Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of September 13, 2008
(Bishop is addressing a newlywed couple, friends from Sardinia)
1st Reading: 1 Cor 10:14-22; Psalm 115; Gospel: Lk 6:43-49
We promised that we would be spiritually present at your wedding and at your sister's and we kept it, for we remember it and I believe that a bridge was established between you and us. A bridge through which love, respect and our best wishes went by, moving and transforming in your home, and I'm not referring to the material one, but to the family. Today's Gospel gives us the opportunity to talk about it: "At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
Why do you call me: 'Lord, Lord' and do not do what I say?
As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete"" (Lk 6:43-49).
Family was represented by many symbols and one of these, and perhaps was never explained, is the house. If it is built on foundation it will resist, or else it will collapses. What is the foundation? Love. Everything starts from love; it must be lived in love and must get back to love. A marriage without love is like a house without foundation and will collapse, in fact, if you look around and investigate the failure of marriages of people you know, even your relatives, you will realize that the marriage collapsed because it had no foundation. Actually, in our community, on the advice and instruction from High Above, we are beginning to change the language of betrothal and marriage. The concept of falling in love is over, for it has little consistency. We continue to hear these words: "I fell in love" or "I'm in love" and "I'm no longer in love"; these, however, are typical human statements, which have no foundation, because to fall in love is different from love. It is not just me saying it but also some modern psychologists: falling in love lasts as long as you keep the causes producing it. That's why so many marriages break, are ruined, destroyed and collapse, but this will not occur if, within yourself, you have the love coming from God.
The secret of a Christian couple, and you certainly are, is to live in the grace of God. Those who do will have a special relationship among them, for they have a good relationship with God, hence they will have a good mutual relationship. If no relationship exists with God, no relationship can exist between man and woman, since marriage was ordained by God, it must be lived as He teaches.
Love is a power that can grow and must grow, it is a reality that must be fed and you have understood it. The One who can feed your love is Jesus the Eucharist and this applies to any person: priests, professionals, couples, everyone.
I need God; I need to receive from Him in order to give to others, even to children. Your children, and I hope that God will soon concede to you beautiful and healthy ones you can love in a human and superhuman way. The superhuman way is with God's love, the human way is with affection that sometimes does not exist. Do you know how to explain why so often it happens that parents are hurting, violating, offending, and destroying their children? Because they do not love. When there is no love you can get to this point. If there is love, my dear, all mutual guarantees are there, and, unlike the others, you will live your relationship in a proper, clean and honest way.
From God you have received; God has put each other on the same path. I know you since many years (referring to the bride - Editor's note), while I know you a little less (Referring to the groom - Editor's note), but I know that God has blessed your marriage. For this you must feel responsible and indebted to God for His paternal sign. Grow in His love, live it, talk between the two of you and respect each other.
I conclude by reiterating the teaching I received from the Mother of the Eucharist and that I pass to the couples in Rome: Love does not mean uniformity, remember it well, everyone has his own set of ideas, experiences, and this may also cause differences of opinion, even some sparks or arguments. God is not concerned about this, but your failure to go over the critical moment. If a moment of contrast were to take over, the advice, known by the couples in Rome formed in this thaumaturgic place, is: "Do not go to bed before clarification", and God the Father said: "You give each other a kiss, clarify, it's all over". Other couples have experimented with it, they know it works, then it will the same for you too.
My dear, life is hard and sometimes it can happen that we are led to be nervous, hard or even repulsive. We must be able to dampen such moments in this way: do not let the night go by without reconciliation, united, calm and confident; only in this way the next day will be another day in the company of God, the Mother of the Eucharist and I hope your children.
Do experience your marriage peacefully, do not be afraid of tomorrow, worry not about anything and remember that you are the ones managing your marriage, do not allow interference from anywhere, listen and accept advices, but any decision is totally up to you and not others. And who knows that one day we may meet in Sardinia, free, at last, to celebrate, bless, baptize, for I know that our Lord is preparing a beautiful future for us, but he needs to receive something from us, may each of us give while waiting for better days.
Now kneel down, I am going to bless you.
Daddy God, Brother God, Friend God, I, Bishop ordained by You, entrust you these two young people who got married a fortnight ago. May their marriage look more and more like that of Mary and Joseph in understanding, prayer, mutual love, and may each of them bear the other's shortcomings.
Lord, let the joy of their marriage be never extinguished. The world is constantly trying to dampen the flame of conjugal love by replacing it with other lights that are cold and not enlightening. May light and warmth, my God, come only from You and then let them always have this joy that they may one day transmit to their children.
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
My best wishes.