The New Eve
The wedding at Cana
As we have seen in The incarnation prefigured by Adam,
St. Mary is not only the Mother of Christ but also his Bride, which is based on
the analogy between Adam / Eve and Christ / Mary. This is why the
second account of creation has a number of prophetic elements concerning Jesus and
Mary. The most known is the Proto-Evangelium, which foretells the battle between
the followers of Christ, the second Adam, and Satan:
I will put enmity between you
[the serpent] and the woman, and between
your offspring and her offspring. He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise
his heel (Gen 3:15).
It is traditionally believed that the bruising of the serpent’s
head announces the final victory of Mary’s offspring over Satan. This offspring
as well as the defeated “old serpent” is also mentioned in chapter 12 of
Revelation. Furthermore, as Christ is the new Adam undoing the fall of the first
Adam, Mary is the new Eve undoing the disobedience of the first Eve. More about
this in The Free Woman. Another prophetic element is:
So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to overcome the man, and
while he slept he took one of his ribs and filled up the place with flesh. From
the rib which he had taken from the man, God formed a woman and brought her to the
man. Then the man said: ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.
She shall be called women because she was taken out of man.’ For this reason a man
shall leave his father and his mother and cling to his wife and they shall become
one flesh (Gen 2:21-24).
This passage relates to the Passion of Christ, more particularly
to the opening of his side, from where blood and water poured out (Jn 19:34),
which is closely associated with Mary, who was at the foot of the cross (Jn 19:25).
To understand this, it is necessary to see Jesus’ public mission with Mary’s eyes.
This mission began with the wedding in Cana, where the host apparently ran out of
wine because Mary said to Jesus: “They have no wine” (Jn 2:1-3). According
to ancient Jewish tradition, it was the groom who organized the wedding festivities.
Running out of provisions on such an occasion would have been greatly humiliating
and cast a shadow on the marriage. Mary became aware of this situation and felt
compassion for the host family: “Having sensed the eventual disappointment of
the newly married couple and guests because of the lack of wine, the Blessed Virgin
compassionately suggested to Jesus that he intervene with his messianic power”,
according to John Paul II.
However, the guests at a feast usually do not care about the provisions.
Why therefore did Mary want her son to give them new wine? The answer is enclosed
in Jesus’ response: “Woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet
come” (Jn 2:4). We should not understand this reply as a rejection, for
Mary did not feel offended and turn sadly away from Jesus, but said to the servants:
“Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5), which shows that Jesus did accept
her intervention. In fact, he had six stone jars filled with water and transformed
it into wine (Jn 2:6-10). Jesus has thus responded positively to Mary.
It may be that Jesus disagreed with Mary on what she expected
from him on a more general level: his hour was indeed his Passion (Jn 12:23-24;
13:1; 17:1), redeeming thus his people by his blood (Heb 9:11-15). Mary, by
knowing or guessing who he was, induced him to reveal himself. Jesus, however, may
have defended himself from being seen as someone of this world (Jn 18:36).
This is why he only contradicted her on how he expected to reveal himself.
This is what he showed her by getting the six jars filled with
water and transforming it into wine, which means that he who was conceived by the
Spirit (water) will suffer in the blood (wine). This way Jesus expressed that he
will inherit no terrestrial kingdom, as the Jewish people and perhaps Mary expected
of the Messiah. The reply of Jesus to Mary: “Woman, what have you to do with
me?” (Jn 2:4), is consequently not a rejection of Mary, as Protestant theologians
often claim, but a precision concerning his future. It is the first implicit announcement
of his future passion, which Jesus will repeat several times in the course of his
mission (Lk 9:22; 18:31-33).
He revealed it first to Mary, however. This revelation was necessary,
for at this time the spirituality of the Kingdom of God was entirely unknown as
is shown, for instance, in the obstinate incredulity of the disciples regarding
Jesus’ repeated announcements of his death. So it was necessary to clarify this
point, about which Mary could not have any knowledge. This is why one cannot draw
any negative conclusion about Mary from her son’s reply, especially because Mary,
unlike the disciples, does not show any evidence of incredulity.
At the foot of the cross
The Gospel of St. John mentions no other encounter between Jesus
and his Mother in the time from Cana to the crucifixion. The encounters the other
Gospels relate happened at a distance, for Jesus refused to see Mary (Mt 12:46;
Mk 3:31; Lk 8:19), which one cannot interpret negatively either, as we
are going to see. We can therefore suppose that they did not meet between Cana and
the Passion, which corresponds to the whole duration of his mission – over three
years, according to John’s Gospel – for Jesus accomplished the miracle of Cana at
the beginning of his mission and the Passion marked its end.
This is why there is a close relationship between these two meetings:
at the marriage in Cana Jesus gave Mary the understanding that he is not a king
of this world and that he would die; at the Passion in Jerusalem this was confirmed
at their second meeting. This relationship could not have escaped Mary. And when
she saw the water and the blood flowing from Jesus’ side pierced by the soldiers
(Jn 19:31-37), she must certainly have thought back to Cana and to the water
that Jesus had transformed into wine saying to her: “My hour has not yet come.”
She surely also wondered why Jesus did not call her mother,
neither in Cana nor in Jerusalem, but each time woman (Jn 2:4; 19:26).
Though, he called her mother in front of St. John, who stood with her at
the foot of the cross and is representative of God’s people:
By the cross of Jesus stood his mother [...] When Jesus saw
his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother:
‘Woman, there is your son.’ Then
he said to the disciple: ‘There is your
mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his home
The analogy with Adam’s sleep, during which God removed a rib from
him to form Eve from it, is therefore manifest: the sleep foretells Jesus’ death
and the removing of a rib the piercing of his side, during which Mary remembered
Jesus words at Cana “my hour has not yet come”, realizing the spiritual realm
of his Kingdom. She became thus the Woman, the Bride of Christ, at the level of
his divinity and his “helper” (Gen 2:18) in view of the redemption of
all humans. This is why the Holy Virgin Mary is the spiritual Mother of all who
believe in Christ, as the ancient Eve is “the mother of all living” in the
sense of a physical descent (Gen 3:20).
At the resurrection
When Adam is awakening from his sleep, he shouts out at the sight
of Eve: “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Gen 2:21-23).
Since Adam’s sleep announces Jesus’ death, his awakening prefigures Jesus’ resurrection
and thereby suggests that Mary stood at his side when he came to life again.
There is nothing in the Gospels that mentions this explicitly.
However, they do not exclude it either. On the contrary: Mark’s Gospel mentions
three women – Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome – visiting the
tomb early on the morning of the resurrection day with the intention to anoint Jesus’
body (Mk 16:1). Matthew also mentions Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary”,
that is, the mother of James (Mt 27:56; 28:1). John only mentions Mary Magdalene
(Jn 20:1-18). In addition to Mary Magdalene and the mother of James, Luke mentions
Joanna and “other women” who were with them (Lk 24:1-11).
So where was Mary, the Mother of Jesus? It is possible that she
was with the “other women” trying to convince the skeptical Apostles that
Jesus was resuscitated (Lk 24:10-11). But why do the evangelists not mention
her with Mary Magdalene visiting the tomb? Mary should have been the most troubled,
provided that she was convinced, like the other women, that her son was dead forever.
Thus she should have been with Mary Magdalene, with whom she had already stood beneath
the cross (Jn 19:25). But apparently she is not.
When the women arrived at the tomb, they found it open but they
did not discover Jesus’ body. According to John, Mary Magdalene believed that someone
has taken away the body and was in despair about this, which shows that she, in
contrast to John, still did not understand what was happening (Jn 20:1-11).
It is improbable that Mary shared the same incredulity with Mary Magdalene, which
explains that she was not with her.
The empty tomb raises the question whether the stone was rolled
away by the two angels (Lk 24:4) in order to allow Jesus to go out of it, or
for someone else to enter. If we take into account that Jesus appeared to his disciples
in a closed room (Jn 20:19), it becomes evident that the stone was removed
to allow someone to enter, not to take the body away but for another reason. Since,
according to the prophecy of Genesis 2:23, Mary had to be present at Jesus’ “awakening”,
the person who the angel allowed to enter the tomb must have been Mary.
This is why she was the only one who had faith in the resurrection
Jesus announced to everybody.
This faith made of her a “flesh” similar to that of Christ (Gen 2:23),
that is to say, she became similar to him, not on the level of his divinity, of
course, but in the sense of having perfect faith and being without sin. She is consequently
the new Eve, a title that, in theology, was formulated because of the comparison
made by St. Paul between the ancient and the new Adam, who is Christ (1 Co 15,
THE FREE WOMAN
THE ERA OF THE MILLENNIUM