Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of January 1, 2009
Holy Mary, Mother of God
1st Reading: Num 6:22-27; Psalm 66; 2nd Reading: Gal 4:4-7; Gospel: Lk 2:16-21
Let us imagine we have a picture in front of us with three different scenes, like those triptychs that Middle Ages painters used to fresco. At the center we place the Virgin Mary offering her Son in the gift of the Eucharist. On either side we place two other scenes: in the first we see Mary holding Baby Jesus, a recurrent representation of Christmas and in the other, Mary carrying in her arms Jesus when He was just pulled down from the cross (image which Michelangelo sculptured in his three popular Pietas).
Let us consider the right side of the triptych: Our Lady presenting us with Baby Jesus. Behind the apparent fragility of a child, God himself is hidden, with His Omnipotence and Omniscience. It would be nice if our community were united to the little boy on the knees and heart of the Mother of the Eucharist. Our Lady reminded us several times: "Unless you become like a little child will never enter the kingdom of Heaven". Older people too can be represented by the little boy Our Lady is protecting. We too show our weakness, frailty, and need to be protected and this is why Our Lady has been created by God and was given to us as Mother to make us feel peaceful and secure.
Piety is shown on the left side of the triptych: Mary embraces the body of a bloody and lifeless adult Jesus. As the God Child represents our community, so the adult Jesus, taken down from the cross, represents the Church, placed on Our Lady's arms. Our Lady sees the mystical body of His Son, wounded, spat upon, mocked and humiliated, but protects and embraces Him because she knows that God will pour out into our hearts the Spirit of His Son. After three days His lifeless body will come back strong and will manifest the power of divinity and soul. It is a body shot and wounded by men, but together with Mary we wait for Him to come back to perform the role that belongs to Him, the role that belongs to the Church. Today, unfortunately, she is suffering and last night Daddy God reminded it to us, and He reiterated His promise (Letter of God, January 1, 2009, at 00:01). We do not know when it will come, but He asked us to trust Him, not to step back and be convinced, albeit with hardship, (and perhaps the one speaking to you is bearing more than others) that whatever He is working is done in the best way and in the most appropriate time, even if we do not understand it. Last night God said that He will tell me about the day, but as Christ's resurrection took place after His death, so will our resurrection take place after Marisa's ascent to Heaven. Until then we will be like the roaming people of Israel, wandering in the world desert, but a desert where each clod will produce beautiful flowers and plants.
Before the apparition I asked those present to pray especially for the Church. God has accepted this prayer because He desires the Church to be cleansed and the Mystical Body, offended by his own ministers, to rise. The Church, even if wounded, is protected by Our Lady because she is holding her on her knees. It has happened and might still happen within the Church only what God allows and wants. Didn't God want His Son to die and so cruelly treated by men? Isn't the cross God's will? So the Church, lifeless and torn apart, does not show God's defeat, but it is showing, albeit incomprehensible to us, that this is His will.
If we would see a dead body rise we would be amazed and would be joyful. I firmly believe that God wants us to enjoy by showing us the Church finally resurrected. This is the hope that is within me, and I wish within each of you all along this year. Not by chance, but with concern, Our Lady wanted this to be the year of faith. One must have faith to believe that a dead body might rise again. When Christ died on the cross and was laid in the tomb only one person remembered and adamantly believed in resurrection. Today the situation is better because it is not only Maria believing in the Church resurrection, but also a huge crowd of children. We are among the first to believe that the Church will rise again. We love her, we have sacrificed, we have shed blood, tears, prayers were raised, we did Eucharistic adorations, night vigils, fasting, small and big sacrifices; we must continue to do that with greater insistence and enthusiasm, for it is God's will that that lifeless body will rise again. It will be great!
Men have inflicted serious injuries to the Church, but from the wounds caused by human wickedness come out beams of light that will illuminate the whole world and will show us the reality through God's eyes. This is the wish I have for the Church, it is the wish I have for each of us and it is the task I entrust this community with.
It is wonderful that this triptych, initially lit by a flickering and weak light, when God will desire, will show a blaze of lights, colors and songs. The angels will come back to repeat what they sung at Bethlehem's cave because to God goes honor, glory and our gratitude. Only for His intervention and drawing on small creatures, what seemed to be dead and almost buried is about to rise; it will strike terror at the moment of resurrection, the same as when, without seeing the light nor the Glorified Body, it was enough to hear the sound of the stone removed by the angels for the frightened soldiers to flee. All mercenaries, as Jesus said in the parable of the Good Shepherd, will flee. The vision that the Lord has shown twice to Marisa will be fulfilled: we come in St. Peter's Basilica blazing with lights, hailed and celebrated with hymns and songs, led by Our Lady, St. Joseph, grandmother Iolanda and Marisa herself. In the darkest corner of the Basilica, ashamed and disappointed are those who believed they had won. These men are now uncorking champagne, toasting to their conquered power, but will loose everything and God will ask each of them: "Today you shall give account of what you have done".
Mary was tired when had her dead Son in her arms because she had spent intense hours on Jesus' side: with Him in Gethsemane, at the Praetorium, by Pilate, by Herod, while climbing the Calvary, as He was crucified and, always with Him, awaiting the resurrection. Her wait was shorter than ours, and perhaps this is for us a source of exhaustion, disappointment, dejection and discouragement, but we must look to the center of the picture I just mentioned. That is where Mary gives us strength and medicine: the Eucharist. We need the Eucharist, we need the light rising from the Eucharist, the force emanating from the Eucharist so that our path is made easy in order to overcome bumps and obstacles that men continually place in front of us. We know that along the way we will be always escorted by Our Lady, who is calling and showing us the way, calling and telling us whom we can have for food and drink, what will be the happiness that we want to attain.
Today we have further proof that Paradise can only be reached if we are like the shepherds. While going back home we will bring within us the desire and anxiety of that bright day: think about how nice that day will be.
I haven't told you a legend or a fairy tale, but the truth. God is truth, bow down before Him and let us reaffirm our faith with the Creed.