John 2:1-11 – The Coredemptrix at the Wedding in Cana
For the next eighteen years, Jesus lived as a carpenter’s Son, learning and practicing his foster-father’s trade and enjoying His family. Eventually, though, this had to change. Jesus still had a mission He needed to fulfill. St. John relates that “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.” (79) Those present may not have known it, but the stage was set for the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. When the hosts ran out of wine, Mary approached Jesus. “They have no wine,” she told Him simply. (80) “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come,” He replied. (81) Other translations read, “Woman, what is this to you and to Me? My hour has not yet come.” (82) This might seem at first glance to be a refusal of Mary’s implicit request. However, Jesus may actually have been saying something to the effect of “Are you ready now, Mother, for this mission to begin in earnest? Are you ready for My hour to come? Are you ready to give Me up? Are you ready to surrender yourself? Are you ready to suffer more than you ever have? If you say “yes,” we will start the journey toward this climax of our mission. Are you ready?” (83) Mary, with perfect understanding of her Son’s meaning, once again gave her consent with her humble words to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” (84) The “Woman” (notice Jesus’ use of the word, connecting Mary with the “Woman” Coredemptrix of Genesis 3:15) was indeed ready to climb toward the summit of human Redemption. (85) She was ready to walk the road toward the Cross.
John 19:25 – The Climax of Coredemption
St. John recounts that the Mother of Jesus stood at the foot of the Cross. She looked up at her divine Son, contemplating His battered Body, meditating on His pierced hands and feet and on the crown of thorns that pierced His head, and suffering more than words could say. Her role as Coredemptrix reached its climax as she stood there, as always, saying “yes” to God’s plan, sharing intimately in her Son’s suffering and offering her own compassion, her own co-suffering, to the Father for the Redemption of the human race. (86) As a mother, she certainly would have loved to scream at her Son’s torturers, to cry out that He was innocent, to stop His suffering, but she did not. She gave up her longings, her rights, as a mother because she knew why her Son was choosing to suffer so violently, and she knew why she was also choosing to suffer. (87) She knew it was for love. She knew it was for the reconciliation of God and humanity. So she chose, as Lumen Gentium #58 teaches, to persevere with Jesus even to the Cross, “enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of His suffering, [as she] associated herself with His sacrifice in her mother’ heart, and lovingly consent[ed] to the immolation of this Victim which was born of her.” (88) As Coredemptrix, she gave another painful fiat, uniting her will with God’s will, offering Jesus to His Father for the salvation of humanity, and joining her sufferings with His to help merit a long-awaited Redemption. (89)
Revelation 12:1-6 – The Coredemptrix in Eternity
Since a prophecy of Mary Coredemptrix appeared in the first pages of Sacred Scripture (Genesis 3:15), it is fitting that a vision of Mary Coredemptrix should appear final pages of Sacred Scripture. In Revelation 12, St. John describes an amazing vision:
"A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth. Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadems. Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth. She gave birth to a Son, a male Child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod." (90)
The Fathers of the Church, and many theologians following them, have identified this Woman of Revelation as Mary, the mother of the Redeemer who stood beside the Cross, suffering greatly as she helped to gain eternal salvation for the human race and give birth to the Church of her Son. (91) Rev. Stefano Maria Manelli notes, “…according to a biblical-theological exegesis of [Rev.] 12:1, we find described in plain language the direct and immediate coredemptive suffering of Mary who gives birth to each of us as her ‘son.’” (92) Because of her immaculate nature, Mary did not suffer when she physically gave birth to Jesus, but she most definitely did suffer horribly in the rebirth of the human race as she stood at the foot of the Cross, sharing in the sufferings of her Son and receiving from Him the role of “spiritual mother” to all of humanity as represented by the Beloved Disciple, St. John. (93) Furthermore, Mary, the Woman of Genesis, the Woman of Revelation, and the “co-redeeming Mother,” eternally shares in the mystical battle against the dragon (or serpent or Satan), who is waging “war against the rest of her offspring,” still suffering spiritually in order to save the souls of her spiritual children, providing them the graces they need for their salvation, and knowing that the ultimate victory belongs to her Son and herself as Redeemer and Coredemptrix. (94)
79. John 2:1-2, NAB.
80. John 2:3, NAB.
81. John 2:4, NAB.
82. Miravalle, Introduction, 35.
83. Cf. Ibid.
84. John 2:5, NAB.
85. Manelli, 96.
86. Most, 160-162; Manelli, 93-94; Miravalle, “With Jesus”, 45-50.
87. Manelli, 96-97.
88. Vatican II Council, “Lumen Gentium,” 417.
89. See the sections on Tradition and the Magisterium for more commentary on Mary at the foot of the Cross.
90. Rev. 12:1-5, NAB.
91. Miravalle, “With Jesus”, 51-54; Miravalle, “Battle Array,” 41.
92. Manelli, 101; emphasis original.
93. Ibid.; Miravalle, “With Jesus”, 53.
94. Ibid., 102; Ibid.; Rev. 12:17, NAB