Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of March 19, 2008
1st reading: 2Sam 7,4-5.12-14.16; Psalm 88; 2nd reading: Rm 4,13.16-18.22; Gospel: Mt 1,16.18-21.24
Today I believe we are the only ones to celebrate St. Joseph on the day of his liturgical feast. The others, in fact, have accepted the date change, falling now on the past Saturday. As if Joseph could disturb us in our meditation, reflection and contemplation of the mystery of passion, death and resurrection of Christ. We, however, are of the same opinion as his spouse, Mary, and we wanted to celebrate him today. In fact, St. Joseph, guardian of the Eucharist, is introducing us in a marvelous way to the full and complete understanding of the Paschal Triduum, the sacred triduum. Together with him we can, in the best way, wait for Christ’s resurrection who is Priest, Prophet and King. The oils that will be blessed immediately after the homily were used to consecrate, to anoint priests, kings, prophets, anticipating the figure of Christ who is King, Priest and Prophet. Christ makes us part of His threefold dignity through the sacraments. So we too, like Him, by participating in His dignity, are kings, priests and prophets, but the figure who anticipated this threefold dignity is really Joseph. He did so in humility, in concealment, in silence, with the lack of understanding and low esteem that his fellow citizens and relatives harbored for him. Joseph is so much loved by God to be the chosen one, the one who was listed as the bridegroom of the Mother of God. In him there is this threefold dignity that the Son wanted him to be part thereof and of which we will now discuss in detail.
Joseph is king as the royal dignity is his right being of Davidic descent, but also because, inside his home he exercised, by the will of God, and believe me it was not easy, the role of leader. In fact he had with him, and in a sense under him, the Son of God and the Mother of God, who accepted, respected and lived their role, let's call it of subjection, towards Joseph’s authority, conferred by God himself.
Now let’s talk about his priestly dignity. To the priest is given the task of tending the divine worship and within the first Church of the world, the home in Nazareth, Joseph exercised his role in starting the prayer, leading it and probably also in choosing the passages of scripture that, from time to time, were read and understood in a particular way, because there was the One of whom the scripture spoke in the old testament.
Joseph is prophet. I have always told you that, in the Christian accepted meaning, the prophet is not the one indicating the future, this may also happen, but the prophet true identity lies in the one called by God to carry out a specific mission, and Joseph's mission is known to everyone. Joseph, with his example, along with that of his bride, invites us to wait, in meditation and prayer, the event of salvation he experienced and waited for. This is a confidence that Our Lady gave us: Joseph was present in spirit, under the cross, alongside his bride, at the foot of the One who called him dad for years.
Now we go further and try to understand how Joseph lived his role of father regarding the Son of God. In living this role Joseph has proven to be the most balanced of all persons. Throughout history, in fact, there never was any person who lived so calmly and balanced his own role and his own mission. Just to point out that before a weak and helpless baby, in need of care, attention and vigilance, he knelt down and recognized his God. He rocked and adored him, took him in his arms and was supported by him, loved and was loved in return. This is Joseph’s greatness, in all this we see this huge and giant figure that still has not entered into all its brilliance, beauty and greatness in the Church's view. St. Joseph precedes and exceeds in holiness all the saints, the blessed of Heaven: he is second only to Mary; he is inferior only to the one that God has made full of grace. This is what God said repeatedly. This is what Joseph is, this is his greatness. Joseph makes us love the Son, speaks to us of Him, and, for those who can listen, for those who can get in touch with him, it is not difficult or impossible to hear his words inviting us to recognize in the small, weak, fragile little body, the One who would become priest and victim, present in the Eucharist. We, and in this we have the right of primogeniture, call upon him and recognize him as 'Guardian of the Eucharist', a guardian who does not keep to himself the treasure entrusted to him, but he is happy and content to partake and share it with a wider and growing number of people. The Gospel speaks to us about the episode of the loss of Jesus and His finding in the temple. In this situation we have the opportunity to admire Joseph’s behavior that while not fully understanding Jesus’ behavior, kept silent. Joseph knows that this child of twelve is God and knows that if He behaved in this incomprehensible way from a human standpoint, causing suffering and apprehension to him and his wife, there is a valid reason. Joseph was able to see all this. He just expressed his concern, being a man and hence involved in human emotions, through that question that he, together with Mary, addressed to baby Jesus. And then, if we consider the silent years in Nazareth, we can certainly say that their home was the happiest, the most united family, the place where the divine and the human have long stayed together. This is the home in Nazareth, and, in all this, the one who had a large and important presence, is Joseph. I can almost see him talking with his Son, saying: "Jesus, as you did with the doctors, speak and show to me and your mother, tell us of Heaven, tell us about God the Father, tell us about Your life, grant us Your teachings in advance". And then, this child, as he had brought upon himself the attention of the solemn and pompous men of the temple, also drew upon himself the respectful, loving and attentive attention of His mother and father. Certainly, in a targeted manner, Joseph chose the readings and passages of Isaiah speaking of Jesus and those of Micah announcing where the Messiah would be born and certainly, Joseph would listen to other passages expounded by Jesus and fed to the source of His word. After each encounter with the word of God, grew in him the knowledge of Jesus and, together with his knowledge, also his love grew, increased and widened. Jesus, Joseph and Mary undertook several long trips to the temple, not only the one mentioned by Luke where he speaks of Jesus’ loss, but there were others before and after this event. They were longing and waiting for this time because by taking advantage of these long journeys requiring several walking days, they would talk about God when stopping for the night. That's why we cannot and must not shelve Joseph, indeed we must let him shine because he is shining with his own light in the supernatural firmament, second only to Mary. The star is guiding, the star gives certainty, the star gives light because it generates light. The Church has the duty to be, like Joseph, a guiding and enlightening star. The reason why God wanted that next to Joseph’s name, would be placed the expression "Guardian of the Eucharist", is exactly this: to get to love the word of God, to love Him spoken of in the Scripture and the Scripture speaks of Jesus. So the point is always the same. The agony and suffering of earthly detachment is a moment that in God's plan would serve for the implementation of redemption. We speak, therefore, of his wife's suffering, the Son’s suffering, but also of Joseph's suffering who detached physically from the people he loved to wait for Jesus, and he knew it, to suffer and die and then bring him to Heaven and be the first to be introduced in the glory and eternal happiness. Joseph knew what Jesus would have done, Joseph was aware of the life and death that He would have faced. That's why, after two thousand years, Our Lady has let us know that Joseph was with her under the cross. No one could ever think of that and even imagine anything because everything, humanly speaking, would suggest otherwise, but for God, once again, and we should not be surprised, everything is possible. And if Joseph is at the foot of the cross, if Joseph, and not just today, keeps company and is close to the Mother of the Eucharist, he, the 'Guardian of the Eucharist' is also at the foot of the tabernacle. When we turn to worship and silently pray the Eucharist and after worshiping Jesus, true God and true Man, we can, and Jesus is happy of it, greet His Mother and His Dad. These are not fantasies, these are not simple emotions and commotions, but this is the truth coming from God and He is the only One who could make it known, appreciated and enjoyed by us all. Praised be Jesus Christ.
Reflection after the ceremony of oil blessing
Perhaps some of you have wandered why we did this ceremony, as these blessed oils are used so little. In fact, in our community, throughout the year, there have been few baptisms, one confirmation, and these oils were not used by any anointing of the sick, and there were no priestly or episcopal ordinations. But what do you know? What do we know? And all fifty bishops and seventy-seven priests I have ordained in bilocation, as Daddy God informed us on May 28, 2007 during a Trinitarian theophany reserved for me and Marisa, in your opinion, with what blessed oils have been ordained and consecrated? And all thousands of people who have received the sacrament of confirmation and baptism I celebrated in bilocation, with what oils were anointed? Somebody may say: "But the oils did not decrease". So what? When Jesus turned water into wine, did the guests notice it? Jesus, likewise, cannot He reproduce and replace in the bulb the oil that has been subtracted and used for the sacramental ceremonies? I realize that it is difficult to say these things if there is no input coming from above, but God can make possible what people consider impossible, He can make conceivable and achievable what men consider unthinkable and impossible. I do not know if God will again make use of these oils, but certainly, the others were used outside and far away from this place. Let us pray our Lord that they may be used, for it would mean that other priests and bishops are ready to join the ranks of pastors that God is preparing and training for the future of the Church. It would also mean that many souls have been baptized and confirmed and many dying people were comforted, strengthened and prepared before the meeting with God’s final judgment. Let us pray for this. Today I offer the Mass for this intention: may the Lord give you and me the joy of knowing that, according to his ways, his times and his plan, during the Year of Hope, this blessed oil of the thaumaturgic place has reached every corner of the Earth. And this is always in praise of God, for the rebirth of the Church and the salvation of souls. Praised be Jesus Christ.