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Angelus Address: On the Miracle at the Wedding of Cana, ‘Do Whatever He Tells You’

‘To Serve the Lord Means to Listen to His Word and to Put It into Practice’

Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave January 20, 2019, before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

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Before the Angelus:

 Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Last Sunday, with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, we began the journey of “Ordinary” Liturgical Time, 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. John 2:1-11) we find the account of Jesus’ first miracle. The first of these miraculous signs is carried out in the village of Cana in Galilee, during a wedding celebration. It’s no accident that placed, at the beginning of Jesus’ public life, is a nuptial ceremony, because in Him God has married humanity. This is the Good News, even if those who invited Him didn’t know yet that the Son of God was seated at their table and that He is the true Groom. In fact, the whole mystery of the sign of Cana is founded on the presence of this Divine Groom, Jesus, who begins to reveal Himself. Jesus manifests Himself as the Groom of the People of God, proclaimed by the prophets, and it reveals to us the depth of the relationship that unites us to Him: it’s a new Covenant of love.

Understood fully, in the context of the Covenant, is the meaning of the symbol of wine, which is at the center of this miracle. In fact, when the celebration is at its height, the wine is finished. Our Lady realizes it and says to Jesus: “They have no wine” (v. 3) because it would have been awful to continue the celebration with water! – a sorry figure for those people. Our Lady realizes it and, as she is mother, she goes immediately to Jesus. The Scriptures, especially the Prophets, indicated wine as a typical element of the messianic banquet (Cf. Amos 9:13-14; Joel 2:24; Isaiah 25:6). Water is necessary to live, but wine expresses the abundance of the banquet and the joy of the celebration. A celebration without wine? I don’t know . . .

Changing into wine the water of the stone jars used “for the Jewish rites of purification (v. 6), — it was the custom: before entering a house to purify oneself — Jesus carries out an eloquent sign: He transforms the Law of Moses into the Gospel, bearer of joy.

And then we look at Mary: Mary’s words addressed to the servants crown the spousal picture of Cana: ”Do whatever He tells you” (v. 5) Also today, Our Lady says to us all: “Do whatever He tells you.” These words are a precious heritage that our Mother has left us. And, in fact, at Cana the servants obey. “Jesus says to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them again, ‘Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast.’ So they took it” (vv. 7-8). In this wedding, a truly New Covenant is stipulated and to the Lord’s servants, namely to the whole Church, the new mission is entrusted: “Do whatever He tells you.” To serve the Lord means to listen to His word and to put it into practice. It’s the simple and essential recommendation of Jesus’ Mother, it’s the Christian’s program of life.

I would like to stress an experience that many of us have surely had in life. When we are in difficult situations when problems come that we don’t know how to resolve when we often feel anxiety and anguish, when we lack joy, we should go to Our Lady and say: “We don’t have wine. The wine is finished: look how I am, look at my heart, look at my soul. “ We must say it to <our> Mother And She will go to Jesus to say: “Look at him, look at her: he/she doesn’t have wine.” And then She will turn to us and say: “Do whatever He tells you.”

To draw from the jars is, for each one of us, to entrust ourselves to the Word and to the Sacraments to experience God’s grace in our life. So we also, as the steward who tasted the water that had become wine, can exclaim: “You have kept the good wine until now” (v. 10). Jesus always surprises us. Let us speak to <our> Mother so that She will speak to <her> Son, and He will surprise us.

May She, the Holy Virgin help us to follow her invitation: “Do whatever He tells you,” so that we can open ourselves fully to Jesus, recognizing in our everyday life the signs of His vivifying presence.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

 

 After the Angelus:

 Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today I have two sorrows in my heart: Colombia and the Mediterranean.

I want to assure my closeness to the Colombian people, after last Thursday’s grave terrorist attack on the National School of the Police. 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 seeking a future for their life — victims, perhaps, of traffickers of human beings. Let us pray for them and for those who are responsible for what happened.

“Hail Mary . . . “

In a few days, I will leave for Panama [responding to the shouts in the Square]  you too? –, where the World Youth Day will be held from January 22-27. I ask you to pray for this very beautiful and important event in the Church’s journey.

This week the Message for the World Day of Social Communications will be published, which this year contains a reflection on the network community and the human community. The Internet and social media are a resource of our time, an occasion to be in contact with others, to share values and plans, and to express the desire to be a community. The network can also help us to pray in community, to pray together. Therefore, Father Fornos is with me: he is the International Director of the Apostleship of Prayer. I would like to present to you the official platform of the Pope’s Global Prayer Network: “Click to Pray.” I will insert here the intentions and prayer requests for the Church’s mission. I invite young people especially to download the App “Click to Pray,“ continuing to pray together with me the Rosary for peace, particularly during the World Youth Day in Panama.

Held also on January 24 is the International Day of Education, instituted by the United Nations to highlight and promote the essential role of education in human and social development. In this realm, I encourage UNESCO’s effort to make peace grow in the world through education, and I hope that it will be made accessible to all and that it be integral, and free of ideological colonization — a prayer and good wish to all men and women educators: good work!

I greet all of you, dear pilgrims and Roman faithful! 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 numerous girls from Panama – you have come to take me!

I greet the faithful of Nereto and of Formia, those of Saints Fabiano and Venanzio in Rome, and the young people of Saint Joseph of Peace in Milan.

A special greeting goes to the Italian Association Friends of Raoul Follereau and to the sick persons with Hansen’s Disease, as well as to all those that are close to them in the path of care and human and social redemption.

I wish you all a happy Sunday. Please, don’t forget to pray for me.

Enjoy your lunch and goodbye!

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

 

 

About Virginia Forrester

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