Eucharist Miracle Eucharist Miracles

Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of December 3, 2006

1st reading: Jer 33:14-16; Psalm 24; 2nd reading: 1 Ts 3:12, 4:2; Gospel Lk 21:25-28, 34-36

The Advent period, which begins today and will end on Christmas Day, is a period that recalls and summarizes the long period of waiting that began with the patriarchs, continued with the prophets and lived in an intimate and particular way by the righteous men of the Old Testament. Despite the passing of the centuries, this hope, this certainty of the coming of the Messiah has faded at times, it even went dead and at times exploded in all its power. In the moment established by God the One who had been announced and prophesied by the patriarchs and prophets came among us. Christ, Lord of history, divides the historical ages, making us count the centuries before and after his coming. To calculate the centuries we refer to a manger and to a young virgin who, before men, did not enjoy esteem and reputation because she did not occupy a relevant place in society. Yet, that child in need of attention, care, affection, like all children, hid his divinity through and by means of his humanity.

We have thus arrived at the central point: Christ, true God and true man. The actions performed by Christ can be considered from the side of human nature and from the side of divine nature; human nature and divine nature which, joined together, are expressed through a word of Greek origin: “theandric”. In fact, in Christ there is a theandric reality: Theos, which means God, and Andros, which means man. This is why we can say, with historical and theological accuracy, that Christ was born and is being born. From the human point of view there are space and time limits with which we have to deal and with which Christ himself, as man, had to deal with, but as God there is only the present. In fact there is no temporal succession because this already indicates a dependency, a limit, and as we say that the Mass is to make present, through the power of the Holy Spirit, what had happened, so the birth, the mystery of the incarnation, is part of the same theological category. Christ is always born, Christ always dies, Christ always rises. This is why we can say just as we relive and are present in a real way at the sacrifice of Christ before the Eucharist, so in the birth we relive the mystery of incarnation and the coming of Christ into the world. This happens in a mysterious way, so much so that our reason cannot always support us and could even falter, but this is the reality. Our Lady, when she says that Christ is being born, does not get the timing wrong, but she says exactly what I have tried to make you understand and I hope I have succeeded. So it is right to say "he was born", because Christ is man, but it is also correct to say "He is being born", because he is God.

We ourselves can and must live this expectation, being men, as it was experienced by those who preceded us. Here, then, we must live the waiting of the Messiah and any other reality that approaches the concept of the coming of Christ and the day of Christ, with the same faith as Abraham, as the righteous men and all those who blindly believed in the coming of the Messiah and lived in such a way that this expectation conditioned and pushed each one of them to a particular commitment. We are called to live the expectation of Christmas and also the expectation of the day of God in the same way indicated by Paul to the inhabitants of Thessalonica. Paul says: "May the Lord make you grow and abound in mutual love". You have heard this expression too, referring mainly to recent years and mentioned in God's letters: "Love each another, love reciprocally". This invitation to love each other and to love everyone is continuously repeated because love has no barriers, has no limits. Claiming to love only some people means not knowing how to love, because to love means living the experience of God and living like God. It is impossible to think that God loves only some people or some categories or only the baptized or Christians. God loves everyone, because it is in his nature to give his love to everyone.

Paul teaches us that humility is frankness: "May the Lord make you grow and abound in love among yourselves and towards everyone, as ours abounds for you". Paul sets himself as an example for the faithful to whom he turns, because he is an apostle, founder of church, because he is the one who was called directly by Christ. Just like Paul, we must always have the humility to say with sincerity what we are. If I love you, I cannot, out of false humility, darken or make the love I have for you disappear; if, in my conscience, I love you more than you can love, it is right that I propose myself, as Paul proposed, as a model to follow in love. This is the greatness of Christianity: to attribute everything to God, to recognize that the gifts and benefits come from God, but equally to put oneself in the position of saying: "I am who I am by the grace of God, I love because God has given me the grace to love, I am strong because God has given me strength, I am sincere because God has given me the gift of sincerity". This spiritual growth must lead us to make our hearts steadfast and blameless. The true Christian is the one who knows how to dominate situations, who knows how to be strong. In fact, in some passages of the Old Testament, God is called with a military expression, the God of armies, to indicate that he is omnipotent and grants his strength in proportion to what he deems appropriate to all those who follow his will, who respect his laws, who practice his advices. We can be unwavering and blameless only by the grace of God, but Paul says we must be so before God, not before men. Instead it happens that we are sensitive to the judgment of men, we exalt when they praise us, we collapse when they despise us, but this must not happen, because human judgment most often is different from the judgment of God, the only one that must be accepted and respected. If God says that a person is a friend of him, faithful to him, if a person enjoys the grace of God and God himself says that he is holy, then men have no right to belittle and be ironic about him; whoever does it places himself in a position of dreadful responsibility because he goes against God and every time man goes against God he becomes a devil. The first ones who set themselves against God and did not accept his divine being, nor his decisions and his orders, were the demons and men can become such, not in nature, but in their way of being. All this must be kept current until the moment of the Lord's coming.

At this moment I am thinking of two comings. Our Lady too said to try to prepare the equipment set, in the sense of doing good works, prayers, adorations, small sacrifices, fasting and penances, those who can do them, but this continuous commitment must lead us to wait for the birth on Christmas night and to await the coming when the power of God is manifested in our favor. I don't know how, I don't know when, but I know with certainty that this will happen and it will manifest by overthrowing the proud and by raising the humble and reaching dizzying heights that no one else, without God’s aid, has been able to reach.

We must please God and not men: this is another commitment that we must make, but often, unfortunately, if we please God it is inevitable that we may not please men. The choice is already in the Gospel: either God or mammon, there are no alternatives. If we love God we must accept and also be ready to reject the negative opinions and judgments of men, but if we are with men, then we cry over our reality, our situation because there is no salvation. We must be with God, and the men who are with God will be with us. We are not surprised if men who are not with God are against us, it is a physiological reality, it is a certain reality. We cannot be surprised if we are condemned by those who are not with God, because it is normal, it is obvious to be so, the opposite would be strange. Always try to act like this to distinguish yourselves even more, but do not act out of pride, presumption or haughtiness. We must always stand out before God; this is Paul's recurring thought. See how different this style is, suggested by the Word of God, from that of many people who feel powerful, as Our Lady said yesterday, and try to assert their superiority before the others. This is meanness, but unfortunately this happens in the Church too, in the higher ranks of the hierarchy. These people are just to be pitied, so we absolutely must not follow them.

You know what standards have been given to you by our Lord Jesus Christ, none of you can say that you do not know what must be done to become a saint and be a true Christian. You have certainly received teachings that other communities have not received, you have lived experiences that have not been lived by members of other communities and so I appeal to your responsibility, so that the decision to follow Christ with an unwavering and irreproachable heart may truly be triggered in you, waiting for his coming and rejoice in the moment when Christ makes himself truly present in the Eucharist. Know that in that moment we live Christmas and Easter. Praised be Jesus Christ.