Thursday, May 10, 2007

"They have no wine."

Below is the homily given by General Minister of the Franciscan Order Br. José Rodríguez Carballo on the Feast of Blessed Mary Mediatrix of Graces:

Dear Brothers and Sisters, May the Lord give you peace!
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Today we celebrate the Feast of Blessed Mary Mediatrix of Graces, the patroness of this Church and of our street; the protector and Mediatrix of this Fraternity and of this district. For us who daily break the bread of the Word and of the Eucharist in this Church, who live on this street, it is a day of celebration. And for us who are present here today, the feast is also felt in a particular way because of the presence of our confreres the Presidents of our Conferences which are spread throughout the world.
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The feast strengthens our closeness, communion and fraternal love and, therefore, we can confess with the Psalmist: How good it is for the brothers and sisters to be together. The feast strengthens our hope, because even if we feel weak, fragile and in need, we know that Mary, the “full of grace”, “the co-redeemer with the Redeemer, the Mediatrix beside the mediator”, is there, ready to intercede for us, to present our needs to her Son –“they have no wine” – as she did in Cana one day. The feast nourishes our faith, because we know that Jesus is ready to transform our water into wine, our lack of love into love, as He did in Cana through the intercession of Mary, His and our mother. The feast fills us with joy, because we know that, at home or in the “cloister of the world”, Mary is always close to us like a mother, that she loves and nourishes us like a mother, that she guides and accompanies us in our journey towards Jesus. Let us celebrate! Let our hearts rejoice because, in Mary, God has blessed us and has made His face of peace and mercy shine on all of us. Let us celebrate! Let us praise the Lord, let us rejoice, because, in Mary, the Lord has given us the mother and Mediatrix of grace, the advocate of sinners, the queen of mercy.
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But let us also accept, with an open and generous heart, the message which the Lord communicates to us on this day of celebration through the readings proclaimed. We heard “They have no wine”. Let us take note that Mary did not say “there is no more wine”, but “they have no wine”. This is more than a shade of meaning. The accent is not placed on the absence of wine, but on the situation in which the people present at the wedding found themselves.
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“They have no wine”. This, my dear brothers and sisters, is the reality of the Old Covenant, symbolised in the “the wedding at Cana in Galilee”. In the Old Covenant, at the heart of which the Torah given to Israel is found, there was observance, but no love; joy was missing.
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Here, then, is the first application to our life. Christian life, the religious life, is an agreement, a covenant between God and each one of us. In this agreement, however, it can happen that the wine is missing, that is, love, mercy and joy. Everything then becomes arid, sterile; life loses its meaning, our witness loses its joy, our journey becomes burdensome and sad, fidelity is easily transformed into simple observance of norms which, without the wine of love, mercy and joy, are reduced to slavery. Could it be that a little wine, love, is missing in our life and in that of our Entities?
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If this is our situation, the situation of our Entities and Conferences, Mary is there to say to Jesus for us: “They have no wine”. The sign of wine, in the text, is of a prevalently christological nature, but Mary had a particular role: she, through her kind intervention, pushes her Son the reveal His glory. In this way, Mary is truly the Mediatrix of the revelation of Jesus and of the faith of the disciples. Mary does not substitute for Jesus, she pleads with Him.
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The duty of Mary is not only that of pleading with Jesus to fulfil His first miracle, she herself is presented as a sign in so far as she is a faithful woman, having said “yes”, because she believed, because she loved; Mary was joyful, because she was sure of the fidelity of God to His promises (cf. Lk 1, 45-55).
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The fidelity of Mary is made up of detachment and poverty, of contemplation and cross, of availability and trust. Mary began by believing in the fidelity of God; her fidelity was based on Him, to whom “nothing is impossible” (Lk 1, 37) and who “looked upon His lowly handmaid” (Lk 1, 48). The fidelity of Mary knew difficult and painful moments: she did not understand the hidden meaning of her Son’s reply in the temple (cf. Lk 2, 50) and suffered His harrowing martyrdom while at the foot of the cross (cf. Jn 19, 25). But her fidelity, growing in awareness and in fruitfulness, was expressed in a serene and silent joy.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters, there is no lack of moments of crisis in our life also. Wine can be lacking, at times, in our life. Keeping in mind the first miracle of Jesus and what Mary did, this is the time to be cheerful in hope (cf. Rm 12, 12). It is the time to rekindle the will to live the “joy of fidelity”. We are not alone. The Virgin Mary, Mother and Mediatrix of grace, is with us. And if she is with us, then, even in times of profound crisis, “the light will break through” and there will be happiness and rejoicing. Water will be changed into wine: the wine of love, of fidelity, of joy.
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On returning to our first love there will be celebration, the celebration of a new wedding ceremony, definitive this time, between God and us. And we will sing with Mary: “My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour”.

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