Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of October 7, 2007
1st Reading: Hab 1:2-3, 2:2-4; Psalm 94; 2nd Reading: 2 Tim 1:6-8, 13-14; Gospel: Lk 17:5-10
Often we approach the Scriptures with distraction and almost with disbelief that God may speak to our hearts. Remember what Jesus said: "My Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I am grateful that you hid all this from wise and educated people and showed it to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that is what pleased you" (Lk 10:21), here it is the condition to be able to understand and above all to put into practice the Word of God. The study, the knowledge of ancient languages, Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek and Latin are not enough, because the knowledge and meditations on the Word of God arise in the heart of those where God is present, even if they haven't dedicated many years to the study of Scripture. They can even teach to the great theologians, as Christ said already.
Many times the great theologians have stated inaccuracies when they entered into an explanation of the facts narrated in the Word of God, and worse still on issues that the Gospel does not address.
For example, in the encyclical "Deus Caritas Est", just in the conclusion, there is a reflection that both Jesus and the Madonna have refused: "(Our Lady) recedes into the background during Jesus' public life, knowing that the Son must establish a new family" (Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est, chapter 41). The one who wrote it should have avoided creating a bad impression, and in the future it will be worse when facing history, if he had had the humility to recognize the private revelation. No one is obliged to accept and believe in private revelation, but it contains additional events that were not written in the Gospel. In the last lines of St. John's Gospel, it says: "Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written" (John 21:25). Only God can reveal what is hidden between a line and the other in the Gospel or in the Holy Scripture. The case of the above encyclical is sad, for it attributes to Christ what no good child should do to one's parents: to neglect his mother. Unfortunately it was written that Mary has been neglected by Jesus during his years of public life, and I think you remember what Our Lady said: "My Son never neglected me, he always kept me in the first place".
In fact, from the private revelation we know that Our Lady was always close to Jesus in the ordinary way or in an extraordinary way through bilocation. She, in her profound humility, would step back, pulling away to leave the apostles a place close to Jesus, but He would occasionally turn and call, saying: "Mom come near Me" and would embrace her. Do you think He was neglecting her? Jesus himself said: "I have never neglected my Mother", hence the statement in the encyclical is very serious as it can generate doubts and uncertainties about Jesus' behavior.
I have the courage to denounce this statement, and very soon it will reach the upper echelons in the Vatican, but believe me I do not really care that much. God has called me to defend and spread the truth and therefore I have the task of correcting and rebuking whoever would offend it.
We proceed with the comment of today's first reading. Habakkuk is a name that does not say anything to you because it is one of the so-called Minor Prophets. I've already explained that this expression, coined by S. Augustine, simply indicates the prophets who have left writings shorter than the so-called Major Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel.
Prophet Habakkuk is important because he set out for us some very strong truths. The first part of his writings contains a series of invectives against sinners, rebels and the unjust; the second one contains a wonderful prayer to God, where he relates Yahweh's victories and triumphs. Today's passage is just in the second part and it is a passage that we can feel as our own. In fact, it could be turned not to Hebrews but to our community instead, although a small and weak community, it is the Church in its essence.
The Mystical Body of Christ is made up of a lot of these cells and our community, despite its weaknesses and failings, is certainly one of the most vital, not because is numerous, but for the presence of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and other saints and all the angels of Heaven. Many and great Eucharistic miracles took place here, the most numerous and important apparitions of Our Lady to a simple creature, and a little priest was ordained bishop directly by God. Here there is the Holy Door, which according to the will of God allows you to pay off your debt to Him thus gaining a plenary indulgence for oneself or for the dead. All this happened here. And what was our attitude? What was our behavior? It was exactly like the people of Israel. As the latter had failed the gratitude, trust and faith in God and did not put into practice the teachings received through the prophets, so we have fallen into the same imperfection: we did not give God the testimony He was waiting for. We have not shown Him the gratitude we should have had and we did not have that strong faith bursting from the Eucharistic miracles and from a series of physical, natural materials graces, of which many of us have been the beneficiaries. In the face of all this, what is our attitude? We expect that God hastens and realize what he has promised.
Our Lady, the creature who loved God more than everybody else, with motherly concern and immense sweetness, today, as at many other times, said to us: "Children, what can you expect from God if you do not love?"
Probably we are praying much more than other communities, but sometimes prayer is satisfaction, and to me personally, believe me, is very pleasing and enables me to stay calm, peaceful, serene in front of Jesus the Eucharist and not to be overwhelmed every minute by problems that life is unfortunately offering me. Prayer is then joy, is a happy encounter with God, but charity is greater; remember the teaching: "First learn to love and then pray". Then I suggest for next Tuesday, day when there is the Eucharistic adoration in our community, the day of Charity. Remember the Evangelical teaching from Jesus: "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me'. Then the righteous will answer him: 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? The King will reply: 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me'" (Mt 25:34-40)
We meet Jesus in the Eucharist, we worship His Body, His Blood, His Soul and His Divinity in the Eucharist, but we can meet Him in other ways. Next Tuesday, instead of coming to this miraculous place for worship and stay calm, serene, sitting comfortably or peacefully kneeling before Jesus the Eucharist, do some works of charity. By no means attend the H. Mass in your parishes, to gain strength, but reserve the time it takes to come here and do the worship, to perform works of charity: "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (Jn 13:35). Go and visit someone who is sick and help older people who are not self-sufficient and have no money to pay for caregivers; go to orphanages, hospices, hospitals and, if you feel like doing it, ask who is the sick people who never have a visit, get close to their bed of suffering and loneliness; I ask you to do this and I tell you quite plainly, it was Jesus who suggested it to me. Yesterday when I consecrated and worshipped the Eucharist I felt clearly that He wanted what I have just suggested. Probably we would dedicate to charity a Tuesday in each month.
If we do not grow in charity the promises of God will not be fulfilled. Prophet Habakkuk is telling this to us in a clear and precise way, so that posterity may have documentation that God said and promised these things: "Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets" (Hab 2:2). "For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it lingers, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay" (Hab 2:3).
But who is the one who will gain a victory? Only the righteous and not the sinner. We could have won a victory after the 1999 test, after the three and a half billion converted people and then after Satan's last blow, but were we ready? Did we really give a total and complete love? No. None of you can stand up and say that he has always loved. Here is then that God has rightly postponed His interventions. Of course, one of the reasons is the lack of many conversions among the powerful men of the Church, but let us not always think of others, but to us too. There have been failures in actions, works, omissions and thoughts: all of you, there are no exceptions for anyone. Despite everything, God's love and mercy are coming to us. Trifle and pettiness was present also among the apostles, however, while they recognized it, in our community, on the other hand, we have to always point it out. Each one of you feels just and holy until Jesus, the Virgin Mary or the Bishop have a say. We are not able to examine our conscience!
The apostles asked Jesus: "Increase our faith". And faith is increased in many ways: showing our total commitment to God, believing in everything he has revealed in the public and private revelations, but the safest way to grow in faith is to increase the wealth of graces within us. The grace is favorably increased with love and love leads to Heaven. You also have the prayer card that reads: "Charity is the tollticket to get to Heaven", let's put it into practice. If one has the tollticket in his pocket but he does not use it to cross the toll barrier, he is quite foolish and naive. Here it is, we have been foolish and naive, we had the tollticket; but the tollticket is not just to get to Heaven, but also to reach our brother's heart. In fact, we reach our brother's heart through love and with love, for love is: understanding, dialogue, sensitivity, care and respect for the other. If love is missing, then also all the other qualities are missing. So love leads to God, to your brothers and we may add that for us love speeds up the triumph.
After many years Our Lady has reminded me of a promise she made a long ago, which is that all of us would see her. Surely many of you thought that this promise would never come to fruition. However, the realization of this promise depends on us and I hope that today you have understood it. Who knows, probably it would have already occurred if we had attained that degree of love and charity that God wants.
We have learned from private revelation that in Heaven there is a condition in which some souls do not yet enjoy God's beatific vision: the waiting Paradise. These souls have not yet reached their brothers and sisters to enjoy God's beatific vision because they have not yet reached that level of love and charity that God intended for each of them. In fact, despite not having sins to be served, for in Heaven there are no more debts, the souls have yet to climb a few stairs in the famous ladder of love; if God expected ten from a soul but it gave nine, a notch is still missing and thus the waiting and the loss of God's beatific vision leads the soul to love more and to reach the goal that God decided.
We want to go to Heaven, but we do not want to be kept waiting in the pre-Heaven; these are human expressions, I have not yet found something more meaningful. Then if we want to quickly rush off and get before God and see Him as He is, we must love.
No human being can say how God is, for He does not show openly to men as long as they live on Earth, for no one would be able to sustain this vision, so great, majestic, immense and infinite. The smallness of human nature would experience its own limits, its own fragility and men could even die for the joy of God's vision, there is this limit that can not be overcome as long as we live on earth. So if we want to avoid to be kept waiting in the waiting Paradise, we must love.
Love is not easy, it takes patience, resignation, strength, resolve, courage, perseverance and trust, you need everything. If we want to see the triumph and see Our Lady then we must love. Many times Our Lady said and repeated it again today: "Love your Bishop". The best way is to love each other, to love the others, without excluding anyone: this would speed up the work of God. I beg you, therefore, do not think only of yourself, but to the others.
Here it is what I had to tell you; I hope that what I have said will be put into practice. If you cannot go materially to the people suffering, there is also another possibility: you offer the equivalent of your lunch and your dinner to those in needs. You will not have to give evidence, testimony or reference to me, but God will look and see what we have done. If we didn't do everything we had to do, it will simply be because of our neglect.
To the One and Triune God, to Daddy God, to Brother God, to Friend God goes to the honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.