Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of April 19, 2009
1st reading: Acts 4:32-35; Psalm 117; 2nd reading: 1 Jn 5:1-6; Gospel: 20:19-31
If you compare the four Gospels on the story of Christ Resurrection, you will find that they differ from each other because the time when Jesus appeared and the people He addressed are several and diverse. The many versions reflect what each witness has actually said. It has never been pointed out that Jesus appeared first to lay people like Mary Magdalene, to whom He asked to go and report to the others, then to the two disciples of Emmaus, whom He entrusted with the same task. Only on Sunday evening He appeared to the apostles. (Jn 20:19)
Jesus is always aiming at something and today we will try to understand why He behaved that way. Perhaps Jesus wanted to punish the apostles? No. The disciples of Emmaus were actually moving away while saying: "But we had hoped that he was the one who was going to establish the kingdom of Israel, some women said they saw him, but we do not believe." (Lk 24:21-24)
After 2000 years the only possible answer, true and rightful, is in the letters that God has given us. I have always said that the word of God has a depth of understanding that never runs out and new elements and reflections always surface whenever you think over it. To the private word, and the author is always God, applies the same consideration. I myself know the letters of God better than you do because I listen and revise them several times for corrections to be made, but I am telling you that before entrusting them to the press, I constantly rediscover some realities I had not first understood. In addition, many times the Mother of the Eucharist asked you to be close to me when I will go into the lion's den'. Both Jesus, who was first seen by the lay people, and Mary, who asked them to cooperate with God's plan, wanted us to understand that the lay people, contrary to what bishops, priests and unfortunately even popes have always said, have an important role in the Church just as much as the clergy, though different. There is no other explanation.
The Church by definition is the community of the baptized, with no distinction between confirmed members, priests, bishops or those who took vows. Inside it there are different roles, and equally important. However the successors by ordination of the apostles and their collaborators took a conflicting position by not recognizing the gifts of the laity. Lay people have recognized, quite rightly, the authority of priests, but priests did not recognize the missions that God has entrusted the lay people and the prophets He has chosen to announce His will. This means that we, up to now, have not respected, but actually prevented the implementation of God's Word. Now do you understand that when the Bishop is sick, suffering and reacts strongly before any fault of yours, personal or community wise, it is because you are preventing what God wants from you? Not all lay people are performing or will perform the same mission, but even the simple role of intercession or prayer is already very great.
This brings me to a picture in the Old Testament, where we sees the Jews coming back from Egypt, after four-hundred years of exile, to the cradle of their origin now occupied by other peoples and had to struggle to regain their territory. During the fighting Moses was praying with outstretched arms, a typical Jewish way of praying. When he was tired and lowered his arms the Jews would lose the fight, as long as he could stand with arms outstretched the Jews would win. To gain the victory, the Jews rested Moses' arms on some supports. God did not need it, but it was necessary for them to understand that the prayers of Moses had to be joined by the prayers of the entire people, to gain the victory.
Today, to renew the Church, all of you lay people have to feel responsible for this change. The fraternal correction is part of the style that we have been taught and the Mother of the Eucharist said that it applies to everybody, even to the Pope, if he is wrong. This is what God says, and men?
You ascertained it on your own, when you went out to priests for the mission, the opposition you encountered: they treated you without respect. Who is right, the priests who treated you badly or God who entrusted you with this mission? This was one of the many secrets that Marisa had known for many years and that I was unaware of. God would not have sent you to the priests if they had been humble and simple.
Take another example. In the foreword of the seventeen books that collect the letters of God, I chose not to appear as the author, indicating instead the term "Cultural committee". The clergy thought they were dealing with lay people and attributed no importance to these writings.
Those who was driven by curiosity, or because they were good people or invited to do so, read the books and made it one of the mine from which to draw more for catechesis, for preaching and for the Stations of the Cross.
Let's go back to today's readings: prophet Baruch had a mission and he was uncertain and afraid. He was encouraged by his donkey that spoke to him. God shows himself as He wishes, He could come here or send a baby to talk and command His will. If He is sending the lay people, why there is no respect for them? In the Acts of the Apostles it is written: "With great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and all enjoyed great favor" (Acts 4:33). This "all" does not refer to the apostles, but to the people who were believers, hence, to the laity. Once again I wonder why these truths in the word of God have not been extrapolated. Surely the have been understood, but the desire to emerge and the thirst for power have meant that the priestly caste only would concentrated all the power in their hands.
Early in the history of the Church, in the early centuries, Bishops were elected and appointed in the different communities by the laity; first they were ordained priests then bishops. They became great saints and doctors of the Church. We wonder whether it is necessary the third Vatican Council. Priests are pushing for it because they claim that the first Council has placed the Pope on the throne, the second has raised the bishops and the third would give them more power. So, let me quip, we will have the fourth one for the laity. It is enough to read and respect the word of God, it is not necessary to establish the third or fourth Vatican Council.
Now let us have a look at S. John's letter. His style is defined as the eagle style and needs to be understood, but in the following passage the basic concepts of Christianity come to the surface.
Men who believe and accept Christ are children of God, and the children of God must love Him and must love one another. To become saints and remain faithful to this filiality vocation, they must keep the commandments. Keep the commandments, says S. John, it is not onerous because God is helping. It was required to understand just this. Anyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God and to Him we approach, becoming His children by faith. Even during the rite of christening we ask the baby to be christened: "do you want?" and "do you believe?" and the adults answer on his behalf. In fact, you come to God through faith, and then anyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. Those who love God love also the ones born of Him (1 Jn 5:1), namely the children of God. Some might think that the Gospel in this passage is referring to Jesus, the Son of God, begotten from eternity, but in this passage "and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him" refers, instead, to men. Here it is: the union between love for God and love for your neighbor, for your brother. We recognize the children of God from the fact that they keep the commandments. Those who do not are not children of God. The Mother of the Eucharist informed us that the victory of the Eucharist, proclaimed on the celebrated January 10, 2002, is also important because it frustrated the plans of the clergy members of Freemasonry who were doing their best to abolish two commandments. Those are not children of God! Some, within the ecclesiastical authorities, were moving away from the truth, they had already prepared the text to change the rite of Consecration, so that Christ was no longer considered present; they were about to change the rite of Episcopal ordination, thus causing the interruption of apostolic succession. They even had shown the intention to abolish two sacraments! This creeping Protestant heresy had infiltrated the seminaries and religious congregations that did not believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Many clergymen are worse than Luther because he believed in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, but these people, who believe it or not, fight it anyway.
Anyone who was born of God overcomes the world. The world is overcome by faith, with the help of God; with the word "world" John intends to refer to all those who oppose God.
How many times have I asked: after all who are we? Yet we have overcome the world. The Triumph of the Eucharist is the greatest victory in the Church history and has been attributed to a Bishop, a Seer and a group of people. When the Christians in 1572 got a military victory at Lepanto, Pope St. Pius V had the whole Church to pray and the Te Deum echoed beneath the vaults of all churches. When God will give me the power, I will have the celebration on January 10 and for the first time in all the churches they will sing the Te Deum, prefaced by having a novena of prayers, because this victory has changed the Church.
Look what happened instead: the victory of the Eucharist has crushed them and were forced to make the best of things, becoming apostles and preaching and writing on the Eucharist. God, in order to introduce in the Church some of the devotions they wanted to abolish, used a poorly educated nun who died young. The concept of God's mercy was shown by Sister Faustina Kowalska, who died at age 33. For the devotion to the first Saturdays of the month he used three little shepherds: one entered a convent and two went to Heaven. Devotion to Mary spread throughout Latin America thanks to an Indian, a farmer. There were no tasks or missions in the Church that God has entrusted to kings, queens, princesses, dukes, cardinals or popes. Popes have their duty to do, but they did not receive a specific mission from God. God calls whom He wills and, in the Church history, He often called the laity who did many times better than priests. St. Catherine of Siena called the priests and cardinals dogs. She convinced the popes residing in Avignon for over 70 years to return to Rome. She too died at age 33.
Awake little flock, wake up and fight, not only the Bishop and Seer have to fight as they are too tired, the Seer today is not even able to attend the apparition and she is really very sick. Marisa is fighting day and night to reach the date established by God, still unknown to us, but I hope it will be very soon, especially for her. She worked much more on her own than a multitude of gathered priests. I was also told of priests, clergy and bishops who assailed God when the last terrible earthquake struck us. I will say no more. God sent Our Lady, Marisa, grandmother Iolanda and other saints in Heaven to be close to the earthquake victims and to prepare the bodies. I am going to disclose one thing: while Marisa was preparing the body of a child, an arm remained in her hand. But in there there was the help of God and she went on. Once the stage of collecting the dead people was over, while assisting the smaller ones there were harrowing scenes: a 5-6 years old child was crying because no longer he had parents, a younger little girl was addressing Marisa by calling her Mom. Probably the shock of the earthquake had caused her a lack of memory. The day of the earthquake, when those people died, nobody thought that Heaven was enriched by so many children, youth and adults. Nature reacts, at times, in such a terrible and inexplicable way, but if men had built not thinking about savings, the number of deaths would have been much lower. We cannot blame God when gain and selfishness reign supreme. There was talk of judicial attachment, of concrete without iron inside, of sand not suitable: we cannot blame God. Why do we always blame God? There are nations who live in earthquake-hit areas and do not suffer similar disasters.
Who wins the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? We really need to believe, we need to reaffirm our faith and grow spiritually. This is not to say that there we are not allowed to complain to God, we can do it, but without mentioning it to others, addressing Him directly, venting with Him if there is something inside us, because He is a Father. Recently He has heard many complaints raised with strength by the Bishop and Seer, but He would reply: "You are right, my children, but I still have some of your brother to save". Marisa would answer: "We are not responsible and guilty". And He: "I have chosen you, and you answered yes".
It is true, a painful yes, we knew only a part when we were asked, if we would have known the full story, neither of us would have accepted it. But here we are: tired, dejected, demoralized, exhausted, but we can say: "We have overcome the world."