20-January-2013 -- Vatican Information Service |

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Pope Prays For Peace And Halt To Killing Of Unarmed Civilians

Vatican City, 20 January 2013 (VIS) - Jesus' first miracle, turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, was the Pope's subject of reflection before praying the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square this afternoon.

The Holy Father recalled that, at a wedding that Jesus and Mary had been invited to, there was not enough wine for the guests. Mary informed her son of the situation but he answered her that his hour had not yet come. In the end, however, he agrees to his mother's request and, after making the servers fill six jars with water, transformed it into the best wine of the banquet. "With this sign Jesus publicly reveals his glory, inspiring the faith of his disciples ... and revealing himself as the messianic Bridegroom, come to establish the new and everlasting covenant with his people". In this story, "the wine is a symbol of joy and love, but it also alludes to the blood that Jesus will shed in the end, to seal his nuptial pact with humanity."

"The Church," Benedict XVI continued, "is the bride of Christ, made holy and beautiful through his grace. Nevertheless, this bride, formed by human beings, is always in need of purification. One of the most serious sins that disfigure the face of the Church is the one against her visible unity, particularly the historical divisions that have separated Christians and that still have not been overcome. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is taking place in these days, a very welcome time for believers and communities, which awakens the desire for and spiritual commitment to achieving full communion."

The theme of this year's Week is "What does the Lord require of us?". It was proposed by some Christian communities in India who "invite us to walk with decision toward the visible union between all Christians and to overcome, as brothers and sisters in Christ, all kinds of unjust discrimination."

"To the prayer for unity among Christians," the pontiff concluded, "I would like to add once more, a prayer for peace so that in, all the various ongoing conflicts, the slaughter of unarmed civilians might stop, that there may be an end to all violence, and that the value of dialogue and negotiation may be found."

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