Angelus address by Pope Francis on the 20th January 2019

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. Jn2,1-11) we find the story 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! An embarrassment for those people. The Madonna notices it and, since she is the mother, goes straight to Jesus. The Scriptures, especially the prophets, indicating the wine as a typical feature of the Messianic banquet (cf. Am from 9.13 to 14; Joel 2:24; Is 25.6). Water is necessary to live, but 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 into wine – “for the ritual purification of the Jews” (v. 6) – it was the habit before entering the house, of 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 he says, 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 he says, do it”. To serve the Lord means to listen and practice his word. It is the simple, essential recommendation of the Mother of Jesus.


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. The 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: they have no wine”. And then, she will come back to us and tell us: “Whatever he says, 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 she speaks to the Son, and He will surprise us.

May the Blessed Virgin help us to follow her invitation: “Whatever he tells you, do it”, so that we can fully open ourselves to Jesus, recognizing in everyday life the signs of his vivifying presence.

COLLECT PRAYER Almighty ever-living God, who govern all things, both in heaven and on earth, mercifully hear the pleading of your people and bestow your peace on our times. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

 John 2:1-12