by Margaux Salcedo
This month as we celebrate Our Lady of Lourdes (last February 11), let's do a little throwback to last year when His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, now Cardinal Prefect of Propaganda Fide in Rome, officiated the International Mass at the Notre Dame de Lourdes on the Feast of Our Lady.
Tagle, a Filipino Cardinal, was Archbishop of Manila at the time and simultaneously President of Caritas Internationalis.
He delivered his homily in French.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle's Homily
February 11, 2019
Santuary of Our Lady of Lourdes
On the Feast of the Lady of Lourdes and the World Day of the Sick ...
We come from different parts of the world and somehow experience the glory of the Lord shining upon this sacred space. Here we walk by the Lord's light, as Isaiah prophesied in the First Reading. Here, many pilgrims are getting a taste of a new Jerusalem coming from God. Here we are assured that God's being is with the human race, as John saw in the Second Reading.
This encounter with God today is real because Jesus is with us and will remain with us as he comes.
Jesus performed the first sign of God's presence in Cana, (and) he continues to do the same.
Today, Cana is Lourdes and Lourdes is Cana once more.
In the Gospel today of St. John, Jesus' first miracle happened at a wedding that was going bad because of the lack of wine. Wine should not run out during weddings! Wine signifies joy, just as a wedding signifies the joy of love and life.
Jesus was present in a wedding that was turning sour, sad, and dark, but Jesus saved the feast. From simple water, he gave them wine in abundance. In fact, he gave them the best wine. He saved the banquet. He changed shame and fear into joy.
This was the first sign.
And after this, there were other signs recorded by St. John. But each each of them contained the same dynamism and action on the part of Jesus.
After Cana, Jesus cured the sick son of an official in Capernaum. He cured a paralytic in the pool of Bethesda; multiplied bread to feed 5,000 people; walked on the water toward his frightened disicples healed a man born blind, and raised his friend Lazarus back to life.
In all of these signs, Jesus turned shame, sickness, hunger, fear and death into an explosion of light, life and joy.
He came to give life in abundance. In him, God has made his dwelling among us and we have seen God's glory.
Playing an important but humble role in this first sign in Cana was the Mother of Jesus.
She was observant, alert to see the needs of the married couple, but prudent and wise. She calmly communicated the potentially embarrassing situation to Jesus.
Without commanding him or telling him what to do, she left Jesus free. She led the servers to Jesus and told them to do whatever he would tell them.
Jesus made it clear to his mother that it is his not mere human need that dictated his mission. It was not her, his beloved mother, that determined his hour. It was the Father who sent him on mission. It was the Father who governed his mission. It was the Father who would set the hour to accomplish his mission.
The miracle of turning water into wine is a sign that God's will - GOD 's will - is being done by the Son whom he had sent, anointed with the Holy Spirit.
The best wine is the communion of God with us in Jesus Christ.That's the best wine. With God, there is love, life, wine and joy in abundance.
Cana, Galilee could be anywhere.
Cana could be in our shattered homes; in our sick bodies; in our wounded refugees; in our abandoned children; our broken drug dependence; our filthy slums; our war-torn villages; our ruined earth.
But, please, brothers and sisters, let us not fear.
Let us not lose hope.
Jesus is there. His Mother Mary is talking with him. And God the Father calls his Son to act.
The Holy Spirit blows again.
But we - we must be there to carry water to the empty jars.
To draw out water and to give it to the banquet master ... to marvel at the miracle and to proclaim we have tasted the best wine.
Lourdes is Cana.
Your country is Cana.
Your village, your city, your family is Cana.
Go and witness the signs that Jesus performs in your midst.
And what we have seen, heard and tasted, now we proclaim to others.
So that we may have communion with the Father and with Jesus.
And our joy may be complete.