Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of October 5, 2008
Isa 5:1-7; Ps 79; Phil 4:6-9; Mt 21:33-43
Today we officially welcome the people joining our community, and until a few weeks ago, to their great joy, they were roaming this garden, playing and having fun. Fun will not be taken away from you but remember, and this is the word of God, that there is a time to play, to have fun and a time to think and learn. You now begin an education that will take you over the years as it happened to your parents who are now responsible persons because they have received many teachings. I would like the first bench to be reserved for the younger lambs of my flock, and you adults give them your seat, on the other hand it is right that step by step they will take root, for the time will come for them to be an example and witness to pass on the memory of what happened here. I rejoice because I have seen them since they were born, I baptized them and now it is nice to see them listening to me, albeit with a little effort and a bit moody, but this is normal; you will find over time that you will enjoy listening to the Bishop, as the adults did. While I was pondering today's readings in my mind, but especially in my heart, thoughts were beginning to rush forth: God's Word is so rich, fertile, harbinger of thoughts and comments, that I am amazed and it is very difficult to explain with a few words these wonderful pages, but I will try to be clear so that you can really enjoy the beauty of what comes from God.
But I would first open a digression: you will certainly have learned from the media that today begins the synod of Bishops from around the world and the theme is the word of God. I would like to emphasize that this is the fruit of Eucharistic miracles and apparitions in this place; the synthesis of the teaching of God is: "Know Jesus' word. Love Jesus the Eucharist". The Synod current theme is the word of God and in 2005 was the Eucharist. Although the ecclesiastical authorities do not admit it, the Church is being revived and is finding new blood and new vigor from the thaumaturgic place. In this place God operated wonderful works and you know, even if the divine intervention is done in concealment and apparent oblivion, that it has a resonance and effect reaching boundaries far away from us. The three-hundred bishops who are in Rome for the Synod are coming from all over the world to reflect on very important issues that God the Father, Jesus and the Mother of the Eucharist brought here over the years and they will return to their land after unconsciously drawing from a source that flows abundant, clean, and not only will quench their thirst, but also of all the souls that they must guide and lead to God. "Love Jesus the Eucharist, know Jesus the Word", this is another great intervention of God in his Church and I stress "His". The Father wanted to get the sap from a small clod unfortunately still trampled on by heels that are dirty and reprehensible.
I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: my loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit. Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled. I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated, and briers and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on it. The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the nation of Israel, and the people of Judah are the vines he delighted in. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.
The vineyard mentioned by Isaiah is the people of Israel, people chosen, cared for and protected by God, people to whom God had given his teachings so that, by respecting them, they would lead a righteous life. Instead, the vineyard that would have born tasty fruit, gave unripe fruits; and the people of Israel did not respond to the call of God and He punished them, for the divine punishment is the purification that is used to make Israel aware of the errors it did and bring it back within the fold of the doctrine of justice and faithfulness to God. If you had a little knowledge of the people of Israel you would see how many times it fell under the domination of enemies just because of its unfaithfulness to God.
Now let us read the passage from the Gospel of Matthew.
At that time, Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people: Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. Last of all, he sent his son to them. 'They will respect my son", he said. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other: 'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him and take his inheritance". So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. "Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?" "He will bring those wretches to a wretched end", they replied, "and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time". Jesus said to them: "Have you never read in the Scriptures: the stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes? Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit".
We still talk about a vineyard, but be careful, the vineyard Jesus is talking about does not represent the people of Israel as mentioned earlier, but the privileges and gifts that God has given to his people. These gifts were not used and therefore the privileges that God has given to the Jewish people go to a new population which is the Christian one. Let's go back to Isaiah's reading: this passage must be applied to us too, to our situation, not the community situation, but that of the Church: Christ instituted His Church that would have born savory and sweet fruit because with his death He redeemed men, He instituted the sacraments, gave the Word, provided all the tools so that those who became part of the Church could be faithful, starting from the leaders. Today we always hear: "The Church must be born again, must change"; in yesterday afternoon letter of God, Our Lady repeated, but you heard it for the first time: "Your bishop will have to put the Church in order, cleanse it from Masons, thieves, dishonest and immoral people, and I am not listing all of them". Our Mother was speaking about the members of the ecclesiastical authority who must be dismissed and the one who should carry out this task, I am almost embarrassed to say, is your Bishop. They cannot go on like this, they have soiled, plundered and wounded the Church which can rise again only with God's action that now is starting to look clearer. Read the messages with care and intelligence and you will see that you will have many answers to questions that each of us is continually asking; it is clear that things cannot go on like that; God the Father said it in all manners and in every way: "It is enough, it cannot go on like that, you have to change the Church, the Church must change". The Church did not respond and then here it is, as written in Isaiah, the Master let his enemies free to wreak havoc on the people of Israel, and this is what is happening in this last period: the devil has had a go. God allowed his servants and his son, in the parable, to be kicked out; I would like to stop here and let you ponder on one thing: they killed the tenants, the ministers whom the master had sent, but look what pharisaism, they did not soil the vineyard because they killed them outside it in order to have the appearance of legality. But see how the enemies always do nothing but the same mistakes and the same faults and then what is the way to ensure that the situation will change? Paul says how.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
It is the conversion that must start from the top. The Council of Trent, one of those that mostly renovated the Church says that there must be a renewal, "in capite et in membris", that is, at the top, in the leaders and members of the Church. And how to do it? By seeking honesty. You understand then what Our Lady said: "Away with Masons, away with dishonest people, away with thieves", you did not hear, but she also said: "Away with pedophiles". So who loves the Church? Those who are jeopardizing their health and life to revive it, they love the Church, not those who dominate. We love the Church. God spared us nothing and asked us so much physical and mental suffering to the point, and you have heard it today, as you heard it last Sunday, that Marisa said: "I just want to retire". We love the Church, and one day, I hope not too far away, everyone will realize that just as the triumph of the Eucharist and of the Mother of the Eucharist started from here, in the same way, for this is the will of God, will start from here the triumph of the Church, that is, its revival preceded by our triumph. What else can I say? Everything I said is here, in these scripture passages; read them again and you will see that everything you have heard is a possibility that is offered to you for an easier reflection.
If we love Marisa, if we want to make her happy, we take upon ourselves, within our limit, the burden of this mission and ask God with insistence that she is taken to Heaven. Those who do not know, when they come in and hear these words may not understand, but if I say this, it is because I know how things are and what is Marisa's wish which is also Our Lady's wish, but we have to take the burden of the mission on us. That's why Our Lady told us we do pray and pray well, for we know how to love even if sometimes she makes maternal rebukes because she wants us perfect, and to be like that, some corrections must be made even for small flaws; then intensify your prayer, participate to the Holy Mass, Holy Communion, Holy Rosary, Eucharistic adoration, small or big sacrifices that you yourselves choose, even fasting for those who can do it. Many of us, even if not matching Marisa's suffering which is huge, can be of great help to the Lord in order to continue this mission before the triumph of the Church.
Can there be triumph if young people are alienated from the Church? Who and what has led them away? You know who! Who is bringing them to God? You know who!
Then this is the mission that I place it in your heart and that will last for years or decades, you will pass the baton on to your children, for a few years will not be enough for conversion but we will reach such a situation where those who come after us will have a better condition of life.