Day Four – December 2, 2023 – Immaculate Conception Novena

The Fourth Beatitude: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (Mt 5:6)

Only two Gospel writers give us Jesus’ family-tree: Matthew and Luke.. Matthew’s version of Jesus’ genealogy has some unique features. Among other peculiarities, it names three important women. One of those women was Rahab. Rahab was the mother of Boaz. Rahab was also a prostitute.

But salvation history remembers Rahab for something more than her sinful past. It remembers her for her thirst for salvation. One day, when some unexpected Jewish spies came knocking at her door, Rahab, desperate for deliverance, cut a deal. She would guarantee their deliverance if they would guarantee hers and her family’s. The deal was made. The spies returned home safely. And Rahab sat at her window awaiting the day of deliverance. And below her hopeful gaze hung a scarlet chord. A sign of the hope of salvation yet to come.

Rahab was not the only Jewish woman to thirst for salvation. More than 1500 years after Rahab, another female relative of Jesus would also express her spiritual thirst: Mary, His mother. The setting was not Canaan, but Cana. Mary was present at a wedding feast. Jesus and His disciples were there as well.

As John’s Gospel relates, in the midst of feasting Mary realized that the wine had run out. Without giving it a second thought, she turned to Jesus.

They have no wine. (Jn 2:3)

 To which Jesus replied,

Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come. (Jn 2:4)

Jesus’ response was not a challenge to her authority. It was an unveiling of her faith. He was ready to satisfy a thirst, but was she ready to satisfy it with Him?

The key to unlocking the mystery of Mary’s presence at the wedding feast at Cana and the way Jesus responds to her request is in the word hour. Jesus’ hour had not yet come. In the Gospel of John the hour refers to Jesus’ Passion. Thus at Cana, Jesus was telling His mother, “I am ready to work the miracle; are you ready for me to begin my journey to the Cross?” In essence Mary’s response there at Cana, anticipated His own on Calvary, I thirst.

In immediately summoning the servants to do whatever He tells you, Mary was essentially giving her yes to Christ.

“Yes, I’m ready for salvation to come.”
“Yes, I’m ready to begin this work.”
“Yes, I thirst for righteousness.

And once more in Cana as in Canaan a scarlet sign was produced. At Jesus’ word the clear water became scarlet red wine. Or as the English poet Richard Crashaw wrote,

When Christ at Cana’s feast by pow’r divine

Inspir’d cold water with the warmth of wine;

See! cried they, while in red’ning tide it gush’d,

The bashful stream hath seen its God, and blush’d.’[1]

We are told by the secular influencers of today that hungering and thirsting for righteousness is something that we ourselves should blush about. The truth is that they are afraid. They are afraid of what the hunger and thirst for righteousness can do. It raises up apostles. It forges martyrs. It enflames divine lovers. In a word, it molds saints.

Like her Son[2], Our Blessed Mother hungered and thirsted for righteousness her whole life. It was especially true at Cana. And now she is satisfied. Now she reigns in heaven.

In contemplating Mary at Cana today, try to watch her actions and listen to her response. Also try to imagine the look of love between the mother and her Son. To see the hunger and thirst for righteousness in their eyes as Jesus is about to enact His first public miracle and start the clock on His approaching hour.

Reflecting upon ourselves we can also ask:

Am I hungering and thirsting for righteousness? Or am I hungering and thirsting for something else in life? More money? More authority? More of the spotlight? What does Mary’s faith at Cana teach me? How does her example of thirsting for Christ’s work of redemption challenge me?

Seize the day and make it all Hers!


Fr. Christopher Etheridge, IVE


[1] Andrew Hill’s translation of Crashaw’s Latin verse. See

[2] Cf. Lk 22:15