The Wedding at Cana Reflected in the Family
Pope Francis celebrated the first Mass of his Latin American trip on June 6, 2015, in Ecuador’s Semanes Park. The Pope’s homily focused on the role of Mary in the Gospel story of the Wedding at Cana (see John 2:1-11), inviting the audience to “journey with her to Cana.” The Pope chose three characteristics of Mary to meditate on – her motherhood, her prayerfulness, and her willingness to act.
Mary’s motherhood is seen when she pays attention to the needs of the newlyweds at Cana, noticing when they have run out of wine for their guests. The Pope noted that wine is a sign of “happiness, love, and plenty,” and that many families today have also run out of “wine” due to loneliness, unemployment, illness, and other difficulties. He highlighted the plights of youth, women, and the elderly when they experience difficult family lives. Mary, an “attentive and concerned” mother, shuns self-centeredness to realize when others no longer have wine in their lives.
Secondly, Mary exhibits prayerfulness when she “approaches Jesus with confidence” to make known the newlyweds’ problem to Him. The Pope said that the family is a school of prayer where people are reminded that they do not live in isolation but must be concerned about the well-being of loved ones around them. In the family, “we are one and we have a neighbor close at hand.”
Finally, Mary’s willingness to act is seen as she turns to the servants at the wedding feast and tells them to follow Jesus’ commands. Mary’s words are also directed at us; we should do what Jesus tells us, that is, give our lives in the service of love. The Pope emphasized the family as a place where people can serve one another in love. All in the family deserve this love; “no one is rejected, everyone is worth the same.”
Pope Francis went on to speak about the family as an important contributor to the common good of society. The family is “the nearest hospital,” “the first school for the young,” “the best home for the elderly,” and “a small Church.” We need to put our efforts into strengthening the family because it is one institution which “cannot be replaced.” The Pope requested that the audience pray for the Ordinary Synod of the Family, that God “can take even what might seem to us impure, scandalous or frightening, and turn it…into a miracle. The family today needs this miracle.”
The Pope ended his homily on a hopeful note, saying that for the family “the finest wines are yet to be tasted.” To those who are experiencing difficulties, to those on the outskirts of society, to those that “feel that all their jars have been broken,” Jesus “pour[s] out the best wines.”