have ten thousand famous ancestors, let us use diligence ourselves to go beyond their excellences, knowing that we shall gain nothing from the diligence of others to help us in the judgment that is to come; nay, this will be the more grievous condemnation, that though born of righteous parents and having an example at home, we do not, even thus, imitate our teachers. And this I say now, because I see many heathens, when we lead them to the faith and exhort them to become Christians, flying to their kinsmen and ancestors and house, and saying, All my relations and friends and companions are faithful Christians. What is that to you, thou wretched and miserable? This very thing will be especially your ruin, that you did not respect the number of those around you, and run to the truth. Others again who are believers but live a careless life, when exhorted to virtue make the very same defense, and say, my father and my grandfather and my great-grandfather were very pious and good men. But this will assuredly most condemn you, that being descended from such men, you have acted unworthily of the root from whence you are sprung. For hear what the Prophet says to the Jews, Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept (sheep) Hosea 12:12; and again Christ, Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it, and was glad. John 8:56 And everywhere they bring forward to them the righteous acts of their fathers, not only to praise them, but also to make the charge against their descendants more heavy. Knowing then this, let us use every means that we may be saved by our own works, lest having deceived ourselves by vain trusting on others, we learn that we have been deceived when the knowledge of it will profit us nothing. In the grave, says David, who shall give you thanks? Psalm 6:5 Let us then repent here, that we may obtain the everlasting goods, which may God grant we all do, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

            John 2:4
            Woman, what have I to do with you? My hour is not yet come.
            1. In preaching the word there is some toil, and this Paul declares when he says, Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine. 1 Timothy 5:17 Yet it is in your power to make this labor light or heavy; for if you reject our words, or if without actually rejecting them you do not show them forth in your works, our toil will be heavy, because we labor uselessly and in vain: while if you heed them and give proof of it by your works, we shall not even feel the toil, because the fruit produced by our labor will not suffer the greatness of that labor to appear. So that if you would rouse our zeal, and not quench or weaken it, show us, I beseech you, your fruit, that we may behold the fields waving with grain, and being supported by hopes of an abundant crop, and reckoning up your riches, may not be slothful in carrying on this good traffic.

            It is no slight question which is proposed to us also today. For first, when the mother of Jesus says, They have no wine, Christ replies, Woman, what have I to do with you? Mine, hour is not yet come. And then, having thus spoken, He did as His mother had said; an action which needs enquiry no less than the words. Let us then, after calling upon Him who wrought the miracle, proceed to the explanation.

            The words are not used in this place only, but in others also; for the same Evangelist says, They could not lay hands on Him, because His hour was not yet come John 8:20; and again, No man laid hands on Him, because His hour was not yet come John 7:30; and again, The hour has come, glorify Your Son. John 17:1 What then do the words mean? I have brought together more instances, that I may give one explanation of all. And what is that explanation? Christ did not say, Mine hour is not yet come, as being subject to the necessity of seasons, or the observance of an hour; how can He be so, who is Maker of seasons, and Creator of the times and the ages? To what else then did He allude? He desires to show this; that He works all things at their convenient season, not doing all at once; because a kind of confusion and disorder would have ensued, if, instead of working all at their proper seasons, He had mixed all together, His Birth, His Resurrection, and His coming to Judgment. Observe this; creation was to be, yet not all at once; man and woman were to be created, yet not even these together; mankind were to be condemned to death, and there was to be a resurrection, yet the interval between the two was to be great; the law was to be given, but not grace with it, each was to be dispensed at its proper time. Now Christ was not subject to the necessity of seasons, but rather settled their order, since He is their Creator; and therefore He says in this place, Mine hour is not yet come. And His meaning is, that as yet He was not manifest to the many, nor had He even His whole company of disciples; Andrew followed Him, and next to him Philip, but no one else. And moreover, none of these, not even His mother nor His brethren, knew Him as they ought; for after His many miracles, the Evangelist says of His brethren, For neither did His brethren believe in Him. John 7:5 And those at the wedding did not know Him either, for in their need they would certainly have come to and entreated Him. Therefore He says, Mine hour is not yet come; that is, I am not yet known to the company, nor are they even aware that the wine has failed; let them first be sensible of this. I ought not to have been told it from you; you are My mother, and renderest the miracle suspicious. They who wanted the wine should have come and besought Me, not that I need this, but that they might with an entire assent accept the miracle. For one who knows that he is in need, is very grateful when he obtains assistance; but one who has not a sense of his need, will never have a plain and clear sense of the benefit.

            Why then after He had said, Mine hour is not yet come, and given her a denial, did He what His mother desired? Chiefly it was, that they who opposed Him, and thought that He was subject to the hour, might have sufficient proof that He was subject to no hour; for had He been so, how could He, before the proper hour had come, have done what He did? And in the next place, He did it to honor His mother, that He might not seem entirely to contradict and shame her that bare Him in the presence of so many; and also, that He might not be thought to want power, for she brought the servants to Him.

            Besides, even while saying to the Canaanitish woman, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to give it unto dogs Matthew 15:26, He still gave the bread, as considering her perseverance; and though after his first reply, He said, I am not sent save unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel, yet even after saying this, He healed the woman’s daughter. Hence we learn, that although we be unworthy, we often by perseverance make ourselves worthy to receive. And for this reason His mother remained by, and openly brought to Him the servants, that the request might be made by a greater number; and therefore she added,

            John 2:5
            Whatsoever He says unto you, do it.
            For she knew that His refusal proceeded not from want of power, but from humility, and that He might not seem without cause to hurry to the miracle; and therefore she brought the servants.

          2. On “quoting Protestant heretics”?

            Tertullian was a Montanist heretic for a time, for which reason he is a ‘Father’, but not given the status as a canonized ‘Saint’ in the Catholic Church…so you might actually be on the right track regarding ‘Protestant heretics’. 🙂

            Many Fathers were subject to theological errors and faulty conclusions and so they need to be studied very carefully. For example, Tertullian’s opinion on the Old and new Testament canons are as follows, and you will note that they are significantly different from both Catholic and Protestant Bibles alike:

            “Tertullian’s canon of the Old Testament included the deuterocanonical books, since he quotes most of them. He also cites the Book of Enoch as inspired, and thinks those who rejected it were wrong. He seems also to recognize IV Esdras, and the Sibyl, though he admits that there are many Sibylline forgeries. In the New Testament he knows the Four Gospels, Acts, Epistles of St. Paul, I Peter (Ad Ponticos), I John, Jude, Apocalypse. He does not know James and II Peter, but we cannot tell that he did not know II, III John. He attributes Hebrews to St. Barnabas. He rejects the “Pastor” of Hermas and says that many councils of the Psychici had also rejected it.” (Derived from the Catholic Encyclopedia)

          3. To Al WIlliams:

            Understood, but the work I quoted was when he was in the Catholic Church. But yes, he was a heretic, I only show that he was not the only one who wrote what I quoted, I listed three other fathers.

            To I am not spartacus:

            I listed the homily in which I drew it from. Simply go to New Advent and look it up. In fact, you didn’t read your own block quote which includes:

            “And so this was a reason why He rebuked her on that occasion, saying, Woman, what have I to do with you? instructing her for the future not to do the like; because, though He was careful to honor His mother, yet He cared much more for the salvation of her soul, and for the doing good to the many, for which He took upon Him the flesh.”

            So, yelling “CONTEXT” doesn’t mean anything if you actually did not read what you are quoting 😉

          4. I think the term ‘rebuke’ needs to be considered very carefully and in context. This is what the entire block quote given by Spartacus, above, provides. Without perceiving the tender love of Christ for His mother, one can misinterpret, or overstate the ‘negative’ connotation of the term ‘rebuke’. As Chrysostom notes in the quote above, there are many considerations to be had regarding the entire miraculous event. Taking an overly critical, or overly negative, interpretation of the single term ‘rebuke’ diminishes all of the other fine details that Chrysostom provides in the same block quote.

          5. This is why He said, Who is My mother and My brethren? Not to insult her who had borne Him, (away with the thought!) but to procure her the greatest benefit, and not to let her think meanly of Him. For if He cared for others, and used every means to implant in them a becoming opinion of Himself, much more would He do so in the case of His mother. And since it was probable that if these words had been addressed to her by her Son, she would not readily have chosen even then to be convinced, but would in all cases have claimed the superiority as being His mother,

            But of course, she never did such a thing.

            Mr. Truglia. It seems apparent you have problems with reading comprehension.

            O, and I never once yelled “context,” but, rather, I posted the entire quoted you excerpted to cast Mary in a bad light.

          6. Mr Martin: “I think the term ‘rebuke’ needs to be considered very carefully and in context. ”

            Again, no one is saying Christ used a disrespectful tone. According to the context, rebuke means “correct.” So, my point was to show that according to Chrysostom, what Mary asked for required correction. Chrysostom essentially said she was being proud and showing off her son so to say…a common thing for mothers. So, if there is a sin here it is pride.

          7. To Spartacus: I don’t think we can have a reasonable conversation together, because of the sort of tone and claims you use, so I’ll give you the last word. Just for those looking on and perhaps for you too I will reassert the following:

            -Your block quote and your other quote don’t really prove your point. In fact, you have not even offered a rationale how they would prove your point. You have not even presented much of a point other than I being wrong (somehow). But you have not offered a rationale of what the quotes I provided mean. I suppose that you cannot without disagreeing with Chrysostom himself.

            -You write, “So, instead of making claims that the early Church Fathers were crypto-protestants…” Again, no one here has made that argument.

            I wish you the best.

            God bless,
            Craig

          8. Craig,

            I think you’re operating within a false dichotomy: that either everyone held to Mary’s sinlessness, or nobody did. But as you’ve already admitted, neither of those options are true.

            Given that, I don’t see the basis for your claim: “Joe’s exegesis is not the historical exegesis of the Church, nor is his view of Mary the historical view of Mary for the first few hundred years of the Church. The above quotations would be unthinkable if it were.” What’s the view of Mary that you’re claiming wasn’t the historical view? That Mary was the new Eve? That she was without sin? These views are found in the early Church. Read in Book III of Against Heresies, in which St. Irenaeus (c. 130-202 A.D.) talks about Mary’s untying the knots of Eve’s disobedience.

            Also, I am glad to see you retract your argument on Matthew 11:11. Nevertheless, because I’ve seen this argument elsewhere, I’ve got a post giving it as an example of a bad sort of anti-Marian argument. Please know that it’s not directed at you personally: you just prompted me to finally write a post that I’d had in my head for a while.

            I.X.,

            Joe

          9. “I think you’re operating within a false dichotomy: that either everyone held to Mary’s sinlessness, or nobody did. But as you’ve already admitted, neither of those options are true.”

            I guess that’s not a false dichotomy then 😉

            “Given that, I don’t see the basis for your claim…What’s the view of Mary that you’re claiming wasn’t the historical view?”

            I think it is worth explaining what merits being the historical view. The criteria that must be met, as far as I know, is that the teaching needs to be universal (or practically so). This is not a perfect criteria (tasting milk and honey after baptism was once the universal practice of the Church, and no one does that anymore), but it’s pretty darn good, I’d say.

            So, the Trinity is universal. The Filoque is universal (to the chagrin of Eastern Orthodox, who will find statements affirming it in both Eastern and Western Fathers.) Justification by faith is universal. I will even say baptismal regeneration is universal in tradition.

            However, several Marian dogmas don’t meet that criteria. The immaculate conception and the assumption simply do not exist in early tradition. Mary’s sinlessness is true if you’re speaking to Augustine and not if you’re speaking to Chrysostom. And etcetera.

            “That Mary was the new Eve? That she was without sin? These views are found in the early Church. Read in Book III of Against Heresies, in which St. Irenaeus (c. 130-202 A.D.) talks about Mary’s untying the knots of Eve’s disobedience.”

            It does not call her sinless though, so you are importing meaning onto the term new Eve Irenaeus did not intend.

            “Also, I am glad to see you retract your argument on Matthew 11:11.”

            If I am shown to be wrong, I will gladly retract. I post under my real name. I can be googled up, you can see all of my automotive stuff. We’e probably around the same age. I am a real person, not an internet tough guy.

            “Please know that it’s not directed at you personally: you just prompted me to finally write a post that I’d had in my head for a while.”

            Thanks for clarifying, and if I inspired you to write, let it be known that conversations like this inspire me to research.

            God bless,
            Craig

  4. <>

    . . pure and unstained Virgin . . . –Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Word

    Thou and Thy mother are the only ones who are totally beautiful in every respect; for in Thee, O Lord, there is no spot, and in Thy mother no stain.–Ephraim the Syrian, Nisibene Hymns

    It was, to divulge by the manner of His Incarnation this great secret; that purity is the only complete indication of the presence of God and of His coming, and that no one can in reality secure this for himself, unless he has altogether estranged himself from the passions of the flesh. What happened in the stainless Mary when the fulness of the Godhead which was in Christ shone out through her, that happens in every soul that leads by rule the virgin life.–Gregory of Nyssa, On Virginity

    [T]he power of the Most High, through the Holy Spirit, overshadowed the human nature and was formed therein; that is to say, the portion of flesh was formed in the immaculate Virgin.–Gregory of Nyssa, Against Apollinaris

    . . . Mary, a Virgin not only undefiled but a Virgin whom grace has made inviolate, free of every stain of sin.–Ambrose, Commentary on Psalm 118

    Hail, O full of grace, the Lord is with you, you are blessed” (Lk 1:28), O most beautiful and most noble among women. The Lord is with you, O all-holy one, glorious and good. The Lord is with you, O worthy of praise, O incomparable, O more than glorious, all splendor, worthy of God, worthy of all blessedness . . . spouse of God, divinely nourished treasure. To you I announce neither a conception in wickedness nor a birth in sin;–Theodotus of Ancyra, On the Mother of God and the Nativity

    Innocent virgin, spotless, without defect, untouched, unstained, holy in body and in soul, like a lily-flower sprung among thorns, unschooled in the wickedness of Eve . . . clothed with divine grace as with a cloak . . . –Theodotus of Ancyra, Homily 6

  5. Roughly four centuries later, St. Augustine would propose the definitive interpretation of those passages in the City of God. The book of Revelation was understood not in a literal historical sense but as a spiritual allegory. The Millennium had begun with Christ’s death on the Cross and would continue until the Second Comming, when the Antichrist would reign for three and a half years before Christ returned in glory to judge the living and the dead and end time human history. To consider the Millennium as anything other than the dispensation of the New Israel, the Catholic Church, was declared a heresy and superstitious aberration by the Council of Ephesus in 431….

    There is another interpretation of Revelations 20. Those who refused to succumb to the persecutions of the fourth beast, made up Rome, and reigned for literally one thousand years – the period between Alaric’s sack of Rome in 1410, the date conventionally given for the fall of Rome, and the first outbreak of revolution in Europe, when Hus was excommunicated and gave his revolutionary sermon at the Bethlehem Chapel in 1410.

    All Christians know who was born at Bethlehem, Our Lord and Savior, Our Creator and Redeemer, but too few understand that it was the judiased protestants who were the mid-wives who brought Satan to birth in another Bethlehem after a thousand years of the City of God; they birthed him in the middle of Christendom and ever since them the poor deracinated Christian has been abandoned and forced to fend for himself in a loan once united under Jesus Christ.

    So, instead of making claims that the early Church Fathers were crypto-protestants – against all evidence- – it would be nice to hear they apologise for supporting such malign midwifery within Christendom and calling evil enlightenment

  6. Craig,

    Above you wrote:

    “So, my point was to show that according to Chrysostom, what Mary asked for required correction. Chrysostom essentially said she was being proud and showing off her son so to say…a common thing for mothers. So, if there is a sin here it is pride.”

    You do realize that Mary really didn’t ask for anything of Jesus. She made a simple, single, statement: “They have no wine”.

    It’s a very long jump of theological fantasy to go from a simple, loving, statement for the sake of others to her Son, to something such as “she was being proud and showing off her son”, regardless of whether a ‘Father of the Church’ even hinted at this or not. Maybe it’s good to study well what other ‘Fathers of the Church’ wrote about the Mother of Jesus to get a more well rounded opinion than just this wild moral speculation that you suggest above.

    Daniel, above, provided some excellent ‘Early Fathers’ quotes regarding the character, history and virtues of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus. Here are more quotes from similar ancient ‘Fathers’ for your careful consideration:

    Justin Martyr:

    “[Jesus] became man by the Virgin so that the course that was taken by disobedience in the beginning through the agency of the serpent might be also the very course by which it would be put down. Eve, a virgin and undefiled, conceived the word of the serpent and bore disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy when the angel Gabriel announced to her the glad tidings that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her, for which reason the Holy One being born of her is the Son of God. And she replied, “Be it done unto me according to your word” (Luke 1:38) (Dialogue with Trypho 100 [A.D. 155]).”

    Irenaeus:

    “Consequently, then, Mary the Virgin is found to be obedient, saying, “Behold, 0 Lord, your handmaid; be it done to me according to your word.” Eve . . . who was then still a virgin although she had Adam for a husband — for in paradise they were both naked but were not ashamed; for, having been created only a short time, they had no understanding of the procreation of children . . . having become disobedient [sin], was made the cause of death for herself and for the whole human race; so also Mary, betrothed to a man but nevertheless still a virgin, being obedient [no sin], was made the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. . . . Thus, the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosed through faith “(Against Heresies 3:22:24 [A.D. 189]).

    Origen:

    “This Virgin Mother of the Only-begotten of God is called Mary, worthy of God, immaculate of the immaculate, one of the one” (Homily 1 [A.D. 244]).

    Hippolytus”

    “He [Jesus] was the ark formed of incorruptible wood. For by this is signified that His tabernacle [Mary] was exempt from defilement and corruption “(Orat. In Illud, Dominus pascit me, in Gallandi, Bibl. Patrum, II, 496 ante [A.D. 235]).

    Gregory Nazianzen

    “He was conceived by the virgin, who had been first purified by the Spirit in soul and body; for, as it was fitting that childbearing should receive its share of honor, so it was necessary that virginity should receive even greater honor” (Sermon 38 [d. A.D. 390]).

    Augustine

    “We must except the Holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom I wish to raise no question when it touches the subject of sins, out of honor to the Lord; for from Him we know what abundance of grace for overcoming sin in every particular was conferred upon her who had the merit to conceive and bear Him who undoubtedly had no sin” (Nature and Grace 36:42 [A.D. 415]).

    1. I understand that Mary had glowing reviews. But if you are saying I am reading too into John 2:4, you have to take that up with Chyrsostom as well:

      They have no wine. For she desired both to do them a favor, and through her Son to render herself more conspicuous; perhaps too she had some human feelings, like His brethren, when they said, Show yourself to the world John 17:4, desiring to gain credit from His miracles. Therefore He answered somewhat vehemently” (John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of John, homily 21).

      1. It is apparent that Craig’s repetitious posting of the great Saint’s exegesis is intended as the synecdoche settling the matter.

        Byt, it is n such thing:

        Here is Saint Thomas Aquinas

        +++++++++++ begin quote++++++++++++

        1 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the feast. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no more wine.” 4 Jesus then said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with me and you? My time has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Now there were six stone water jars near by for purifications according to Jewish customs, each holding two or three metretes. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill those jars with water.” And they filled them to the top. 8 Then Jesus said to them, “Now pour out a drink and take it to the head waiter.” They did as he instructed them. 9 Now when the head waiter tasted the water made wine, and not knowing where it came from (although the servants knew, since they had drawn the water), he called the groom over 10 and said to him, “People usually serve the choice wines first, and when the guests have had their fill, then they bring out inferior wine; but you have saved the best wine until now.” 11 This beginning of signs Jesus worked in Cana of Galilee; and Jesus revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.

        335 Above, the Evangelist showed the dignity of the incarnate Word and gave various evidence for it. Now he begins to relate the effects and actions by which the divinity of the incarnate Word was made known to the world. First, he tells the things Christ did, while living in the world, that show his divinity. Secondly, he tells how Christ showed his divinity while dying; and this from chapter twelve on.

        As to the first he does two things. First, he shows the divinity of Christ in relation to the power he had over nature. Secondly, in relation to the effects of grace; and this from chapter three on. Christ’s power over nature is pointed out to us by the fact that he changed a nature. And this change was accomplished by Christ as a sign: first, to his disciples, to strengthen them; secondly, to the people, to lead them to believe (2:12). This transformation of a nature, in order to strengthen the disciples, was accomplished at a marriage, when he turned water into wine. First, the marriage is described. Secondly, those present. Thirdly, the miracle performed hy Christ.

        330 In describing the marriage, the time is first mentioned. Hence he says. On the third day there was a wedding, i.e., after the calling of the disciples mentioned earlier. For, after being made known by the testimony of John, Christ also wanted to make himself known. Secondly, the place is mentioned; hence he says, at Cana in Galilee. Galilee is a province, and Cana a small village located in that province.

        337 As far as the literal meaning is concerned, we should note that there are two opinions about the time of Christ’s preaching. Some say that there were two and a half years from Christ’s baptism until his death. According to them, the events at this wedding took place in the same year that Christ was baptized. However, both the teaching and practice of the Church are opposed to this. For three miracles are commemorated on the feast of the Epiphany: the adoration of the Magi, which took place in the first year of the Lord’s birth; secondly, the baptism of Christ, which implies that he was baptized on the same day thirty years later; thirdly, this marriage, which took place on the same day one year later. It follows from this that at least one year elapsed between his baptism and this marriage. In that year the only things recorded to have been done by the Lord are found in the sixth chapter of Matthew: the fasting in the desert, and the temptation by the devil; and what John tells us in this Gospel of the testimony by the Baptist and the conversion of the disciples. After this wedding, Christ began to preach publicly and to perform miracles up to the time of his passion, so that he preached publicly for two and one half years.

        338 In the mystical sense, marriage signifies the union of Christ with his Church, because as the Apostle says: “This is a great mystery: I am speaking of Christ and his Church” (Eph 5:32). And this marriage was begun In the womb of the Virgin, when God the Father united a human nature to his Son in a unity of person. So, the chamber of this union was the womb of the Virgin: “He established a chamber for the sun” (Ps 18:6). Of this marriage it is said: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who married his son” (Mt 22:2), that is, when God the Father joined a human nature to his Word in the womb of the Virgin. It was made public when the Church was joined to him by faith: “I will bind you to myself in faith” (Hos 2:20). We read of this marriage: “Blessed are they who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rv 19:9). It will be consummated when the bride, i.e., the Church, is led into the resting place of the groom, i.e., into the glory of heaven.

        The fact that this marriage took place on the third day is not without it own mystery. For the first day is the time of the law of nature; the second day is the time of the written law. but the third day is the time of grace, when the incarnate Lord celebrated the marriage: “He will revive Lis after two days: on the third day he will raise us up” (Hos 6:3).

        The place too is appropriate. For “Cana” means “zeal and “Galilee” means “passage.” So this marriage was celebrated in the zeal of a passage, to suggest that those persons are most worthy of union with Christ who, burning with the zeal of a conscientious devotion, pass over from the state of guilt to the grace of the Church. “Pass over to me, all who desire me” (Sir 24:26). And they pass from death to life, i.e., from the state of mortality and misery to the state of immortality and glory: “I make all things new” (Rv 21:5).

        339 Then the persons invited are described. Mention is made of three: the mother of Jesus, Jesus himself, and the disciples.

        340 The mother of Jesus is mentioned when he says, the mother of Jesus was there. She is mentioned first to indicate that Jesus was still unknown and not invited to the wedding as a famous person, but merely as one acquaintance among others; for as they invited the mother, so also her son. Or, perhaps his mother is invited first because they were uncertain whether Jesus would come to a wedding if invited, because of the unusual piety they noticed in him and because they had not seen him at other social gatherings. So I think that they first asked his mother whether Jesus should be invited. That is why the Evangelist expressly said first that his mother was at the wedding, and that later Jesus was invited.

        341 And this is what comes next: Jesus was invited. Christ decided to attend this wedding, first of all, to give us an example of humility. For he did not look to his own dignity, but “just as he condescended to accept the form of a servant, so he did not hesitate to come to the marriage of servants,” as Chrysostom says. And as Augustine says: “Let man blush to be proud, for God became humble.” For among his other acts of humility, the Son of the Virgin came to a marriage, which he had already instituted in paradise when he was with his Father. Of this example it is said: “Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29).

        He came, secondly, to reject the error of those who condemn marriage, for as Bede says: “If there were sin in a holy marriage bed and in a marriage carried out with due purity, the Lord would not have come to the marriage.” But because he did come, he implies that the baseness of those who denounce marriage deserves to be condemned. “If she marries, it is not a sin” (1 Cor 7:36).

        342 The disciples are mentioned when he says, and his disciples.

        343 In its mystical meaning, the mother of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin, is present in spiritual marriages as the one who arranges the marriage, because it is through her intercession that one is joined to Christ through grace: “In me is every hope of life and of strength” (Sir 24:25). Christ is present as the true groom of the soul, as is said below (3:29): “It is the groom who has the bride.” The disciples are the groomsmen uniting the Church to Christ, the one of whom it is said: “I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Cor 11:2).

        344 At this physical marriage some role in the miracle belongs to the mother of Christ, some to Christ, and some to the disciples. When he says, When the wine ran out, he indicates the part of each. The role of Christ’s mother was to superintend the miracle; the role of Christ to perform it; and the disciples were to bear witness to it. As to the first, Christ’s mother assumed the role of a mediatrix. Hence she does two things. First, she intercedes with her Son. In the second place, she instructs the servants. As to the first, two things are mentioned. First, his mother’s intercession; secondly, the answer of her Son.

        345 In Mary’s intercession, note first her kindness and mercy. For it is a quality of mercy to regard another’s distress as one’s own, because to be merciful is to have a heart distressed at the distress of another: “Who is weak, and I am not weak?” (2 Cor 11:29). And so because the Blessed Virgin was full of mercy, she desired to relieve the distress of others. So he says, When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him.

        Note, secondly, her reverence for Christ: for because of the reverence we have for God it is sufficient for us merely to express our needs: “Lord, all my desires are known by you” (Ps 37:10). But it is not our business to wonder about the way in which God will help us, for as it is said: “We do not know what we should pray for as we ought” (Rom 8:26). And so his mother merely told him of their need, saying, They have no more wine.

        Thirdly, note the Virgin’s concern and care. For she did not wait until they were in extreme need, but When the wine ran out, that is, immediately. This is similar to what is said of God: “A helper in times of trouble” (Ps 9:10).

        346 Chrysostom asks: Why did Mary never encourage Christ to perform any miracles before this time? For she had been told of his power by the angel, whose work had been confirmed by the many things she had seen happening in his regard, all of which she remembered, thinking them over in her heart (Lk 2:5 1). The reason is that before this time he lived like any other person. So, because the time was not appropriate, she put off asking him. But now, after John’s witness to him and after the conversion of his disciples, she trustingly prompted Christ to perform miracles. In this she was true to the symbol of the synagogue, which is the mother of’ Christ: for it was customary for the Jews to require miracles: “The Jews require signs” (1 Cor 1:22).

        347 She says to him, They have no more wine. Here we should note that before the incarnation of Christ three wines were running out: the wine of justice, of wisdom, and of charity or grace. Wine stings, and in this respect it is a symbol of justice. The Samaritan poured wine and oil into the wounds of the injured man, that is, he mingled the severity of justice with the sweetness of mercy. “You have made us drink the wine of sorrow” (Ps 59:5). But wine also delights the heart, “Wine cheers the heart of man” (Ps 103:15). And in this respect wine is a symbol of wisdom, the meditation of which is enjoyable in the highest degree: “Her companionship has no bitterness” (Wis 8:16). Further, wine intoxicates: “Drink, friends, and be intoxicated, my dearly beloved” (Sg 5:1). And in this respect wine is a symbol of charity: “I have drunk my wine with my milk” (Sg 5:1). It is also a symbol of charity because of charity’s fervor: “Wine makes the virgins flourish” (Zec 9:17).

        The wine of justice was indeed running out in the old law, in which justice was imperfect. But Christ brought it to perfection: “Unless your justice is greater than that of the scribes and of the Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:20). The wine of wisdom was also running out, for it was hidden and symbolic, because as it says in 1 Corinthians (10:11): “All these things happened to them in symbol.” But Christ plainly brought wisdom to light: “He was teaching them as one having authority” (Mt 7:29). The wine of charity was also running out, because they had received a spirit of serving only in fear. But Christ converted the water of fear into the wine of charity when he gave “the spirit of adoption as sons, by which we cry: ‘Abba, Father’” (Rom 8:15), and when “the charity of God was poured out into our hearts,” as Romans (5:5) says.

        348 Then when he says, Jesus said to her, the answer of Christ is given. This answer has been the occasion for three heresies.

        349 The Manicheans claim that Christ had only an imaginary body, not a real one. Valentinus maintained that Christ assumed a celestial body and that, as far as his body was concerned, Christ was not related to the Virgin at all. The source of this error was that he understood, Woman, what does that have to do with me and you? as if it meant: “I have received nothing from you.” But this is contrary to the authority of Sacred Scripture. For the Apostle says: “God sent his Son, made from a woman” (Gal 4:4). Now Christ could not be said to have been made from her, unless he had taken something from her. Further, Augustine argues against them: “How do you know that our Lord said, What does that have to do with me and you? You reply that it is because John says so. But he also says that the Virgin was the mother of Christ. So, if you believe the Evangelist when he states that Jesus said this to his mother, you should also believe him when he says, and the mother of Jesus was there.”

        350 Then there was Ebion who said that Christ was conceived from a man’s seed, and Elvidius, who said that the Virgin did not remain a virgin after childbirth. They were deceived by the fact that he said, Woman, which seems to imply the loss of virginity. But this is false, for in Sacred Scripture the word “woman” sometimes refers merely to the female sex, as it does in “made from a woman” (Gal 4:4). This is obvious also by the fact that Adam, speaking to God about Eve, said: “The woman whom you gave me as a companion, gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate it” (Gn 3:12); for Eve was still a virgin in Paradise, where Adam had not know her. Hence the fact that the mother of Christ is here called “woman” in this Gospel does not imply a loss of virginity, but refers to her sex.

        1. 351 The Priscillianists, however, erred by misunderstanding the words of Christ, My time has not yet come. They claimed that all things happen by fate, and that the actions of men, including those of Christ, are subject to predetermined times. And that is why, according to them, Christ said, My time has not yet come.

          But this is false for any man. For since man has free choice, and this is because he has reason and will, both of which are spiritual, then obviously, as far as choice is concerned, man, so far from being subject to bodies, is really their master. For spiritual things are superior to material things, so much so that the Philosopher says that the wise man is master of the stars. Further, their heresy is even less true of Christ, who is the Lord and Creator of the stars. Thus when he says, My time has not yet come, he is referring to the time of his passion, which was fixed for him, not by necessity, according to divine providence. What is said in Sirach (33:7) is also contrary to their opinion: “Why is one day better than another?” And the answer is: “They have been differentiated by the knowledge of the Lord,” i.e., they were differentiated from one another not by chance, but by God’s providence.

          352 Since we have eliminated the above opinions, let us look for the reason why our Lord answered, Woman, what does that have to do with me and you? For Augustine, Christ has two natures, the divine and the human. And although the same Christ exists in each, nevertheless things appropriate to him according to his human nature are distinct from what is appropriate to him according to his divine nature. Now to perform miracles is appropriate to him according to his divine nature, which he received from the Father; while to suffer is according to his human nature, which he received from his mother. So when his mother requests this miracle, he answers, Woman, what does that have to do with me and you? as if saying: I did not receive from you that in me which enables me to perform miracles, but that which enables me to suffer, i.e., that which makes it appropriate for me to suffer, i.e., I have received a human nature from you. And so I will recognize you when this weakness hangs on the cross. And so he continues with, My time has not yet come. As if to say: I will recognize you as my mother when the time of my passion arrives. And so it was that on the cross he entrusted his mother to the disciple.

          353 Chrysostom explains this differently. He says that the Blessed Virgin, burning with zeal for the honor of her Son, wanted Christ to perform miracles at once, before it was opportune; but that Christ, being much wiser than his mother, restrained her. For he was unwilling to perform the miracle before the need for it was known; otherwise, it would have been less appreciated and less credible. And so he says, Woman, what does that have to do with me and you? As if to say: Why bother me? My time has not yet come, i.e., I am not yet known to those present. Nor do they know that the wine ran out; and they must first know this, because when they know their need they will have a greater appreciation of the benefit they will receive.

          354 Now although his mother was refused, she did not lose hope in her Son’s mercy. So she instructs the servants, Do whatever he tells you, in which, indeed, consists the perfection of all justice. For perfect justice consists in obeying Christ in all things: “We will do all that the Lord commanded us” (Ex 29:35). Do whatever he tells you, is fittingly said of God alone, for man can err now and then. Hence in matters that are against God, we are not held to obey men: “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). We ought to obey God, who does not err and cannot be deceived, in all things.

          +++++++++++++++ end quote +++++++++++++

          That is, Craig has seized upon St John’s exegesis as a weapon to undermine Marian Doctrines but in repeatedly pressing this same point, he is silently confessing he does not have another source to back him.

          Cest la vie

  7. Yes, I guess I need to disagree with Chrysostom, in view of all the other “glowing” reviews. But there are more reviews than these Fathers, such as Chrysostom, to consider. We need to realize that much of the Gospel of Luke involved historical accounts that only the Blessed Virgin herself could reveal to the Church. So, she is really a primary source witness for at least the Incarnation and early life of Jesus in this very important Gospel of Luke.

    Therefore, any understanding of the dignity of Mary must admit this very important account she gives in Luke 1:26. And then trusting her (as we must), we will have the context to judge her dignity and virtues in light of this holy and sacred account. This is to say, the “glowing reviews” you mentioned were not only from feeble and largely ignorant apologists (Saints though they be) of the 1st and 2nd centuries, but from the Almighty Creator Himself. Mary, as a historical witness and a source for the Gospels themselves, must be seen on a level from which no other person, who-so-ever, can compare. She’s on an entirely different level than any other Apostle or Saint. She being THE MOTHER OF GOD.

    For a Christian to know the Blessed Virgin, he needs to absorb this very small paragraph, below, very well. It is the foundation for all subsequent exegesis concerning Mary:

    “..the virgin’ s name was Mary. [28] And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. [29] Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. [30] And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.

    [31] Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. [32] He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. [33] And of his kingdom there shall be no end. [34] And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? [35] And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

    This story makes me quiver, it is so holy!

    It is an Angel of God that gives the ‘Glowing Review’ above, not some 3rd century Father of the Church, no matter how holy he is. God’s testimony of her is sufficient.

    With God’s testimony, above, we don’t even really need her own testimony of herself, which was said to Elizabeth: “From this day all generations will call me Blessed”. But it is a prophesy that we see has proven true over the last 2000 years anyway. That is to say, every day until the end of the world Christians will acknowledge what the Angel Gabriel and Elizabeth acknowledged concerning the Blessed Virgin Mary, and her INCOMPREHENSIBLE dignity.

    And, as a side note, I think you can admit to the truth that most of these Christians that she refers to, who indeed acknowledge her great dignity as the Mother of God and call her “Blessed”, are predominantly the Catholics and Orthodox, today. A Protestant is hard to be found who will fulfill this most beautiful prophesy of the most holy and ‘Blessed’ Virgin Mary, by lovingly acknowledging her great dignity with the term that she herself indicated, which is “Blessed”. But Catholics, indeed, love calling her by that beautiful and loving term!

    Thanks be to God.

    1. “Yes, I guess I need to disagree with Chrysostom, in view of all the other “glowing” reviews.”

      Fair enough. However, by doing so, you concede that the view contrary to Chrysostom could have never been the universal view of the Church. Chrysostom (and Cyril, Tertullian, and Hilary) could not have written what they written if at the very least Mary’s sinlessness was not under dispute. The Trinity was not under dispute by the ECF.

      “It is an Angel of God that gives the ‘Glowing Review’ above, not some 3rd century Father of the Church, no matter how holy he is. God’s testimony of her is sufficient.”

      But the angel’s “review” does not say what you would need him to say in order to prove your point. He does not call her sinless. He does not even necessarily call her the best woman out there. He simply calls her “blessed” because of God’s call.

      “And, as a side note, I think you can admit to the truth that most of these Christians that she refers to, who indeed acknowledge her great dignity as the Mother of God and call her “Blessed”, are predominantly the Catholics and Orthodox, today.”

      True. When Protestants here things like “Mary’s working on me” and other things that deify her, we shy away from using some of the historical terms associated with her. However, you would be wrong about it never being taught. R.C Sproul (Reformed Theologian) on http://www.renewingyourmind.com that last few Saturdays has been doing a sermon series on Mary.

      1. Fair enough. However, by doing so, you concede that the view contrary to Chrysostom could have never been the universal view of the Church. Chrysostom (and Cyril, Tertullian, and Hilary) could not have written what they written if at the very least Mary’s sinlessness was not under dispute. The Trinity was not under dispute by the ECF.

        Is this point in dispute?

        Some of the doctrines of the Church were recognized by all Church Fathers, others only by some. (The same is true, for example, in terms of which Biblical books are recognized: some were Antilegomena, which means “spoken against,” while others were universally accepted from the start).

        But Christianity isn’t confined only to those doctrines on which there’s always been 100% agreement. If the Church was so confined, she could never resolve internal theological disputes, could she?

        1. “But Christianity isn’t confined only to those doctrines on which there’s always been 100% agreement. If the Church was so confined, she could never resolve internal theological disputes, could she?”

          No. I think that there is room for diversity of opinion to the extent the early church would have recognized it (i.e. diversity pertaining to when to baptize, no diversity in Christology, diversity in Marian doctrines as understood then, no diversity in soteriology, etc.)

          God bless,
          Craig

          1. Craig. What about diversity on the Eucharist? The meaning or necessity of baptism, the Church, once saved always saved. Where is this diversity. Not to mention, diversity of thought is obvious, submission of will and opinion is Godliness.

          2. I’m not sure if you are making a serious point here. i pointed out things that the early church allowed disagreement over for a time. Your list is less concise:

            “The meaning or necessity of baptism, the Church, once saved always saved. Where is this diversity. ”

            I would imagine that the meaning and necessity of baptism are not negotiable and as for the others I am unsure of which doctrines of the Church you are speaking of.

          3. Craig
            Thanks for demanding clarification on my response….I think it needed it. My point was simply that going back in time to the early Church there was diversity of thought allowed on some of the issues. The difference is once the Church determines the correct course, ie the canon of scripture, then it is set. That is the authority of the Church. So my point, although very poorly put, was that the issues I listed are set. Canon of scripture has been set, although some Christians want to make their own canon. At some point, one goes from enjoying the liberty of diversity of thought to schismatic. Please accept my apology in that I think perhaps you were conceding at least some of what I’m saying, and speaking of the diversity of the early Church. The problem is, these issues are set. The Church has spoken. We have the canon of scripture, all 72 books, we know that the Eucharist is the body and blood of our Lord, we know Mary is a virgin. Thanks so much for your input Craig, we are so blessed to have your thoughts and presence…..warm regards.

      2. Mr. Sproul has no authority to teach for he was never sent by the Church and the list of his heresies are comprehensive from Faith and Justification to Holy Eucharist and Mass.

  8. What I find funny is that some people think that not only is Jesus rebuking His mom here, but that somehow simply making the comment “they have no more wine” is worthy of being rebuked.

    Duane

  9. ” What to me and to you” is rare in the Bible but it’s occurence is pivotal in the Vulgate ( not DR) in 2 Kings 3:13 when Eliseus says it to the king of Israel petulantly. Christ is referring Mary to the incident which I suspect she and He had recently discussed at home. Christ however used a soft tone with Mary as He referenced her to 2 Kings by this phrase.
    Why 2 Kings 3? It is literally a foretaste of the Cana miracle: Eliseus miraculously produces water in the catch basins of the wadi and this water is seen by the enemy Moabites as red blood from a distance by light distortion in the atmosphere. So seeing this blood, the Moabites incorrectly see fratricidal disunity amidst the three kings and attack to their own detriment. In both 2 Kings 3 and Cana, we have water turning red….and we have the phrase ” what to me and to you”. You are correct that the hour is that of the passion not of going public. But Christ had already gone public by bringing the first disciples to the Cana wedding…disciples He had just picked that week. That’s why Mary was fearful because she saw that Christ was going public and for all she knew He would get arrested in weeks or days. Christ was assuring her that He would not suffer the Passion quite that quick….hence He softly used Eliseus’ petulant phrase which connected Mary to 2 Kings 3 and the water into blood…but reassured her by soft tone….that His hour to suffer the Passion was far off relative to her fear which He sawin her face and heard in her tone.

  10. lol. Doing something after someone bothered you about it doesn’t necessitate a “loss” or giving in to them. False causal relationship. Unfortunate that straw men don’t hit back.

  11. 1. Mary was with John, before his death, he wrote many revelations, why he didn’t mention anything about Mary?Her death or taken to heaven?
    2. All apostle wrote book in Holy spirit why they didn’t mentioned anything about her death or taken to heaven?Why Holy spirit didn’t reveal it to them?
    3. Why we follow something not in the bible if we are truly following bible?
    4. Every congregation have there own version of bible, then why Catholic don’t incorporate the Mary death or taken to heaven belief in to there version of Bible?
    My true belief in bible , if God want to glorify or want everyone to intercede to Mary, our God would have revealed it to all apostles.
    Jesus is the mediator between father and us who intercede for us in heaven and the helper given for us is holy spirit in all our need.

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