Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II did not shy away from modernity…technology. Instead, he embraced and challenged the secular culture on its own turf…writing books, staged the World Youth Day Rallies across the world, wrote encyclicals like “Evangelium Vitae”. Be not Afraid…Totus Tuus (totally yours)…signifying his devotion to Mother Mary and his belief she was with him, guiding him, watching over him, as pope, leading the Church; His Bride. As the saying goes…‘to Jesus, through Mary’.
In the present age of artificial secular successes, chaos, temptations, discrimination, struggles, sex, corruption, injustice, power and information overload, we too, must take time to soothe the mind, balm the heart and feed the soul.
“In some parts of the world voices are being raised against what is seen as domination of the media by so-called Western culture. Media products are seen as in some way representing values that the West holds dear and, by implication, they supposedly present Christian values. The truth of the matter may well be that the foremost value they genuinely represent is commercial profit.” (Pope John Paul II, Communication and Technologies)
As humans, we are all born equal, in the image of God, and we must constantly seek spiritual understanding as to how we relate to ourselves, to others and ultimately, to God - the Source of all life.
Regardless of our position, rank, wealth, royalty or personality, we should always live our lives simply and humbly, knowing where we stand before our Creator, finding comfort and guidance in Him alone…being faithful to His teachings.
Of late, we have been swarmed by the media with the hype and fuss of the so-called “royal” wedding between Prince William of Wales (William Arthur Philip Louis) and Miss Catherine Elizabeth “Kate” Middleton…the protocols, the security, controversial wedding invites, selective guest lists, the ceremony, the jewels, expensive outfits, open carriage, the transformation of a commoner to a woman who will one day be Queen.
We must remember that this was the same media or clan of paparazzi, that sang the same tune at the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Di, the same media that stirred up the so-called tragic affair of the Princess of Wales…played up the divorce of the Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York…“commercial profit” reporting, says Pope John Paul II. Does all this help us transform and become more human in our journey home to our Father in heaven?
Rather than be seduced and drowned by these commercial media glamour and values, we go back, instead, to the first miracle at Cana marking the commencement of Christ's public vocation as the Redeemer - the beginning of the “Hour”, which was finalized with His Passion and Death at Golgotha…ultimately, the joy of the Resurrection in Easter.
This familiar short narrative, as ‘reported’ by St John, tells us that Mother Mary was the first to notice that the wine had run out and intervened; a metaphor of our own human needs today.
“When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”” (John 2:3, NAB)
Traditionally, wine is symbolic of “joy” and having wine run out equates to the challenges all married couples face today - sadness, conflicts, lack of trust, loneliness, unfaithfulness, impatience, financial difficulties, extended families pressure, work stress, inability to have children, infidelity… What has become of this holy Sacrament of Marriage?
This Gospel reading appropriately reminds us of the value and trust we must place upon the jewel of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s intercession for the joy and unconditional love of all married couples…the everlasting unity, faithfulness, forgiveness, guidance and happiness of all marriages.
“His mother said…, “Do whatever he tells you.”” (John 2:5, NAB)
Jesus’ presence at the wedding at Cana reaffirms to us today of the sacredness, royalty and prime goodness of the Sacrament of Marriage; a reminder to all married couples to remain faithful and become an effective sign of the presence of Christ in the world today.
We are reminded that marriage is a covenant “by which a man and woman establish between themselves a partnership for the whole of life” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1601).
Christians get married like anyone else in the unique cultures where they lived. Christians must see that the loving union of a husband and wife, in covenant with God, mirrors not only family values but also about God's values.
In this Easter season, we pray for all married couples that this sacrament of union continue to be transformed by Jesus, to reveal more fully the faithful Love of God.
The Second Vatican Council reminds us that the marriage covenant exists not only for the good of the partners and their children, but also for the good of the Church and the good of society at large. (Church in the Modern World, #48)
With this, we also pray for the union of Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton that their love for each other and the fidelity of their commitment, continue to become a sacramental sign and witness of God’s love for the world we live and journey in.