Bishop Terry’s Homily from the Lourdes Grotto Mass, May 2018…

So how many of you watched the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19? I know it was a really difficult choice for some between the cup final and the wedding. There were crowds queuing up at Windsor for days before in order to get the best views and witness in some way this national event. And it was a national event. Everyone knew about it and I would say that the majority of people watched it avidly or at least took a peep at it on the TV in between other things.

A young couple really in love with one another, very different but well matched, who want to embark on life’s journey together as one, seeking happiness and fulfilment, open to bringing new life into the world – isn’t it lovely? They may be royals, but they share the same aspirations as most. I suspect that is why so many wanted to watch, somehow to take part in the wedding celebration. And how lucky were those who got the golden tickets? Is there anyone here, I wonder?

There was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.

Wedding invitation lists are always a bit tricky, aren’t they? Who do you invite and who do you avoid inviting. Who has got to be there lest you are persecuted and punished for the rest of your lives and who do you miss out, lest you get hot and bothered on the day by their outrageous behaviour? It has never been easy. Though perhaps the particular wedding featured in today’s Gospel might have been a little simpler. In those days, pretty well all your relations would have to be invited and in such a small village as Cana, that would probably mean just about everyone.

So you can imagine how the wine might quickly run out. What an embarrassment! Everyone would have known and it would have been a perpetual disgrace for the newlyweds for the rest of their lives. It wouldn’t have been the Marriage Feast at Cana, but the wedding where that silly couple never got it right from the start! It’s Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who sees and reacts to the possible disaster. I suspect she would probably have been related to the couple in some way, and therefore Jesus would have been a relative also. She knows what life is like in Palestine at that time, she knows how people’s tongues can wag and how sharp they can be and she decides that something must be done to save the day.

….the mother of Jesus said to him,“They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her,“Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Jesus seems to want to ignore her; “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” But she knows that he has heard her and will not refuse her. Turning to the servants she says;“Do whatever he tells you.” Imminent disaster is turned to triumph. “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.”

Like the couple, we surely must realise that Mary is looking at each of us with eyes of compassion and a spirit ready to come to our aid. She sees what is happening in our lives and wants to support us and ensure that all is well with us. No matter how unworthy or abandoned by others we feel, we should hear Mary turn to Jesus and ask him to intervene. Her final word to all is, “Do whatever he tells you.” And what at first glance appears to be disaster will be turned into triumph; what seems to be an impossible problem suddenly becomes a moment of blessing.

“Do whatever he tells you.” May we hear these words said to each one of us personally here in Lourdes during our pilgrimage, and may they fill us with confidence, knowing that, through his mother’s intercession, Jesus will bring good wine out of the poorer sort, joy out of sadness, blessings out of difficulties.