Words From The Holy Father



"The liturgy today takes us to Cana of Galilee. Once again we find ourselves at the wedding feast taking place there, and to which Jesus, along with his mother and disciples, had been invited. This would indicate that the banquet must have occurred at the home of an acquaintance or friend, for Jesus had been raised in Galilee. Humanly speaking, who would have thought that such an occasion would have been, in a certain sense, the beginning of His Messianic activity. . . .

"The wedding banquet in Cana brings to mind marriage, in the mystery of which is included the presence of Christ. Is it not legitimate to see in the presence of the Son of God at that wedding feast, an indication that matrimony would be an efficacious sign of His presence?" .....

"Returning to the spirit of the nuptial banquet at Cana in Galilee, the Gospel account of which allows us to contemplate Matrimony within a Sacramental perspective. According to what we read in the Book of Genesis, a man leaves his father and mother to be joined to his wife, in order to, in a certain way, become one body with her. Christ will repeat these words of the Old Testament when speaking to the Pharisees, who questioned him about the indissolubility of marriage. They referred to the prescriptions of Mosaic Law, which permitted, in certain cases, the separation of spouses, that is, which permitted divorce. Christ's response was: "It is because of the hardness of your hearts that Moses permitted the rejection of women, but in the beginning it was not like this (Mt. 19:8).

He then cited the words of the Book of Genesis: "Have you not read that the Creator, in the beginning, made man and woman (...) That is why, a man will leave his father and mother, and will be united to his wife, and the two

will become one flesh? In this way they are no longer two, but one only flesh. Therefore, do not separate that which God has joined."(Mt 19:4-6).

"Thus, at the base of every social order is found the principle of unity and indissolubility of Matrimony -- the principle upon which the institution of the family, and all family life, is founded/based. This principle is confirmed and receives a new strength as it is elevated to the dignity of a sacrament." And what great dignity, my brothers and sisters! . . .

In the first reading we read of the intervention of Esther, this daughter of Israel, as she saved her nation during the period of the Babylonian captivity. "May this service to humanity . . .

"May this service to humanity reveal to spouses that a clear manifestation of sanctity of Matrimony is the joy of welcoming and asking the Lord for vocations amongst the children. May I add hear that the family that is open to the values that transcend, that serve brethren in joy, that generously meets its obligations in the mystery of the glorious cross of Christ, becomes the first seminary of vocation to the consecrated life in the Kingdom of God. Therefore, in this context, I salute and bless with paternal affection all the Brazilian families that count amongst their children sons who are preparing for priesthood or religious life, and daughters that are on the way to consecrating themselves do God. I entrust these young men and women to the protection of the Sacred Family". . .


Feast of the Holy Family, December 29, 1996

The Pope’s Sunday Angelus Address,  14 September 97.


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