St. Peter's Square
Sunday, 20 January 2019
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Last Sunday, with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, we began the journey of the liturgical time called "ordinary": the time in which to follow Jesus in his public life, in the mission for which the Father sent him into the world. In today's Gospel (cf. Jn 2: 1-11) we find the account of the first of Jesus' miracles. The first of these miraculous signs takes place in the village of Cana, in Galilee, during a wedding party. It is not accidental that at the beginning of Jesus' public life there is a wedding ceremony, because in him God has married humanity: this is the good news, even if those who invited him do not yet know that at their table is seated the Son of God and that the true spouse is He. In fact, all the mystery of the sign of Cana is founded on the presence of this divine spouse, Jesus, who begins to reveal himself.Jesus manifests himself as the spouse of the people of God, announced by the prophets, and reveals to us the depth of the relationship that unites us to him: it is a new covenant of love.
In the context of the Alliance the meaning of the symbol of wine, which is at the center of this miracle, is fully understood. Just when the party is at its peak, the wine is finished; Our Lady notices it and tells Jesus: "They have no wine" (v. 3). Because it would have been bad to continue the party with water! A fool, for those people. Our Lady realizes it and, since she is a mother, she immediately goes to Jesus. The Scriptures, especially the Prophets, indicated wine as a typical element of the messianic feast (cf. Am 9,13-14; Gl 2,24; ). Water is necessary to live, but the wine expresses the abundance of the banquet and the joy of the party. A party without wine? I do not know ... Turning the water of the amphora used in wine "for the ritual purification of the Jews" (v. 6) - it was the habit: before entering the house, purifying oneself - Jesus fulfills an eloquent sign: he transforms the Law of Moses in the Gospel, bearer of joy.
And then, let us look at Mary: the words that Mary addresses to the servants come to crown the spousal framework of Cana: "Whatever he tells you, do it" (v. 5). Even today, Our Lady tells us all: "Whatever you say, do it". These words are a precious inheritance that our Mother has left us. And indeed servants obey in Cana. "Jesus said to them: Fill the jars with water. And they filled them to the brim. He said to them again: Now take it and bring it to the one who directs the banquet. And they brought them "(verses 7-8). In this marriage, a New Covenant is really stipulated and the new mission is entrusted to the servants of the Lord, that is to the whole Church: "Whatever you say, do it". To serve the Lord means to listen and practice his word. It is the simple, essential recommendation of the Mother of Jesus, it is the program of life of the Christian.
I would like to highlight an experience that surely many of us have had in life. When we are in difficult situations, when problems occur that we do not know how to solve, when we often feel anxiety and anguish, when we lack the joy, go to Our Lady and say: "We have no wine. Wine is finished: look how I am, look at my heart, look at my soul ". Tell the Mother. And she will go to Jesus to say: "Look at this, look at this: it has no wine". And then, he will come back to us and tell us: "Whatever you say, do it".
For each of us, to draw from the amphora is equivalent to trusting the Word and the Sacraments to experience God's grace in our life. Then we too, like the table master who tasted water turned into wine, can exclaim: "You have kept good wine aside until now" (v. 10). Jesus always surprises us. We speak to the Mother because you speak to the Son, and He will surprise us.
May she, the Blessed Virgin help us to follow her invitation: "Whatever she tells you, do it", so that we can fully open ourselves to Jesus, recognizing in everyday life the signs of his vivifying presence.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
Today I have two pains in my heart: Colombia and the Mediterranean.
I wish to assure my closeness to the Colombian people, after the serious terrorist attack last Thursday at the National Police School. I pray for the victims and their families, and I continue to pray for the path of peace in Colombia.
I am thinking of the 170 victims, shipwrecked in the Mediterranean. They were looking for a future for their lives. Victims, perhaps, of human traffickers. We pray for them and for those who are responsible for what happened.
"Ave or Maria, ...".
In a few days I will leave for Panama - [answering the cries from the square:] you too? -, where the World Youth Day will take place from 22 to 27 January. I ask you to pray for this very beautiful and important event on the path of the Church.
This week the Message for the World Communications Day will be published, which this year contains a reflection on the communities of the network and the human community. Internet and social media are a resource of our time; an opportunity to stay in touch with others, to share values and projects, and to express the desire to make a community. The network can also help us to pray in community, to pray together.
This is why Father Fornos is with me: he is the international director of the Apostolate of Prayer. I would like to introduce you to the official platform of the World Network of Prayer of the Pope: Click To Pray. Here I will insert the intentions and requests for prayer for the Church's mission.
I especially invite you young people to download the Click To Pray app, continuing to pray with me the Rosary for Peace, especially during the World Youth Day in Panama.
The first International Education Day, established by the United Nations to highlight and promote the essential role of education in human and social development, is also celebrated on 24 January. I encourage, in this context, the effort of UNESCO to make peace grow in the world through education, and I hope that this is made accessible to all and that it is integral, free from ideological colonization. A prayer and a wish to all educators and educators: good work!
I greet all of you, dear pilgrims and faithful Romans! In particular, the parish groups from Barcelona and Poland: I see so many Polish flags here! The students and professors of Badajoz (Spain); and the many girls from Panama - you came to get me!
I greet the faithful of Nereto and Formia; those of Saints Fabiano and Venanzio in Rome; and the young people of San Giuseppe della Pace in Milan.
A special greeting to the Italian Friends of Raoul Follereau and to the sick people of Hansen's disease, as well as to those close to them on the path of human and social care and redemption.
I wish everyone a happy Sunday. Please do not forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!