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Pope Francis: daily Mass for Friday

(Vatican Radio) The Christian ought always to be joyful as one who goes to a wedding. This was the message of Pope Francis in his remarks following the Gospel at Mass on Friday morning in the Domus Sanctae Marthae chapel in the Vatican. The Holy Father further stressed the need to overcome the temptation to put the novelty of the Gospel into old wineskins, and repeated that the Sacrament of Matrimony is the image of Christ’s union with the Church. Listen: RealAudioMP3

“When the bridegroom is present,” said Pope Francis, “there can be no fasting, no sadness.” He was reflecting on the response that Christ gives to the scribes in the daily Gospel reading, taken from the Gospel according to St. Luke (5:33-39). The Holy Father underlined that the Lord often returns to this image of the Bridegroom, saying that Jesus shows us the relationship between himself and the Church as essentially nuptial. “I think,” he said, “that precisely this is the most profound reason for which the Church has such great care for the Sacrament of Marriage and calls it “great sacrament” – for it is truly the image of the union of Christ with His Church.” Pope Francis then focused on two attitudes that the Christian ought to have in this nuptial relationship: first, that of joy, “because nuptials are a great celebration”:

“The Christian is fundamentally joyful. For this reason, at the end of the Gospel, when they bring the wine, when he speaks of wine, it makes me think of the wedding at Cana – and for this reason Jesus works His miracle – this is why Our Lady, when she realized that there was no more wine… but if there is no wine there is no party ... imagining that the wedding feast might therefore end with the drinking of tea or juice: it would not do ... it is a feast, and Our Lady asks for the miracle. Such is the Christian life. The Christian life has this joyfulness of spirit, a joyfulness of heart. “

Pope Francis added, “[To be sure], there are truly moments of crucifixion, moments of pain – but there is ever that profound peace of joy, because Christian life is lived as a celebration, like the nuptial union of Christ with the Church.” The Pope recalled how some of the early martyrs went to their martyrdom as persons going to their wedding: even in that moment, they had a “joyful heart.” The Church, repeated Pope Francis, is joined to the Lord “as a bride to her bridegroom, and at the end of the world there shall be the definitive celebration.” The second attitude, which the Christian ought to adopt, we find in the parable of the wedding feast of the son of the king. Everyone is invited, good and bad alike. When the feast begins, the king looks on those who have not donned their wedding garments:

“It occurs to us: ‘But, Father, how? These were found on streetcorners, and you ask of them a wedding garment? This is wrong ... What does this mean? It is very simple! God asks only one thing of us in order that we gain admittance to the feast: our all. The Bridegroom is the most important. The Bridegroom fills all! This brings us to the first reading, which speaks so powerfully of Jesus as the all - the firstborn of all creation. In Him were created all things, through Him and with a view to Him were they created. He is the center: the all.”

“[Jesus],” added Pope Francis, “is also the Head of the Body of the Church: He is the principle. God gave to him fullness, totality, in order that, in Him, all things might be reconciled.” If, therefore, the first attitude is celebration, Pope Francis said, “The second attitude is [that of] recognizing Him as the One.” The Lord, he went on to say, “asks us only this: to recognize Him as the One Bridegroom.” He is, “always faithful, and asks fidelity of us.” This is why when we desire, “to have a little party of our own, which is not that great feast, it does not do.” He went on to say that the Lord tells us that we cannot serve two masters: one either serves God, or the world:

“This is the second Christian attitude: to recognize Jesus as the whole, the center, the totality. But we will always be tempted to cast this newness of the Gospel, this new wine, into old attitudes ... It is sin, we are all sinners. Only recognise it: ‘This is a sin.’ Do not say this goes with this. No! The old wineskins cannot hold the new wine. This is the novelty of the Gospel. Jesus is the bridegroom, the bridegroom who weds the Church, the groom who loves the Church, who gives his life for the Church. Jesus is the one who makes this wedding feast! Jesus asks us the joy of festivity, the joy of being Christians. He also asks of us the all: it’s all Him. If we have something that is not of Him, repent, ask for forgiveness and move on. May the Lord give us, to all of us, the grace always to have this joy, as if we were attending a wedding. And also have this faithfulness to the only bridegroom, who is the Lord.”


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