Eucharist Miracle Eucharist Miracles

Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of October 8, 2006

1st reading: Gen 2:18-24; Psalm 127; 2nd reading: Heb 2:9-11; Gospel: Mk 10:2-16

Today I invite you to open your intelligence to the theological understanding of two fundamental points which are part of our faith and need an explanation. You know the story of the creation of man and woman, but, probably, it escapes you that in this passage the Lord wants to indicate and demonstrate the perfect identity, similitude and similarity between man and woman.

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. (Gen 2:18-24)

The passage from the first reading was written many centuries before female emancipation; therefore, those who rely on the Old or New Testament to highlight the subordination of women towards man lose the cause because this is not the will of God. If we consider the (italian) words uomo (man) and donna (woman), you notice the difference between the two terms, yet, they have something in common. In Latin and in Hebrew there is a phonetic assonance because they derive from the same root. In fact in Latin man is called vir and woman is called virago; in Hebrew this similitude and identity is even more accentuated: man is called is and woman is called issa. Therefore in the passage "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man" the Lord wants to highlight that everything derives directly from Him, so that between man and woman there must be mutual respect. The voice of God, the authority of God intervenes to affirm this identity by saying what Christ will then say in his preaching, reported in today's passage of the Gospel: "Man will leave his father and mother, he will join his wife and they become one flesh." Hence, through today's readings, we see that in God's plan the unity of the marriage bond has been present since the beginning of creation. To go against this will of God is an offense that is done to God. If we consider our body, our person, coming into conflict with ourselves is an indication of a malady, a mental disorder, in fact we cannot be in conflict with ourselves, this is an absurdity that must be healed. Since unity between man and woman is achieved in marriage, it must be safeguarded; therefore conflicts, personalisms, envies, being touchy, have no reason to exist, because, whatever it is, small or big, what the husband says against his wife and vice-versa, after all is an offense not only and not so much towards the other, but to self. If the spouses quarrel with each other, first of all they offend themselves, this means the love talk must be carried forward and respected. Look at how many couples, and we hope you are not among them, offend each other, but by offending their spouse, they offend themselves and go against the precise will of God who established that with marriage a perfect unity is achieved which no temporal, civil or ecclesiastical power can dissolve. Can we divide the body by cutting half of it on one side and half on the other? No, because death takes over. So, when you are attempting to the unity of marriage, and you can do it with words, with attitudes, even with non-serious expressions, you are actually attempting to your life, to your existence. You have never heard of this. Today you hear it for the first time and then become champions, be the first to defend the unity of marriage, to respect your spouse with gestures, with words, with terminology, with actions, with conversations because only in this way will you respect yourself. Respect, for those who are married, for their own person is indissoluble and goes through the respect for the other, to whom it must be manifested. Then the quarrels, touchiness, arguments must not be there, otherwise it goes against the will of God and against the unnatural principle that one goes against himself. If you understand it, put it into practice.

Let's move on to the second reading. St. Paul, when he begins to speak about Christ, goes so high that we can no longer reach him, but every now and then we have to bring him down, among us and ask him what he meant.

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the leader of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren. (Heb 2:9-11)

Sometimes translations are not all that good, in fact in the first expression of the passage to the Hebrews it is written that Jesus was made a little lower than the angels, but, evidently, this is not possible. Here Paul clearly highlights the human nature of Jesus who is one person with divine nature. The theologically exact translation, and I do not understand why the wrong one is still used, is: "Jesus who was made for a little lower than the angels". "For a little" means for a short time, that is, during the three days of his death. Angels do not die, therefore it is the human nature, limited to this period, which was inferior to angels.

"We now see him, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor": the death that momentarily made him inferior to the angels, in the sense that angels do not experience it, and it is the same death, because this was the plan of God, that by his nature, his body would triumph and we find the first manifestation of this triumph in the transfiguration and thereafter bursting with the ascension, as God, to the right of the Father.

"That he, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man": here it is very clear that this was in the Father's plans: you gave me a body so that I would offer it to you.

"And it was right that the one for whom and from whom all things are, wanting to bring many children to glory, would make the leader who led them to salvation perfect through suffering." To understand this passage we must make a small digression. In the Old Testament animals or products of the earth were offered to God in sacrifice, but it was an imperfect sacrifice because through the blood of animals man could not reach his justification and redemption. Man reached justification, that is, freedom from sins, through the perfect sacrifice of Christ, whereby the death of Christ, wanted by the Father, hence the body the Father gave to the Son through Mary’s cooperation, was the perfect sacrifice by which justification and redemption was accomplished.

"Wanting to bring many children to glory" means that redemption is universal, that is, there are no limits; in Heaven there are Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and those belonging to other religions, because, potentially, the sacrifice of Christ is so perfect that it is universal, therefore it is not limited only to Christians or Catholics. God can intervene, if and when He wants, to save all men and this salvation depends on the sacrifice of Christ which has a range, a benefit, a fertility that exceeds the limits of the sacraments themselves. To say that only through baptism there is salvation is an affirmation that goes against the will of God; baptism is a normal, natural condition, but if one says that whoever does not receive it, because he lives in another context, is a damned soul, goes against the exact understanding of the word of God, who wanted to save all men.

“For both he that sanctifies and they who are sanctified", that is, for us, in every way, is enough to reach salvation, "they are all of one", that is, we are all children of God; the Lord did not teach the Our Father only to the Jews, but to everyone.

"This is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers", because Christ himself is man, son of Mary. It seems that the Lord is lowering Christ, but, in actual fact he is raising all men to him.

I leave you to enjoy these statements, these truths. Calmly re-read the two passages that I have mentioned and commented on. If we are all brothers, the first conclusion we draw is that living in fear, wars and attacks are not the will of God. If we are brothers, divisions, struggles, misunderstandings, bad things are not the will of God, but in order that we could all be brothers, God decided that his Son would incarnate and die; He paid his tribute and we turn our backs on this truth. Someone is wondering why the others don't know these things, but soon they will know them and we will find them also in the mouth of some bishops, the same applies to a few things that left this place and reached the Pope's mouth. I don't know when it will happen, but this what the Lord made clear and wants us to live; this you must teach with your life and your word. Praised be Jesus Christ.