After the French Revolution in the 1790’s, parts of France were left in social chaos. Extreme atheist factions had gotten control in some areas and the aftermath was a material, social, and spiritual collapse. This was still the case in a rural village in south central France called Ars when a young priest named Jean (John) Marie Vianney arrived there 20 years later, in 1818.
It was not by accident that Jesus was called a teacher. His actions were those of a teacher. He even gave tests, as effective teachers do, to encourage progress.
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Each July 29, the Church traditionally celebrated an obligatory memorial mass of St. Martha, sister of Mary and Lazarus. But on February 2, 2021, Pope Francis expanded this memorial to include Martha’s sister and brother, Mary, and Lazarus. They were close friends of Jesus.
Jesus, after having received baptism in the river Jordan, begins His public ministry with the miracle at Cana. Previously, in our reading from Matthew, we have seen Jesus proclaiming the Kingdom of God. As He traveled across Judea and Galilee, He called His disciples, instructed them, preached in the synagogues, healed the sick, cast out demons and restored community to those who were rejected. He mingled freely with the sinners, forgave their sins, visited their homes, and dined with them; He is full of action.
Once again Jesus is challenged and asked to defend Himself, to give proof to substantiate His teachings, His preaching. He gave them signs, and mind you these were gentiles, not even people who shared His religious beliefs. And we, if asked to give signs that would help others understand who God is for us, what would we say?
"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. They will see his face." (Revelation 22:1-4)