The pope's "encouraging whispers" for desperate families
GUAYAQUIL — “For families, the richest, deepest and most beautiful things are yet to come,” Pope Francis said in his first homily in Ecuador, the first leg of his apostolic voyage and homecoming to Latin America.
Landing in the nation’s capital on Quito on Sunday afternoon, the Pope flew on Monday to Guayaquil, the nation’s major port city, which enjoys stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. There, in boiling temperatures, he celebrated a special Mass for the Family, with over one million faithful in attendance.
Reflecting on the Gospel of Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding feast of Cana, Pope Francis said the water could be turned into wine, and the needs of the guests met, because “a woman — the Virgin Mary — was attentive, left her concerns in God’s hands and acted sensibly and courageously.”
“Mary is not a ‘demanding’ mother, a mother-in-law who revels in our lack of experience, our mistakes and the things we forget to do,” he said. “Mary is a Mother! She is there, attentive and concerned.”
Therefore, even if our own family is “not ideal, nor what we dreamt of, nor what ‘should have been,’” with Mary’s help, and our willingness to “do whatever” Jesus tells us, miracles can happen, and the finest wine may be yet to come.
Here below we publish a full translation of the Pope’s homily.
The Gospel passage which we have just heard is the first momentous sign in the Gospel according to John. Mary’s maternal concern is seen in her plea to Jesus: “They have no wine”, and Jesus’ reference to “his hour” will be more fully understood later, in the story of his Passion. This is good, because it allows us to see Jesus’ eagerness to teach, to accompany, to heal and to give joy, thanks to the words of his Mother: “They have no wine”.
The wedding at Cana is repeated in every generation, in every family, in every one of us and our efforts to let our hearts find rest in strong, fruitful and joyful love. Let us make room for Mary, “the Mother” as the evangelist calls her. Let us journey with her to Cana.
Mary is attentive in the course of this wedding feast, she is concerned for the needs of the newlyweds. She is not closed in on herself, worried only about her little world. Her love makes her “outgoing” towards others. So she notices that the wine has run out. Wine is a sign of happiness, love and plenty. How many of our adolescents and young people sense that these are no longer found in their homes? How many women, sad and lonely, wonder when love left, when it slipped away from their lives? How many elderly people feel left out of family celebrations, cast aside and longing each day for a little love? This lack of “wine” can also be due to unemployment, illness and difficult situations which our families may experience.
Mary is not a “demanding” mother, a mother-in-law who revels in our lack of experience, our mistakes and the things we forget to do. Mary is a Mother! She is there, attentive and concerned.
But Mary approaches Jesus with confidence, Mary prays. She does not go to the steward, she immediately tells her Son of the newlyweds’ problem. The response she receives seems disheartening: “What does it have to do with you and me? My hour has not yet come” (v. 4). But she nonetheless places the problem in God’s hands. Her concern to meet the needs of others hastens Jesus’ hour. Mary was a part of that hour, from the cradle to the cross. She was able “to turn a stable into a home for Jesus, with poor swaddling clothes and an abundance of love” (Evangelii Gaudium, 286). She accepted us as her sons and daughters when the sword pierced her heart. She teaches us to put our families in God’s hands, to pray, to kindle the hope which shows us that our concerns are also God’s concerns.