Regardless of whether the blood liquefies, he said, the relic should remind Catholics of the blood of Christ “in whose Paschal Mystery we still find ourselves and who is the only one who gives meaning to the great and intense icon of the liquefying blood.”
The 58-year-old archbishop continued: “What in fact is this ampoule? What treasure is it part of? These questions must delve into our hearts every time the martyr Januarius comes to meet us with the sign of his blood.”
“The blood of the martyrs is not a museum piece or a simple relic to be devoutly kept, but a living sign for the today that is given to us, a clear indication for this time that we are called to inhabit, a prophecy of the way in which we must live and a clear reference to what is worth dying for.”
The archbishop, described as a “street priest” before his elevation, recalled by name recent victims of the Camorra mafia and domestic violence, as well as lonely elderly people and the unemployed.
He said: “There is no social sore or communal wound that does not have the right of citizenship in this precious reliquary, the marvelous apex of the entire treasure of St. Januarius.”
“But don’t misunderstand me, I’m not talking about the precious stones, nor the gems set among golden miters, nor the silver busts of the saints. The real treasure of St. Januarius is his people and, within them, those who sit on the margins of life, the last ones, the most fragile.”
“It is this treasure that, as the Church, together with the institutions and all men and women of goodwill, we are called to guard with fidelity and courage, drawing on the immense patrimony hidden among the shadows and lights that compose it: I am speaking of the patrimony of humanity of this city, of the desire for redemption of its people, of the solidarity of its people. It is from this treasure that St. Januarius asks us to begin again together.”