Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of March 25, 2009
Annunciation of our Lord
1st Reading: Is 7:10-14; Psalm 39; 2nd Reading: Heb 10:4-10; Gospel: Lk 1:26-38
Today's Gospel and the First Reading deal with a particular topic: the Virgin. The First Reading talks about a Virgin who shall conceive and bear, while the Gospel talks about an angel sent to a Virgin. I believe that Isaiah himself, when he spoke about that prophecy, did not understand what he wrote under the inspiration from God because, as it was a progressive revelation, the sacred writers not always could understand what God inspired their minds and their hearts. This means that only at the appropriate time we reach the comprehension of the Word of God and from then on we go deeper and deeper in its understanding and becomes an inexhaustible source of meditation and agreement with God. The term "virgin" was used in the Jewish world to indicate a woman before marriage, and in Hebrew is "alma". In the letters of God, you frequently encounter, especially in the last two years, this term: Jesus, God and Our Lady refer to Marisa by calling her "alma".
The Virgin is awaited by the people just as the Messiah is awaited. God spoke about this Virgin even six centuries earlier, for the plan of reincarnation is present since eternity in God's design; Our Lady, from the first moment of conception, received from God the gift of discernment. This means that since then she knew she would have been the Virgin announced by Isaiah, the one who would have generated the Son of God.
In the letter to Hebrews, the Virgin was to conceive a man and this man-God would have redeemed mankind; Paul clearly explains that the Jews made a massacre of animals: doves, lambs, turtledoves, bulls and oxen, but such sacrifices, though bloody, did no good, for it was only the image of the unique true sacrifice that would have changed the man condition towards God: the sacrifice of the cross.
To get on the cross, to pour that blood that would purge mankind, for it was divine, it was necessary for God to incarnate. In fact it is written: "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me" (Heb 10:5), that body intended both for the sacrifice on the cross and its contemporary term, that is the Holy Mass. In a few moments, mysteriously, but truly, Jesus will be present in the Eucharist with body, blood, soul and divinity.
You can see how everything is always on the Eucharist: March 19 is the feast of St. Joseph, Guardian of the Eucharist, March 25 is the feast of Our Lady, Mother of the Eucharist. Our lady, ever since the early years when the apparitions were open to all, had chosen the date of March 25 to celebrate the feast of the Mother of the Eucharist. On Calvary, on Golgotha, Jesus the Eucharist consumes his sacrifice and under the cross are the Mother of the Eucharist and the Guardian of the Eucharist, his presence allowed by God, but unknown in the Church history; but there is also John, who makes actual the presence of he Eucharist with his participation in the priesthood of Christ.
Now allow me a little vanity: 19th March, 25th March and 1st April. In a fortnight we celebrate everything. April 1 is an important day for both the community and the Church: in fact on this date men condemn, while God exalts, just as Christ was condemned by men and exalted on the cross. "When I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself". (Jn 12:32)
The model of Christ's cross, which is cross and suffering, is not equal for all faithful. Especially for a priest or bishop who wants to follow Christ, the cross should resemble as much as possible that of Golgotha. The priest or bishop who truly lives his priesthood will follow Christ in the passion, death and resurrection. In this way he makes actual within himself the Eucharistic mystery thus benefitting the souls and brings them to God. The priest has to live the mystery of the Eucharist not only by celebrating the Mass, but also by living it in his flesh: this is the importance of sacrifice and resurrection.
Few have the gift and privilege of undergoing death, not physical, but the mystical one. There are many kinds of death and one of them is condemnation. When someone is convicted, pilloried and despised, is it not perhaps equivalent to die? It is worse than physical death!
The Eucharist is passion, death and resurrection and the fullness of priesthood is suffering, death and resurrection. The Mother of the Eucharist experienced the same Eucharistic mystery: suffering, death, assumption. The Guardian of the Eucharist experienced the same mystery of death and ascension to Heaven at the time of redemption, when Christ, who had just died, went down to the underworld to retrieve all the souls that He would lead to Heaven. So Christ, the Mother of the Eucharist, the Guardian of the Eucharist and the true priest live and embody the mystery of the Eucharist.
Even you, if you want to be part of the Eucharistic mystery, must have these prerequisites. Rest assured you will not be asked too much; do not start crying or complaining, but a contribution, although small, is needed. What kind of witness of the Eucharist you could be if you do not live the Eucharistic mystery in its various stages? I think many of you may say they experienced it: in order to remain faithful to God, to the Eucharistic miracles and to the apparitions, you have certainly met opposition, harsh judgment and disapproval. This is suffering and even affective death came to some of you when irreconcilable breaks were created within families. Now we all are waiting for Christ's resurrection.
Today Our Lady would have liked to celebrate this festivity with a different atmosphere, that is to say that the celebration of the sorrowful mysteries should have been over by now. We have been experiencing them for years, on the run we have experienced the joyful ones and then we got stuck for decades in the sorrowful ones. If you read carefully the message it is clear that the dawn of resurrection will not be delayed much longer because, lately, we have been saying truths that until recently was unthinkable to say publicly.
What you have heard tonight will soon be posted on Internet and translated into various languages; there is a strong focus on our websites from the big men in the Church; I would say they are curious and fearful at the same time. I have once pointed out that they, in a sense, and I cannot tell you why, understand the meaning of certain messages more thoroughly than you do. For example, you do not know the third secret of Fatima as they know it and as I know it, so there are things you cannot grasp, but they do. It is absurd, but they have a huge responsibility! These people know and put together diverse expressions and testimonies, stemming from the same source, yet they oppose it. They are dominated by fear that we can somehow reverse the situation and that, by reversing it, the first shall be last and the last first.
I am wishing you, Marisa and myself that soon, first of all, there are going to be more faithful because when things go well, everyone is rushing, but if things go wrong everybody is holed up. My second wish is that next year, March 25, 2010, there will be a more lively celebration, with more involvement, more feeling, for I hope that God, over this time, will begin to do what he promised. Those who love the Church cannot remain indifferent at the spectacle she is offering through the hierarchy.
Let us pray so that true pastors may return!
Jeremiah had prophesied: "I will give you shepherds after my own heart". This we must expect from God and Our Lady, in a message of 2008, allowed us to figure it out: "We are preparing some good bishops"; In fact the previous year there had been the 51 Episcopal ordinations as you are aware of.
Occasionally we see a ray of sunshine, but the plan is in God's hands. We start to see something and if we are not dreamers, we can say that by now God has set the realization of His plan in motion.
Let us consider one more thing: the familiarity with which God impels us to say candidly what we have within us; Our Lady has reported it to us as praise from God. He looks at our heart and if our heart is good He does not take offense, even if things are said with some anxiety and hardness, just because we are tired and are not concerned with Him. Remember, though, that behind it all there must be love. When we truly love God, He allows us a freedom and an impressive confidence towards Him. Man has true freedom only in regard to God, but to men, especially those high in rank, he stands in awe of them. When there is true love, tried and testified by a life immersed in pain and suffering, God grants us all the freedom and I can guarantee you that He is listening to you with patience as impressive as we would not be able to have. When a child takes the liberty to raise his voice against one parent, it is instinctive to feel offended, and one wonders whether there is love in that child. God reads within us and when he sees love, He listens without taking offense.
We give God all this love and we put in the hands of the Mother of the Eucharist that intention, which I recommended, and bring it to God. Our sister is tired of being on earth and suffering, and never was she so longing, as in this latter time, to join the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and prepare the places for us. I hope you are not afraid of dying and consider death for what it is: the necessary door to get to God. If you are afraid of death means that you are not right with your conscience.