Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of November 1, 2009
All Saints Day
st Reading: Rev 7:2-4, 9-14, Psalm 23; 2nd Reading: 1 John 3:1-3; Gospel: Mt 5:1-12
It's exciting to approach the Word of God. Once more you will realize that its approach means to enrich and learn more about the teachings of Christ.
Today, after two thousand years, there will be further deepening and greater enjoyment in listening and understanding His words.
"At that time, when he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to speak and taught them saying: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are the persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven"". (Mt 5:1-12a)
Imagine with the soul eyes this wonderful scene: there are many people around Jesus and he takes advantage of the presence of the crowd to give one of the most beautiful lessons He has addressed to men.
Jesus is sitting and talking. A brief introduction: how many times have you heard Our Lady saying that Jesus is the sun and she is the moon? Well, there is a wonderful analogy to reality: the sun is a star and shines with its own light while the moon is not.
Even if it lights up our nights and has received a great deal of attention from poets and painters, it is always a celestial body receiving and reflecting light, it does not shine by its own light, but is participating.
God is light, Jesus is the light, the Holy Spirit is light, warmth, strength, love, courage and holiness.
Who among you today, addressing God, have said: "Daddy God, Brother God, Friend God, best wishes. Today is your feast"? Actually I would say that it is the most expressive feast of Their being, because holiness resides in God and He is asking men to participate. Holiness is the greatest and most important divine attribute under which all the others exist and coexist. Try to read again the "Beatitudes" and you will notice that at the end of each of them there is a different expression; now replaced this expression with the sentence "for they shall be holy", you will get: "Blessed are the poor, for they shall be holy. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be holy..." and so on. Jesus wanted to take different aspects arising from the same reality: holiness. If we are holy, we do not implement some of the Beatitudes, but we implement them all.
"Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God". Who is the son?
The one resembling his father, who has the DNA in common with him, which was created by his father and exists because the father wanted him to be placed into existence. How many times have we said we are "sons of God"?
It is immediate the juxtaposition between the Gospel and the letter of St. John the Apostle: "My dear, See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure". (1 John 3:1-3)
John, insofar as possible, expands the concept of "Sons of God". At the end of his life, he was over a hundred years old, bursts out in an affirmation of joy, happiness, enthusiasm and admiration watching the spiritual reality brought by Christ on earth: "What great love the Father has given us" And I add: He has given us an unbound love, infinite, that only from God could be forthcoming to raise us from our earthly and human condition to a supernatural dignity that we could not have imagined or expected: to be Sons of God. We are truly Sons of God: it is not an adoptive filiality derived from the law, but it is substantial. Do not be surprised if others do not marvel at the greatness within you who are children of God, why are they not marveled? John gives the answer: "They do not know the Father, how can they know the Son?". The world does not know God, the Father, so the world does not know us, his children, actually it is fighting us, for our lives are an obstacle to the implementation of the evil plans that men seek to achieve thinking for their best only.
We will see and understand God, as He is, only when we will reach the Heaven of the "Beatific Vision". In fact, even the souls who are in the "Waiting Paradise" fail to understand the amazing greatness of God.
Today, for God's intervention, we manage, as far as it is possible for us earthly men, to understand more deeply the greatness of God and, when we will stand before Him, we will also understand our greatness. It is John saying that to us: "As of now we are children of God, but what we will be has not yet been revealed".
How many times have we read this sentence without giving it its true meaning? It escaped as water in our hands: it leaves them wet for a while, and drying, there is nothing left. W will understand our greatness only when God will show to us. There will be a double process: God will be seen and understood as far as possible, but we will also understand ourselves.
During our life we often say: "I cannot understand you!". These expressions should not apply in our case, here we have to go deeper and understand the greatness of being. It is the human being next to the divine being: two big realities, one is finite the other is immense. So we will be the first to be amazed: "My God, am I this one? Has God so much loved me to take me so high? He has had a lot of patience, has forgiven my frailty, my weakness, my sins, He has taken my fault away...". This is the fruit of Christ's Redemption. Where do we find confirmation? In the Gospel. All this is wonderful!
And now let us reflect on the First Reading.
"I, John, saw another angel ascend from the east, with the seal of the living God. And cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea: "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God".
And I heard the number of those who were sealed with the seal: one hundred forty-four thousand marked from every tribe of the children of Israel.
After this I looked and behold, a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And cried with a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, seated on the throne, and to the Lamb".
And all the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: "Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength to our God for ever and ever. Amen".
One of the elders then turned to me and said: "These who are dressed in white, who they are and where they come from? ". I replied: "Sir, you know"". And he said: "They're the ones coming out of great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb"". (Rev 7:2-4, 9-14)
We went from one part of Scripture to another, through a logical sequence, not a simple juxtaposition. Those who chose the passages for this H. Mass probably did not even realize they were making a wonderful theological service. In fact, this explanation has never been found anywhere and we catch it only when God wants to show it. To whom will God show it?
"O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike" and goes on: "But theirs is the kingdom of Heaven". We aim to be small, for the small and humble ones will reach this greatness. Greatness achieved through struggle and hard work, despite our weaknesses. Someone will be in a position higher than others, and it is always John, when the question is asked in the Revelation, "Who are these dressed in white?" to answer: "They are the ones coming out of great tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb". Here it is clear the Mystery of the Cross, Redemption, Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ made up-to-date in the Eucharist!
Today we can say we understand a little more the insistence with which Our Lady has invited us, along all these years, to approach the Eucharist frequently, but always "with the soul in the grace of God" in order to tap these realities. Who is able to reach these conclusions? No one. My beloved, in this case, Our Lady has given a manifestation, perhaps the greatest, of her motherhood: "I want you with me, I want you close to me, I want you more like I am. The more you will be like I am, the more you will be like the Father".
This is the Feast of All Saints!
Until now we have probably lived this feast in a childish way, but from now on we must live it in the fullness of its theological reality, that is, as Sons of God.
When we say: "I am the son of God" at the same time we highlight the greatness of the Mystery of Incarnation, Passion, Death and Resurrection, which has made us Sons of God.
The answer we gave to God is to accept to be His children and strive to uphold this dignity from any attack: "If the landlord knew that a thief is about to enter his house and steal his goods, he would be at the door of the house to defend his property". We must especially protect our being in the grace of God. If this condition is not met, all the others will not be met either. This must not be a superficial or hypocritical commitment, but should characterize all of our entire life. Let us defend what is the greatest and most beautiful that we have.
Who then are those coming from the "great tribulation"? They are the ones who loved the Eucharist and purified their soul even with the smallest imperfection, by drinking the blood of the Lamb and approaching the Eucharist. We have known and loved these souls, they have been part of our life and our community. We could name several of them, but let us pause on Marisa and Grandmother Iolanda: they can say they belong to the category of those who lived in the great tribulation, who loved the Eucharist and were fed, washed and purified by the Eucharist. You cannot do without the Eucharist, for it is the basic condition of our existence. Woe to those who turn away from the Eucharist or come to it with sin because they take up some big responsibilities! Worry not about what people might say or think, let us not take communion out of habit or shame, but let us think to our soul. Today I invite you to make a serious examination of conscience: re-read the Commandments, let us examine our conscience, let us consider whether we respected them in the right way and if there had been some failures, we know how to wash our soul with the Holy Confession.
We certainly have talked about this sacrament, but perhaps not with the same insistence with which Our Lady spoke about it. It would be interesting to count the number of times Our Lady invited us to approach the Eucharist in the grace of God; I do not want to exaggerate, but I am convinced that we reach thousands of times. If Our Lady focused repeatedly on this point, it means that it is important. The letters of God are not just for our community, but for all men: "I speak for the entire world". Today the world is wrong because, as St. John said: "It has not known Christ". It is up to us to make God known to the world with our life, acting properly and teaching the Scriptures; we must make Him known with the love and respect for the Church, which is master of truth, and from it the world must feed. Let us not close within ourselves, each of us has a responsibility, even if limited to our own family.
Those who truly love God, those who have understood the importance and greatness to be Son of God, cannot remain unconcerned if a family member does not respect God and does not comply with the commandments. Hence you must pray and offer prayers to God, until we manage to redirect these people to His side. We cannot live quietly thinking only about the physical good of our family, without worrying about the spiritual side. My dear, this way of thinking is not Christian, for Christianity is not just participation with devotion to the H. Mass, or to pray and rejoice the homilies in this thaumaturgic place, but it is out there that your mission as Christians is starting. To Be a Christian in this place is easy, but it is outside that everything becomes more difficult, I won't say to make war and wars, but we must show our Christianity with our lifestyle.
Now read again all the Beatitudes and you will see that if all the conditions I told you about are met like holiness, love, closeness and likeness with God, all the Beatitudes can be realized even the harder ones requiring greater commitment and sacrifice.
Do you remember when the Apostles said to the Lord: "But then who will be saved? The commitment is hard". What is impossible to man is possible to God, and He will help us. However, if we fail our intents and commitments, we can put our soul in peace because what we did for our relatives, brothers or friends, God will divert to others. Our Lady has said many times that nothing is wasted: every little fraction of goodness, even the particle invisible to us, but visible in the eyes of God, will enter the world and will rise some beautiful realities, great and wonderful.
Men must discover the beauty, greatness and significance to be sons of God. Unless we reach this understanding, we can not change anybody, much less a community or group. The world needs God, but God has decided in His own free will that it is essential our commitment, our action and our testimony.
What is the name of our movement? Movement for Commitment and Testimony. When Marisa and I tried to give a feature to the community about to be born, we did not think that these words would have been prophetic and full of meaning.
We found them compelling, meaningful, enlightening and we adopted them.
Only several years later I understood what today the Lord has inspired me with and that I have given to you. I myself until yesterday, I say it to you with simplicity, did not understand the greatness, the meaning to be sons of God to be fully revealed only when we will be before Him.
Imagine how nice it will be when we all will be before God, aware of what we are: the joy will be explosive. Our Lady said that in Heaven we rejoice and today we know what joy she was talking about: the more to be the Son of God is thorough and real, the more the joy will be appropriate to the magnitude of this statement.
Returning to the H. Mass we give thanks to God with a thanksgiving chant: "Thank you, my God because even today You have used your Bishop so we could have a taste of what we will be, this is not a full and complete enjoyment because it will only happen when we will be facing You, but we have a greater awareness of the wonders you have done to us and that we will taste when we will be in Heaven. Each of us will be a masterpiece". You too want to be masterpieces of God?
This thought gives me joy and consolation, as I cannot meet each of you for spiritual direction for obvious reasons, what you have heard is more than enough to go forward and grow spiritually. Someone told me to turn the homily in a Bible class: we did it and we will do it again. This knowledge, I say it again, that we, including myself, did not have until yesterday, has been acquired to the glory of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, to whom we bow acknowledging to be elected Sons of the Father, brothers of the Son and friends of the Holy Spirit. We ended up seeing the reality from the perspective of our Creator. Is there anything more beautiful?
What I said today is not my work, is the work of God: I am just a spokesman, a megaphone, just God's microphone. This is no small thing, but I cannot accredit myself with what is told directly by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Love each another and one another while waiting to enjoy in Heaven. All this will come!
Praised be Jesus Christ.