Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of May 2, 2009
1st reading: Acts 9:31-4, Psalm 115, Gospel Jn 6:60-69
First I want to update you on the hard and painful situation we are living and then have a meditation based on the Gospel passage we have just read.
You all know that about ten days ago or even earlier, Marisa had severe pains, actually, atrocious pains, and I am not speaking about supernatural ones. Unfortunately about ten days ago, because of a person's carelessness, superficiality and negligence, Marisa fell heavily forward, with extremely painful consequences. The rib cage suffered severely, and this pain was not appeased, or only partly appeased, by painkillers. You would say: "God did not intervene". Yes, God did intervene, He Himself said so and the same was repeated by Jesus, Our Lady and grandmother Yolanda with whom yesterday I had the joy of having a long conversation. Had God not intervened Marisa would be now in a much worse situation. Well, if on top of this situation, already so atrocious, we would add also what the house people saw last night between nine and seven this morning, I think you would have fled. Within ten hours, Marisa experienced for three times and for a long time the passion and her moaning and tears were so strong that we, close to her, were shocked. Those were terrible hours I do not wish anyone to live. In those moments, believe me, faith is severely tried. As much as one wants to escape, the question is legitimate: why on a body already so badly torn is the passion imposed? But I can tell you that even if there was a human feeling of irritation or discomfort, despite everything, we prayed. It was the only thing we could do: we prayed and suffered, prayed and cried. Those moments were so violent that I do not think there were others in the past or they might have been just a few. The are many reasons why our sister suffers the passion so frequently and painfully and you know them, they are under everybody's eyes, media say something, television services say something else, but to all this you have to add much more that is not said or done or seen. If I'm not mistaken, the verse before the Gospel says: "I thank you, Lord, for you have you saved me" and in the midst of this suffering, I have to say it openly, both the Bishop and Marisa have been saved: Marisa from something awful and I got to a point that, believe me, could hardly even move. This is normal after so many sleepless nights but I also had constant dizziness, and then I made this prayer: "My God, if I have to help Marisa let me stay well, because there is the danger of both of us falling". Then Jesus intervened and took the malaise off me, its nature unknown to me. That's why I say that despite everything, the Lord has saved us. Many things you do not know, you are in the dark, but I read the messages again and again, particularly those regarding me and Marisa; I remember a sentence God the Father told us exactly at the end of January: "The date of Marisa's departure has been moved once again, but it is not very far". That's why when Our Lady spoke today, the concept was not clear to you but it was for me. To God, far or near is seen in a different perspective from ours, to our disadvantage, unfortunately. I have to accept what He means and when for the umpteenth time you hear Our Lady telling us to pray, remember that the sole intention, or at least the first that must be remembered, is Marisa's departure. Not because we want to get rid of her, but because to see her suffering like that is, no exaggeration, an agony. It is an agony which she is living, it is an agony for those living close to her. To go to Heaven, to join her loved ones and her Divine Spouse, for her is better than staying. For me not to see her suffer and take her to Heaven is better than to see her suffer, so there is no selfishness in this request, but only love. Yet I am convinced that as you have no direct experience and as I am unable to make you understand what I mean, you are unable to participate in this situation. Do not be offended, but it's true. To your homes you go back, you have your comfort, your conveniences, you might have problems, but, with all due respect, our problem is bigger than all of yours combined; I am not conceited, it is the truth. Pray to God to call her or to have her pains decreased. It is three or four years that I hear this appeal from Our Lady. She is united with us, she is a mother, and she is grieving to see her children suffer, but she also taught us to obey God and not even her, with all her greatness and fullness of grace, can know reality, the situations and the future with the same clarity and depth of God. So she stands on our side and joins her prayers to ours and especially her tears to ours. So what I ask of you is to insist: here, at times, you have done nights of prayer, now do them at home, but not for the whole night because the next day you feel stunned. Yet here I am, despite sleepless nights, it is clear that there is help. That's why I thank you, my Lord, for you have saved me. Could I have gone down to say Mass and talk if it were an ordinary situation, a human situation? I ask you to intensify prayer, if we are fond of Marisa, as she asked in her spiritual will, we have to snatch this grace. Then I will let you know how beautiful, how happy she will be when she reaches the Heaven.
And now a meditation on the reading and the Word of God.
+ From the Gospel according to John.
At that time, on hearing it, many of his disciples said: "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them: "Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are full of the Spirit and life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe". For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say: "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them". From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. "You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life and we have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God".
Marisa, and I have experienced what John is saying because just as many disciples withdrew and left Christ, so did many people of this community. It has been said that many of his disciples forsook him, but never was it told what Jesus suffered. Who has ever spoken of His suffering caused by these betrayals? I can talk about it because if I ever felt a really strong pain was when feeling forsaken even by people who I loved very much, young people and adults. I am constantly reminded of a sentence that my father told me on the day of my first Mass, he was a simple person, who did not study, but God makes use of us all, as He used in Baal a donkey saying: "If you silence the children the stones will talk". My father said to me: "Remember, Claudio, the people you loved most will be the ones who will make you suffer more". For Jesus it was the same thing. And this sense of rejection is awful. Humanly speaking, there is also the desire of revenge, it is logical, it is human. Who of you all did not experience it? But I can tell you the words that Jesus said to the sons of Zebedee: "Can you drink the cup I drink?" And they replied: "Yes, we can", and Jesus replied by saying: "The cup that I drink you shall drink, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant, God the Father decides". I see the two apostles in our situation. How many times Marisa said: "This cup is pierced, it never ends, the content is still there, is never exhausted", but God comforted us by saying that after death we would have gone right in front of Him and with Him. These are words that give us help and support, and in this morning's prayer I said to God the Father: "Continue to make us feel that You are close to us by talking to us, because we need to feel You close to us, not because we doubt, but because we are men, hence we have a psychology that wants to be satisfied both physically and in real terms by certain experiences. My experience to hear You and Marisa's experience to see You in a flower, a rose, a star, really gives us the strength to start again, each day, the walk that sometimes was not even interrupted because the night was wholly lived in suffering, prayer and insomnia". When the light of a new day comes, then we are reminded of the Eucharist, the sun is about to rise, but the Eucharist is always present and gives us strength. Humanly speaking, we need consolation that is a little late, but hopefully it will come soon and when it will come I believe that no one has more right than the Bishop and Seer to be entitled to drink the cup of joy, at last. The cup of pain was tasted in every of its drop, the cup joy is to be savored fully and then I hope, I wish, that you will come back to see the Bishop smiling; and I believe that if you deserve it, you will see Marisa when Our Lady will fulfill her promise: "You will see me in this place escorted by angels and saints", but do not make an act of pride out of it, live the waiting in humility, simplicity, obedience, meekness and love. Read again the messages and discover how beautiful they are, how high they are and sometimes difficult to comply with; however, do remember that God, if we want it, will take us so high that it seems to fly into His arms, and from this embrace will spring forth all the good that Heaven and Earth reserve to the real, true children of God.