Eucharist Miracle Eucharist Miracles

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

1st reading: Gen 3:9-15, 20; 2nd reading: Eph 1:3-6, 11-12; Gospel: Lk 1:26-38

After the man had eaten of the fruit of the tree, the Lord God called him and said, "Where are you?" He replied: "I heard your voice in the garden: I was afraid, because I am naked, so I hid" He went on: "Who let you know you're naked?" “Did you eat from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said: "The woman you placed next to me gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it." The Lord God said to the woman, "What have you done?" The woman said: "The serpent deceived me and I ate."

Then the Lord God said to the serpent:

"Since you have done this,

cursed you above all livestock

and all wild animals!

You will crawl on your belly

and dust you will eat

for all the days of your life.

I will put enmity between you and the woman,

between your lineage and hers:

this will crush your head

and you will strike his heel”.

The man called his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living (Gn 3:9-15, 20).

You have heard the expression several times: "The Immaculate Conception opens history, the Mother of the Eucharist closes history". Today Our Lady repeated it, but, probably, the theological interpretation of this high and solemn declaration, uttered by the Mother of the Eucharist, escapes you.

In the plan of salvation and in God's plans, Our Lady is present from the very beginning and even before the implementation of the plan of salvation. It is at the very beginning of human history, shortly after God intervened creating animate and inanimate realities and placing man at the center of creation, that man rebelled against God and the consequence of this rebellion is what all of you know. We can say that God is quicker in promising salvation and redemption than man is in committing this act of disobedience and rebellion against Him. And here are the words that are handed down, coming from God, that have been kept and must be kept in mind concerning human history: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your lineage and hers: this will crush your head and you will strike his heel".

Scholars, exegetes have come to the most logical conclusion: it is Christ, Mary’s lineage, who crushes the devil, who overcomes sin and who cancels sin. To carry out this plan of salvation God made use of Mary. He wanted Mary, a human creature, to be raised up and share, as a consequence, the fate of her Son. God raised her up and wanted her to be the mother of His Son and share His fate in pain and glorification. So it is true that Christ, as the Son of God, crushes the head of the serpent, but it is equally true that it is Mary, together with her Son, who crushes the head of the serpent. The clarification and meaning of the term "lineage" must not just stop here, it is great and immense: in his love, in his goodness, in the respect that God exercises towards the creatures, in the term lineage the human race must also be included, thus accepting the redemption and salvation coming from Christ. We are children of God and children of Mary therefore, we too, with humility and gratitude, because God has raised us so high, participate in the struggle to reach the devil’s final defeat.

"I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your lineage and her lineage." Who are those on the part of the demon's lineage? They are the enemies of God. Who are those on the part of Mary’s lineage? They are the children of God. You find confirmation of what I am telling you in the great apostle Paul when, in the passage that you have heard and that we have already commented in the Bible classes this year, he says: "Blessed be God who blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heaven in Christ" (Eph 1:3). In this declaration of Paul it is contained, in a theologically higher and more perfect way, everything that I have told you: it is in Christ and through Christ that we become children of God and, consequently, Mary’s children, so much so that Paul himself always affirms this sonship, predestining us to be His adopted children through the work of Jesus Christ. Therefore, if we are children of God, we are also, consequently, Mary’s lineage. I explained to you that the term "adoption" that Paul is using here, should not be considered with the meaning and acceptance that we commonly give to the term "adoption" in the civil law. In the latter, the term "adoption" means recognizing the paternity over another, who is indicated and recognized as a son by the state. In human adoption, between the father and the son there is no similarity and no passage of DNA and character as instead occurs in human birth, in natural generation. Our relationship of adoption with God, therefore, is different from human adoption, it means that God introduces a reality that makes us similar to Him. It is at the very beginning of the Bible that we read: "Let us make man in our image and likeness", therefore we, in regard to God, have that right likeness that allows us to call God, the Father, and to resemble God. All this puts us in the situation and reality that also characterizes the struggle existing between God and Our Lady, on the one hand, and the devil on the other. If we are "chosen lineage", as Paul always says, "royal priesthood", we must show this, in a particular way, by undertaking the daily struggle against evil and sin.

And then that's why, perhaps in a solemn way and for the first time, I say, to the whole community, to all members who are scattered around the world and are linked to it and are so many more than we can imagine; to all of you, thank you in the name of for your decision and choice to be on God's side. I will repeat it until the last moment of my life, not because God needs us, but because God loves us so much that He wants, He eagerly desires that we are united with him in the earthly life and above all, in the afterlife. If this does not happen it is not because of God's incapacity, but because of men’s responsibility, because of us men who, like Adam and Eve, like the rebellious angels, had the courage and the presumption to say "no" to God. You said "Yes" to God and it is right that, on this solemn day when the Church was consecrated to God, each of you should receive the right appreciation, the just praise from the pastor, because you are elected members of the mystical body of God, you occupy the first places in God's plans, you are and must feel God's lineage and Mary's lineage.

All this must take place with a spirit of authentic humility and that is why this year is the year of humility and this commitment has been indicated for adequate and proportionate growth in this necessary and indispensable virtue, because humility is truth.

We cannot ignore humility that makes us appreciate the gifts of God and, at the same time, by not attributing to us the merit of what we do because we do it helped by these gifts, all praise, all glory goes to the craftsman who bestowed these gifts on each of us: humility and truth. God takes the arrogant and the proud away from you, God transforms the last that are humble into the first, the first will be the last and the last will be the first, this is God's will, this is the teaching of Christ.

We have extrapolated from Our Lady’s canticle of the Magnificat some expressions that fit our case, “He has cast down the mighty from their thrones”. Those who, in their boundless arrogance, have even thought they could do without God and rise up to become the architects of men’s destiny, both in the civil and religious fields, will be overthrown with the same ease with which a child overturns a house of cards, which has previously been patiently set up by an adult. Those who were powerful and who rose up, leave empty places and these empty places are occupied by the last ones. "He has lifted up the humble", this year our lifestyle must be like that.

We hope that our Lord may carry out his interventions and, even if he were to begin his interventions and bring us to the attention of the Church and the world, woe to us if we lived these moments of exaltation, of greatness, with the human spirit of self-satisfaction and self-complacency. We must thank God, full stop. This is the example that Mary gives us: when she is appreciated, recognized and, for the first time, externally declared "Mother of God", what is her reply? "He has looked with favor on his humble servant" and more appropriate would be on the "lowliness of his servant". Even the Mother of God, with her enormous greatness and dignity, in front of him, compared to that of God, is always subordinate and immensely inferior. St. Joseph too stands before us in his greatness, lived in silence and humility.

But there is a third character, whom I love to show you as an example this year and I ask him for a particular protection; he is the one who has been on Peter’s throne for thirty-three days only, but who left an indelible trace in the Church history. A few weeks that gave an impulse and a new style on how to embody and live the pontifical service, the papacy. You know that I knew and loved John Paul I, when he was a bishop; I did not have the time to approach him afterwards, I will certainly approach him when both of us will be before God, in Heaven, but I have appreciated his humility ever since. That's why I tell you, let's love him, let's follow his example, he never sought honors and offices but was gradually brought by God to occupy the highest office in the Church government. It doesn't count that he exercised the pontifical power for a short time only, what matters is the way he conceived it. After John Paul I, only those who are united with God will be able to continue his lifestyle and his way of exercising the papacy that he did not live in a subdued tone as his critics have said, but with that spirit that comes from Christ in such a way that he can go and meet the last ones and worry about being understood even by people who have no education, because he could have shown off his culture and wisdom, but he said a very important and significant sentence: "High clouds yield no rain". If a man gets so high and loses contact with his brothers, he becomes useless. He can be cultured, know all languages, can have a very great experience, write many books but, if he rises so high, he becomes incomprehensible and the written books are useless because they lack the only wisdom that is necessary for knowing the gospel and to follow the Christ and it is the wisdom that comes from God.

This year we will frequently turn to the servant of God, John Paul I. His process of beatification at the diocesan level is over and the documents have been brought to Rome, I hope and pray to God that his canonization may take place in the near future, because if there is a Pope who deserves to be exalted and raised to the altars, he is Albino Luciani. Perhaps it was the Pope of this century as he knew how to best embody Christ’s image: "Come to me for I am gentle and humble in heart" and men, the little ones, the simple ones have understood it, have accepted it, they loved him and continue to love him. Do we want to be humble? Then let us follow this great, really great Pope and we too will become equally great and really great, not according to useless human judgments, but according to the only important judgment that is needed, that of God, a judgment that will be followed by the invitation to be introduced to Heaven. This counts, we must arrive at this, this we must desire, that is, to be able to hear the words of God resonating in our soul: "Come faithful servant, come to the joy of your Lord prepared for you since the foundation of the world".

And then, children of Mary, children of God, we will enjoy this sonship and we will see God as he is. Remember, when we are in Heaven we will have a knowledge, a height of intelligence, a very great and very strong penetration of the mystery of God whereby we will know the divine truths much better than the greatest theologians could have achieved in their studies during the earthly life. With this, bowing down to God, we thank him for the gift he gave us, donating such a high, powerful, graceful mother and, we too, let us stop in front of this masterpiece and say: "Blessed God, author of all good".

Praised be Jesus Christ.

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.