“The faith of the Church was born at Cana”. This is the phrase that serves as a key to understanding the catechesis proposed by Pope Francis this morning, during the customary Wednesday Papal Audience. When he came into St. Peter’s Square, which was inundated by sunlight, the Pope greeted a group of couples who had come to Rome to celebrate the fiftieth wedding anniversary, calling them “a beautiful witness” and an example for young people.
The Gospel passage that tells the miracle of Cana, Francis notes, is “a kind of ‘gate’, in which are carved the words and expressions that illuminate the entire mystery of Christ and open the hearts of the disciples of faith.” This first miracle is also the “first sign of God’s mercy”. First of all, the Pope points out that Jesus’ presence at Cana, together with his disciples, is actually “one family”, through which Christ “manifests as the bridegroom of the people of God, announced by the prophets,” revealing all “the depth of the relationship that unites us to Him: it is a new Pledge of love. What is the foundation of our faith? An act of mercy through which Jesus bound us to Himself.”
Christian life serves as a response “to this love”, making sure that our relationship with Jesus is like a “story of two people who love each other”, “like the two beloved” described in the Song of Songs. “Everything else comes as a result of this relationship. The Church is the family of Jesus in which He pours His love; this is the love the Church keeps and wants to give everyone.” Then, the Pope focuses on the Virgin Mary’s phrase: “They have no wine.” Francis notes that water “is necessary for life, whereas wine is the expression of the abundance and the joy of the feast. A wedding party with wine, the newlyweds feel ashamed. Just think of a wedding party drinking tea, it would be a shame – he jokes -. Wine is necessary for the feast.” A second observation is on another phrase pronounced by the Virgin Mary, addressing the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” It is curious that these are “the last words reported in the Gospels: they are her inheritance to all of us. Even today, Our Lady tells all of us: ‘Do whatever he tells you (Jesus), do it’. It is the legacy she has left us.”
This marriage, Francis continues, “is a new covenant, and the servants of the Lord, that is, the whole Church, is entrusted with the new mission: ‘Whatever he tells you!’. Serving the Lord means listening to oand appllyingh His Word. It is the simple, but essential recommendation of the Mother of Jesus and the program of Christian life. For each of us, drawing from the amphora means trusting God’s Word to test its effectiveness in life.” Every day, the Father continues “to reserve the best wine for our salvation, as it continues to flow from the pierced side of the Lord.”
The conclusion of the story, he closes, “sounds like a sentence: ‘This, at Cana of Galilee, was the beginning of the signs performed by Jesus; He revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him’. The Wedding at Cana is much more than the simple story of the first miracle”. This song is like a treasure chest, where Christ “keeps the secret of his person and the purpose of his coming: The groom opens the wedding, which takes place in the Paschal Mystery. With this wedding, Jesus binds his disciples to himself with a new and definitive Covenant. At Cana, Jesus’ disciples become his family; the faith of the Church was born at Cana. We are all invited to the wedding because the new wine never ends.”