At Mass in Iquique Thursday morning, Pope Francis drew attention to the care Mary shows at the Wedding at Cana, pointing to her as an example of how we can help others share in the joy and celebration found in the Gospel.

“The Gospel message is a wellspring of joy… A joy that is contagious, passing from generation to generation, a joy that we have inherited,” the Pope said Jan. 18.

“Like Mary at Cana, let us make an effort to be more attentive in our squares and towns, to notice those whose lives have been ‘watered down,’ who have lost – or have been robbed of – reasons for celebrating.”

“Let us be attentive, then, to all situations of injustice and to new forms of exploitation that risk making so many of our brothers and sisters miss the joy of the party.”

Pope Francis celebrated Mass on the morning of his last day in Chile, before flying to Peru to begin the second part of his Jan. 15-22 trip to the two South American countries.

The Mass was held on the Lobito beach in the northern Chilean town of Iquique, which is bordered by the Atacama Desert to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

In his homily, Francis reflected on the story of the Wedding at Cana, relating the festivity of that occasion to the “festive spirit” with which northern Chileans live out their faith.

“I have come as a pilgrim to join you in celebrating this beautiful way of living the faith,” he said. “Your patronal feasts, your religious dances – which at times go on for a week – your music, your dress, all make this region a shrine of popular piety.”

He also pointed out how the party doesn’t remain inside the Church, but that they turn “the whole town into a party.”

Quoting Pope Paul VI’s encyclical on evangelization, Evangelii Nuntiandi, Francis praised their ways of celebrating the faith and God through song and dance, which creates “interior attitudes rarely observed to the same degree elsewhere: patience, the sign of the cross in daily life, detachment, openness to others, devotion.”

To continue this joyful atmosphere, we can take a lesson from the actions of Mary at the wedding feast, he said. Mary, “like a good mother,” is attentive to everything going on around her and “doesn’t sit still.”

Noticing that something threatens to hamper the celebration or “water it down,” Francis said, “she approaches her Son and tells him simply: ‘They have no wine.’”

“In the same way, Mary passes through our towns, our streets, our squares, our homes and our
Hospitals… She notices all those problems that burden our hearts, then whispers into Jesus’ ear and says: Look, ‘they have no wine.’”

The Pope explained that we allow Jesus to continue this miracle when we turn our communities and hearts “into living signs of his presence, which is joyful and festive because we have experienced that God is with us, because we have learned to make room for him in our midst.”

This experience is a “contagious joy and festivity that lead us to exclude no one from the proclamation of this Good News,” he stated.

It’s also a “festive hospitality, he underlined, “for we know very well that there is no Christian joy when doors are closed; there is no Christian joy when others are made to feel unwanted, when there is no room for them in our midst.”

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