Jesus' "Hour" Was Fullness of Revelation, Retreatants Told

Preacher at Vatican Focuses on the Passion and Death

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 14, 2003 ( God’s revelation in Jesus’ life reached its fullness at Our Lord’s “hour,” the time of his passion and death, retreatants at the Vatican heard.

Archbishop Angelo Comastri, who is directing the Spiritual Exercises attended by the Pope, focused on the final hours of Jesus’ life, in a meditation this morning, the next-to-last day of the weeklong retreat.

Jesus speaks about his “hour” for the first time to his Mother, in the Gospel of John, at the wedding of Cana, when Mary told him, “Son, they have no wine,” recalled the archbishop, speaking in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel.

“It is the most beautiful prayer, the exposure of poverty,” he said. “Jesus replies to his Mother: ‘Woman, my hour has not yet come.’ He wishes to say to the Virgin: ‘Look, Mother, I will do the miracle — in fact, he will — but, that miracle reveals another miracle, it refers to ‘my hour.’ The real miracle, the authentic transformation of the water into wine, I will do in that moment.

“Therefore, Mother, you who have a docile heart, look in that direction, in the direction of ‘my hour.'”

In recounting Jesus’ “hour,” Chapter 13 of John’s Gospel begins with these words: “When Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”

“What is the point beyond which one cannot love any more?” Archbishop Comastri asked. “It is death. Indeed, on the cross, John puts these words on Jesus’ lips: ‘It is finished.'”

“It is the word-resume of the whole of Jesus’ life, the last word,” he said. “It means: ‘I have loved to the end,’ namely, I have revealed the mystery of the love of God; I have told men who God is.” The cross, the preacher said, “cries out this truth to humanity: ‘I love you!'”

This is the face of God revealed by Christ and, in this “gesture of love” Mary is involved.

“Mary is there, next to Jesus, and Mary gives her Son,” said the archbishop of the Marian Shrine of Loreto. “At that moment, she is perfectly attuned to the mystery of God, to the mystery of God-love. And, the moment she gives him, she is again fruitful. To the point that Jesus, before dying, says to his Mother: ‘Woman, behold thy son.'”

According to the archbishop, Jesus wants to say: “Mother, the moment that you give your life with me, you will recover an extraordinary fruitfulness, an immense maternity: You will become the Mother of believers. Because of this, do not think of me; think of them. Behold your son.”

And, turning to John, Jesus said: “Behold your mother: Receive this gift. I, at the moment I am dying, have given the world everything, and I also give it my Mother’s maternity, so that it will become a sign and song of the love of God,” the preacher continued.

“Mary is never a wall that impedes an encounter with God,” he concluded. “Mary is the maternal hand that leads us toward the mystery of the love of God, as she is the greatest expert.”

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