Eucharist Miracle Eucharist Miracles

Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of January 4, 2009


1st Reading: Sir 24:1-4, 12-16; Psalm 147; 2nd Reading: Eph 1:3-6, 15-18; Gospel: Jn 1:1-18

Today, the second Sunday after Christmas, the image of the nativity scene is still alive in front of us, not only from a material and physical point of view, but above all from a spiritual point of view because I believe that quite frequently each of you has thought, remembered, reread with new accents the pages of the Gospel speaking to us about the birth of Christ.

Today in the second reading, taken from the letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians, we see the effects of the Incarnation clearly, precisely and in depth.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. For this reason, ever since I [Paul] heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people. (Eph 1:3-6, 15-18)

If the Second Person of the Holy Trinity had not become incarnate, if God had not become man, we would not be able to read and believe in realities now present in the world and in the Church, as St. Paul says in the passage of this letter.

The letter to the Ephesians was the subject of controversy and discussion. I do not want to go into the merits of these discussions but I will mention one so that you can also grow from a cultural point of view. Anyone who knows the life of Saint Paul knows that he stopped for three years in Ephesus. Now, reading this letter, not limiting to this passage only, but to the entire letter, a scarce knowledge of Ephesus and the community of Ephesus transpires in St. Paul. On this the exegetes have started a duel: whether it is true that he wrote it in Ephesus; whether he wrote it to the community of Laodicea; whether he wrote it to the whole Church present in the various cities of Asia Minor. Such a discussion seems to me quite useless because we must, instead, focus our attention on the central theme of the letter. The peculiarity of this letter that the apostle Paul speaks about is God's plan to save all men, both Jews and pagans. It speaks in a complete and clear way of the reality of the Mystical Body, that is to say, all men must be incorporated into Christ, make unity with Him, since Christ is the Head of this Mystical Body and we are his members. From here comes a whole series of deductions: if Christ loves, we must love; if Christ suffers, we must suffer; if Christ is on the side of those who suffer, we must be on the side of those who suffer. Saint Paul cannot forget, indeed, through some expressions he highlights it in an ever more precise way that we see Christ historically as a child, adolescent and man in the land of Palestine, but we must also see Christ, true God. At the beginning of this passage Paul gives a discourse where he highlights and manifests the equality between Father and Son.

The beginning is a song of praise: "Blessed God". Those who are a few years older will remember that at the end of the Mass the priest used to recite a series of "Blessed": "Blessed God", Blessed Jesus, true God and true man". However, while the prayer at the end of the Mass was aimed at a reparation, here, by saying "blessed", Paul the apostle means and highlights the manifestation of the praise and worship that the creature must address to the Creator: it is an exaltation of God, a truly superior acknowledgment of God. See what profound theological meaning this simple sentence, "Blessed God" implies.

And he continues: "Father of our Lord Jesus Christ". This is high theology, the divine fatherhood of God is highlighted, the divine sonship of Christ, but here we begin to flounder because we find ourselves in the Trinitarian mystery. God is Father, Jesus is Son, yet between Father and Son there is perfect identity, the Son is equal to the Father, the Son is eternal like the Father, Almighty like the Father, Omniscient like the Father; you can also take all the other divine attributes and you will always come to equate the Son with the Father. This is high theology. How distracted we are, how superficial we are, when we get ready to read the writing and rush, instead we should pause, not only at each line, but even at each word.

Here too the reality of the Mystical Body is already evident: “He blessed us in Christ". So the blessing that we must give to God as praise comes from Heaven, the origin is divine and from God comes every other spiritual benefit that we can have and obtain, but only if we are united with Christ. Man is united with Christ when he has the grace. The man who is in sin, we speak of grave sins, mortal sins, is not united with Christ. Therefore the identity of the Mystical Body means the ensemble of all people who have the grace of God. Not only Christians and Catholics have the grace of God. In this way the plan of salvation is extended. The paradox is that as members of the Mystical Body there may be non-Christian people, but those who have the grace, while outside, not belonging to the Mystical Body, there are Catholics who live in sin. This is what St. Paul says and that I must point out again, since it is not preached enough. Now I turn to those who have attended the Church for more than half a century: have you ever heard such a concept? Why are these truths so profound and so comforting not being told? Salvation is obtained if we are united with Christ, but here there is still another thing to highlight. Each of us who is in a state of grace is a person chosen individually by God, but if I have been chosen and if each of you has been chosen, it does not mean that God has not chosen the others. Every choice of God must be followed by acceptance, the "Yes" on the part of man. As Mary pronounced her "Yes" on the day of the Annunciation, then, as on the day of the Annunciation God made the great intervention of Incarnation. To our "Yes", God works the great intervention of conversion, of adherence to Him. Then read these passages again and you will savor them in a wonderful way.

How is it possible that God chose us "before the creation of the world", before we began to exist? We were present because everything is present in the mind of God who loves us immensely from eternity, before we began to love him. Here too the discourse of love sees God as the first, absolute protagonist, we support him, we follow him, but we cannot put our answer on the same level with God's call. The Lord calls much earlier, man answers, if he answers, much later. This is a huge, immense, infinite gap between God and man, but it is filled with God's love.

"He made us holy and blameless in his sight". Hence in his love. When you read the Word of God, stop, enjoy it, do not rush, because here is the infinite truth that is progressively revealed in the history of man.

“In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ”. We understand the concept of predestination. Heretics spoke of predestination, but in the sense that God predestined someone to salvation and others were predestined to damnation. This is not what Paul claims. By using this verb, predestinate, St. Paul said that before our being God wanted and wants every man to be saved. If man is not saved it is not because God predestined him to damnation, but by abusing of his freedom and free will, he turns his back on God, rejects him and puts himself in opposition to him.

"In accordance with his pleasure and will". This expression comes back over and over again. Whatever God does, he does it for a twofold purpose: his own glory and the good of others. It is right that the action that starts from God returns to God through the human contribution. This is the praise that God wants, this is the praise that God asks, this is the praise that we must give to God. Well, once we are, as Paul says, "In the One he loves", that is, when we are at one with Christ, for us it is a gratification, then at that point the effects and consequences of this sonship are so great and beautiful that whoever is in front of this masterpiece of God cannot fail to give praise, glory and honor to Him. Normally, to be incorporated with Christ, you need the ministry, or God comes as he wants as everything is possible to God.

"I heard of your faith, of the love you have and for this I give thanks". Here is the shepherd who gives thanks to God for his flock, when it is united it is led towards the truth and consciously responds to the impulses that come from God directly or through his ministers. St. Paul prays to God so that he can give the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation to the inhabitants of Ephesus and I also pray that he may also give you the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation. God's Wisdom helps us to understand God's truths, but we can understand them not with human intelligence and study, but simply when we are enlightened by the Holy Spirit, that is, when we are part of the Mystical Body. So every good shepherd should pray to God so that really this Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation, revelation means manifestation, can come to fruition in every human being or, at least, in every being where his pastoral and priestly action is directed and addressed.

This is also a basis for something beautiful, big and important that we will be doing next week. Do you remember the date of January 10, 2002? First of all, I ask you to resurrect the writing you have written, which I have forgotten and whose existence I have been reminded of: "My Bishop, ordained by Me, has gained victory". Take it out and display it today, first in this chapel and then if we don't celebrate Mass in this chapel it will be exhibited in the basilica. It will be exhibited from today because it must remind, even if there is no need, what God let us know on January 10, 2002. Since we want to solemnize the feast, it will be postponed and moved to the following Sunday. So next Sunday, January 11, we will celebrate what God made known on January 10, 2002. This celebration consist in accepting what the Mother of the Eucharist continually asks from us: pray, pray, pray. I know that we pray, I know that you pray and, at times, we feel tired, because “we pray, we pray but you never see anything here”. But these are the moments when you have to grit your teeth, for those who have it, and move on.

From 2002 to 2009 there are seven years. Seven is a sacred number, it is a recurring number: the seven spiritual works of mercy, the seven corporal works of mercy, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and I believe that if we go looking, there will still be some other event associated with number seven and this also makes me hope that seven may have a meaning for us, that it is a meaningful number.

The Eucharistic day of Tuesday will be moved to Thursday and we will have a triduum: Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On Friday, the second day, there will be the bible class and on Saturday, those who can, those who want, may come and we will do the third day of the triduum. On Sunday 11 January there will be no procession, partly because of the cold and partly because we do not know if it will rain, but we will pray, Eucharistic adoration and Jesus the Eucharist will be solemnly exposed. In the first part, spontaneous songs and prayers, then the apparition and Holy Mass will follow. I believe it is a good way to honor this date and celebrate it. I don't want to be a hypocrite, I've never been one in my life and, even less, I want to be now: I would have liked this celebration to take place in a more joyful, more serene, more peaceful atmosphere, but unfortunately it is not like that. Our Lady tells us to smile, to go on, but it is equally true that one must have a motivation to burst with joy. We have the motivation of waiting, none of us can be like Our Lady, she lived the expectation of her birth in joy, but on the other hand every mother lives it in joy. Since we would like, desire, wish, everyone will give his own contribution as much as possible. This is why I also ask you to pray, in a particular way, for the Bishop and the Seer. Our Lady said, on January 10, 2002, that this victory was achieved through the courage of one, the sufferings of the other and the contribution of your prayers. It is a huge victory, the extent of which cannot be evaluated, as yet, but I think it will be evaluated in the future. It is a victory that has changed the face of the Church, has changed the Church within it, marking the defeat of the enemies of the Eucharist: a huge, really big victory that Marisa saw represented with the writing in golden letters. Well, let's try to store this writing and I want it to be highlighted. I know that just the written word cannot work miracles, He only can work the miracle, that's why I said we will pray. We will gather again around the Eucharist, moaning, trying to smile, trying to move forward. In prayer, when it is sincere, you can say everything to God, a prayer coming from our heart. I hope that no-one recites a prayer just to show off, but everyone recites, at least those who want, a prayer dictated exclusively from the heart. It is an important week for me, for the Seer, for the community, for God's plan and we hope that some blessings will come to us from above.

Let's go back to Paul. God is infinite, his blessings never end, even in three thousand years God will be able to lavish his blessings abundantly, copiously for men and we hope that next Sunday we can reap an abundance of blessings. We may not deserve them, our behavior may not always be up to the task; I say ours, I do not exclude myself, however, by looking at Our Lady beckoning us to go towards the Lord, towards her Son, let's go there with serenity, with trust and love.

Praised be Jesus Christ.