Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of May 3, 2009
4th Easter Sunday (Year B)
1st Reading: Acts 4:8-12, Psalm 117, 2nd Reading: 1 Jn 3:1-2; Gospel Jn 10:11-18
There is a strong relevance between the public and private revelation. If we compare the passage of Today's Holy Gospel and the brief, but meaningful, Letter of God brought by Jesus, the concepts are the same, although expressions change.
At that time, Jesus said: "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.
For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father". (John 10:11-18)
In the Gospel passage Jesus is the Good Shepherd and is very different from the hireling shepherds, who do not lead the sheep to the best pastures and, if there is danger coming, they think only about their safety, running away.
Today, God the Son has given us a message on which there is much to meditate and suffer as well: "I am your Jesus. If you remember, years ago I said just these words: "I thirst for souls". This never ending thirst of mine was not satisfied, and today I say again to you: "I thirst, I am very thirsty of souls to convert, especially the powerful men in the Church and government". I have nothing else to tell you and I give you my blessing".
For years, Jesus has been expressing the desire to quench His thirst, but His thirst is appeased only by the conversion of souls; today He has stated that far from Him are mainly the souls of those who belong to the church hierarchy. This is a blow for those loving the Church. Once again, faced with the hypocrisy of the powerful men in the Church, the judgment of God intervenes to condemn them because they do not think to their soul, or to the souls of the faithful entrusted to them.
After listening to the letter of God, I felt great bitterness, and I wondered what the use of all the fasting, sufferings, prayers, Eucharistic adorations, communions, the small and big sacrifices. For our Lord all that is not wasted, even if the people involved have not benefited from it.
The way Jesus is acting may seem contradictory at first sight. Years ago He asked each of us to adopt a priest, inviting us to pray a lot.
He then sent some members of our community on a mission to give testimony to priests in Rome and outside Rome of all the work that has taken place in the thaumaturgic site. Many agreed, but the negative reaction of some of them meant that the Lord said, first to Marisa, then to me, not to pray for them any more. Later, as the situation of the men of the Church was further deteriorating, God requested again prayers for their conversion.
In a talk a few months ago, God the Father has made known that the conversion of priests is as difficult as that of young people. The latter, however, as God himself stated, deserve more understanding because they have received little or no teaching from parents, families, schools and priests, actually the latter studied theology and know well the Law of God, the difference between good and evil and yet they behave like young people or even worst.
All this is really sad, for we feel powerless. I often wonder if it's worth continuing to fight. When Jesus, however, is here to beg, we try to give Him a drink. Remember the talk that took place between Christ and the Samaritan woman at the well of Sychar. Jesus was tired and asked: "I am thirsty, give me a drink". Today He is saying again to us: "I thirst for souls!"
Frequently mentioned in the Bible are unworthy pastors: in the books of Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Zechariah, for example. These three prophets when speaking about unworthy pastors, they include priests but also kings and prophets. Often and unfortunately in the Church History people called by God have succumbed to the temptation to usurp the received gift to exploit it to suit their own purposes and lowly interests: wealth, power and pleasure. These are the three reasons which, unfortunately, equate the priests from the Old Testament up to the present day ones. Priesthood is indispensable, but it has to be honest and clean. So now let's behave like Christ on His way to Calvary, when He fell and got up with difficulty, and while getting up He was humiliated and beaten by soldiers. We too continue this journey and we go to Calvary, we walk with Christ, we try to give our cooperation with prayer, with sacrifice, in the silence of adoration, so that His request is answered.
In the Church there are also holy pastors. In today's passage from the Acts of the Apostles looms Peter's figure, representing all the priests following Christ.
Peter utters a strong and courageous speech in the house of Annas, the same place where, a few weeks before, had seen him deny Jesus. On that occasion he had feared a simple servant, now he faces the Sanhedrin and the elders with dauntless courage, reminding them of their faults and their responsibilities and charging them for Christ's death: "Then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed" (Acts 4:10).
This indomitable courage is the work of God the Holy Spirit. Jesus said: "When they deliver you up, take no thought how or what to say, it shall be given you in that hour what you shall speak. In fact, is not you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you" (Mt 10:19-20).
In the twenty centuries of the church history many humble and simple priests, without having played a significant role in the church hierarchy, had, like Peter, the same strength and the same courage inspired by the Holy Spirit.
The Church has been going on for centuries thanks to these people and not for the mercenaries in high places and the time will come when the prophecy of Christ will be realized: "There shall be one flock and one shepherd" (Jn 10:16).
Today, the situation is sad and disturbing, but we must believe in the prophecy of our Lord and, at last, we shall have shepherds after the heart of God. "I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding" (Jer 3:15), thus God promised to prophet Jeremiah who hurled himself against unworthy shepherds. The Word of God is not only limited to a historical period, but embraces all ages. We live, therefore, with faith the expectation of what was announced to us many times: the Church will be reborn and the unworthy shepherds will be dismissed.
Only God, however, knows how long it will take to realize His promise, we are called to be alert and vigilant as the wise virgins with oil and lighted lamps, as a sign of prayer and worship. Often Our Lady urged us: "Wake up from this long sleep". We must be awake while waiting for the Groom to come again in His Church, to lead her to the shepherds He has aroused.
All this will begin only after our sister Marisa's death. Do not believe false and deceiving prophets, even if highly placed, who predict events and situations that will not happen.
God has revealed to us that some people who now occupy an important place in the Church hierarchy, read everything we publish on our website and are really fearful: this is absurd. In fact, if they are scared it means that they believe, nevertheless, they keep on opposing God's plan and the true prophets of God.
God's timing is different from ours, we would like the waiting to be short. The Jewish people waited for centuries for the coming of the Messiah and then they did not even recognize him. Several times our Lord told us that His "soon" or "shortly" is different from ours. The waiting for the Bishop and the Seer is long because of the great suffering, for them one day is like a week, one week is a month, a month is one year and one year is like ten years.
Read again all the letters of God and try to count how many times God has confirmed that He will keep His promise. This promise is so much frightening for some people in the church hierarchy to prevent them from sleeping.
I conclude by quoting John the Evangelist, the beloved disciple, who wrote a poem in a few lines.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (1 Jn 3:1-2).
He explains the beauty, grandeur and dignity of being truly children of God: "You have heard what love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God, and that is what we are". The literal translation from Greek makes it easier to understand its meaning: "and we are by generation". We are sons of God by generation means that the similarity between man and God is the same as between parents and children; just as the similarity in humans is transmitted through generation, so the similarity between us and God is realized through the new life that Christ infuses into our souls.
However, while the natural filiation, once established, no longer changes, the divine one has instead a potential that is perfected and sublimated throughout all our life with the grace given through sacraments and a committed life.
This similarity will burst with all its power when we get to Heaven. Indeed, even if on Earth we were to reach a high level of holiness, we would not be able to see God as He is; when we will reach the Heaven, God will work within us another masterpiece that will allow us to see and enjoy Him.
If you have understood all of it, then meditate and spread it. Thank God, because He has been very kind, merciful and generous to us.