Eucharist Miracle Eucharist Miracles

Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of February 11, 2009

Our Lady of Lourdes

1st reading: Gen 2:4-9, 15-17; Psalm 103; Gospel: Mk 7:14-23

It was enough to have read that today is the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes, for some memories to light up in my heart, some of which are a little faded, others still very vivid and clear. I have an intense and particular memory of Lourdes: in Lourdes, back in 1963, I placed my priesthood under Our Lady’s protection; in Lourdes, in 1973, we officially received from Our Lady the invitation to accept the mission that God wanted to entrust to us and that she had described in a few expressive words: "You will suffer greatly". We returned to Lourdes in 1991 and right there Marisa began, under dictation, to write the book on Our Lady’s life. So you see that we have a privileged relationship with Lourdes. Some have called it the sponge of the world because, as a sponge absorbs water so Lourdes absorbs all the evils of the world. One of the moments with the most throbbing emotion, feeling and, at times, even with shivers and tears, believe me, is the moment of the Eucharistic blessing to the sick. I can't, I never managed, on all three occasions I've been to Lourdes, to stop from crying. Believe me, seeing little children who were there helpless and suffering, seeing young people confidently waiting for the blessing Jesus to pass by their bed and place His divine hand on their heads to restore their health, deeply moved me. I have also seen elderly people who have been lying on their beds for years and how can one not shiver and cry? Every time, three times along the years, I repeated the same invocation: "Jesus, You are God, why don't you heal them all", but every time I have uttered this sentence, a new light has always been shed in me to understand more and more and in an ever better and richer way, the mystery of suffering. The mystery of Incarnation is a mystery that satisfies us because it sees us united with Christ and regenerated by him. The Eucharistic mystery satisfies us, because we know it is food and nourishment for our soul and makes us strong, but the mystery of suffering makes us moan. The mystery of suffering can be experienced in two ways, those who are suffering and those who assist the one or those who suffer. I said that I have understood this mystery more and more over the years, but I have been helped to understand it, to delve into the mystery of suffering, through the teachings of God and the teachings of the Mother of the Eucharist and I have seen that their way of talking and the judgments they make about suffering are completely different from human judgments. And so it is appropriate to remember Isaiah: "As far as the sky is from the Earth so my judgments are different and distant from yours". Radio, press and newspapers say that today is the day of the sick, I stress "day", and what does God say? What did Our Lady say about it? They spoke of the "feast of the sick", because the day is something different. There are many days to commemorate many events, the feast instead indicates participation, here is the distance and difference between the two terms. In one way or another I believe that, sooner or later, all men come into contact with suffering and the feast of the sick, according to God, means that those who assist and those who suffer experience this condition with a lively, participatory and strong attitude, this is the meaning of feast. But let's go on; Do newspapers, television, all the mass media perhaps speak of the sick? Lately yes, they have done so because of the well-known affair which was resolved in a dramatic way and contrary to the law of God. But what are they usually talking about? About human events, politicians and some press publications are looking for a whole series of gossip to arouse the curiosity of readers. Who talks about the elderly? Who loves the elderly and the sick? Who respects them? If we talk about the elderly, we do it with detachment and, I would say, sometimes with annoyance. On the other hand, when God speaks of the sick, when he speaks of the elderly who often are elderly and sick, what term does he use? “Pearls of God”, well, do you see how different the human way of going on is from God's way of going on, God’s way of reasoning, God’s way of feeling. “Pearls of God”, pearls are kept in chests, they are kept well-guarded so that thieves do not take possession of them. Well, God is jealous of his pearls, he keeps them, sometimes he restores a shine, luminosity to these pearls that they had lost over the years. A little human being, sometimes forgotten even by his own relatives, is something precious before God, something important, on the other hand where and on what will God judge us? I was thirsty, I was hungry, I was naked, I was sick, I was in prison…, he will judge us on love, on charity, and if a Samaritan managed to see re in a man who had been robbed, wounded by thieves, a brother to assist, so we must be able to see, in the sick person, someone even more important: Christ, who suffers and who makes himself present in every human being. It is the suffering of Christ, the pain of Christ who generated the world and gave life to this world. Our sick loved ones are of great use to God, because their sufferings hold back his arm and he does not rage, God does not strike. When there was, not long ago, that flood which kept hundreds, if not thousands of people in suspense, including the inhabitants of the city of Rome, the waters did not go further, they did not go beyond certain limits, because they were stopped and we know that God intervened. What did God use to say: "I worked this miracle, but you give me something"? God has taken the sufferings of all our sick brothers; yes, he also took our prayers, he also accepted our pleas, but in a particular way, as each of us looks for flowers in a meadow, especially regarding this episode which could have been dramatic, God has sought on Earth every sick person and, like a bee, took honey from the heart of every sick person, to give it as food for all humanity. Suffering generates much more than sermons, much more than encyclicals, much more than seminars, much more than the interventions of big individuals; suffering makes the suffering and dying Christ present in every corner of the earth. As Christ the Eucharist is present in every corner of the Earth, so under the guise of those who suffer he is present in every corner of the Earth. The suffering Christ, the patient Christ and the Eucharistic Christ: here it is, this means that man still has hope of being reborn, that he still has hope of rising again because, in the world, God is present continuously and in different forms. We must not pray for the sick and show them affection, closeness and gratitude only on these days and on these occasions, we must do it all the time. Do you remember when, years ago, urged by Our Lady, I said: why don't you go and do some volunteer work in hospitals, why don't you go in these places of suffering? If you do, you will be in a position to receive far more than you may have given. The contact with suffering impresses and disturbs us but makes us grow and makes us see Christ on the cross and meets our longing to see Christ, for this reason I believe I can adapt, to this situation, the answer that Christ gave Philip when he asked him: "show us the Father" and He said: "Philip, whoever sees Me sees the Father". We can adapt these words to every sick person, because every sick person can say: "whoever sees me sees Christ!” It is not an exaggeration, it is not an overstatement, it is reality: "What you have done to the least of my brothers you have done to Me", therefore there is this identification between the little ones, who can be the weak, the sick, the elderly, with Christ. Suffering is a consequence of sin, we know that. God had created our ancestors immune from suffering and with perfect physical health, but we have lost, in addition to the grace, also the supernatural and preternatural gifts but, beware, sin is overcome by redemption, redemption generates new life but life was generated by the suffering of Christ. And then, once again, there is this invitation from Christ, an invitation that makes us think, makes us reflect, we are told by Paul: "I complete in myself what is lacking in the passion of Christ", placed there on the cross, spreading his arms, who sees every man and sees whoever is suffering, and then, as Our Lady has received in her arms the lifeless body of her Son, so we too must receive, at least in our hearts, the body, the soul, of the human being who suffers. We can ask God, and He intervenes many times, to mitigate, diminish or even eliminate suffering. Some are miraculously healed, others are not, but only God knows his criteria and, sometimes, they are impressive even for us, so that sometimes he can heal a person who in our opinion does not deserve it and sometimes a person who, in our opinion, was good for him to live and, above all, to be healed. We let the Lord choose, we are open to receiving everything, we are not envious if someone recovers or improves his health or if someone remains with his suffering. God knows everything, he has his plans, so when at the end of the Holy Mass I will lay my hands on the head of each one of you, at that moment you will be able to entrust yourselves to God, if you have serious health problems, or people you know, who you love and are sick. At that very moment, the blessing of God, which is concretely given not only by your Bishop but also, as you have heard, by Our Lady, by Saint Joseph and by grandmother Iolanda, will extend to all the people you entrusted and were unable, for one reason or another, to come and be present. I would like you, at that moment, to entrust not only your relatives, but also some people attending this community who, unfortunately, could not be present due to illness. They would have liked more than you to be present today, but they weren't able to do so and so you should entrust not only your relatives but also every member of this community experiencing the mystery of suffering. The blessing that I will give at the beginning is a collective blessing and by spreading your arms, you will be able to ideally see, with the eyes of the soul, that those I have mentioned are also spreading their arms, and after the collective blessing, since I cannot repeat the rite on each of you, it will be enough, by God’s command, for me to place my hands on your head and you, in that moment, make the choice you deem proper. This will happen at the end of the Mass and I will tell you, in order to contain as much as possible a disorderly movement, what is the best way to receive the blessing in silence, recollection and with order. Praised be Jesus Christ.