Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of February 15, 2009
6th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Lev 13:1-2, 45-46, Psalm 31, 2nd Reading: 1 Cor 10:31-33, 11:1; Gospel: Mk 1:40-45
The three proclaimed readings apparently have no logical sequence among them, but you will see that, after listening to my words, you will be able to make a single talk out of them. Let's start with the first reading and the Gospel, although independent one from the other, one is the follow up of the other.
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron: "When a man has on the skin of his body a swelling or an eruption or a spot, and it turns into a leprous disease on the skin of his body, then he shall be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons the priests. The leper who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry: 'Unclean! Unclean!' He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease; he is unclean; he shall dwell alone in a habitation outside the camp". (First Reading)
At that time a man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, "If you are willing, you can make me clean". Jesus was filled with compassion, he reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: "See that you don't tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them". Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere. (Gospel)
In the first reading, the Lord teaches the Jewish people how they should behave towards people with leprosy, a repulsive disease that disfigures and destroys the outer part of the human body, namely skin and flesh. It is a terrible disease, so those who were affected had to detach from the common social context and even warn, if they were found in the vicinity of people or houses, not to approach them. One of these lepers was healed by Jesus who, nonetheless, renews the order that was handed to Moses by God for the Jewish people. However not all diseases had to be treated so severely, only this one because was most loathsome and contagious. People affected by other diseases, in fact, could remain quietly at home with their relatives or in their home, only lepers were banished.
In a spiritual life, the disease striking a soul is mortal sin. But are all sins so appalling and have such terrible consequences? The answer is "no"; not all sins are dangerous in the same manner. As leprosy is the most repugnant disease for the body, so there is a sin that, when it strikes the soul, creates the most hideous death: it is the sin against love, namely hatred, loathing, anger, revenge, resentment, slander and defamation. Speaking badly of others is the most repulsive sin and, as the lepers had to be separated because contagious, so should be separated and detached those who are disfigured in their soul because they act against charity, for their presence at home, in the community, parish and society is extremely dangerous. Human frailty shows in many ways, deceit and impurity are an example, yet, they are not such terrible sins with dreadful consequences as the sin against charity. This is why those who live with rancor and resentment are the ones closer and more alike Satan. The devil is the one feeding on the most tremendous resentment and anger towards God and this I can confirm because, in my experiences with the possessed, I could always find the vehemence of the hatred they have against God and the people closer to Him. Satan hates himself and hates his peers, he is not even appreciated by the entire satanic category. As there is love among angels, so among demons there is hatred, revulsion and resentment. The consequence is that people in a state of grace are living with love and behave like angels and behave like God who is love, while the people who are sinning, especially those living with rancor, hatred and resentment, are in a position to mainly harm those who are part of their family. If there is no love, the husband will not love his wife, the wife will not love her husband, parents will not love their children, children will not love their parents and so on. So why do we wonder when newborn babies are abandoned in garbage bins or, when still in the womb, are killed by abortion? A mother does not love his son if she hates, if she feels rancor and resentment. So much so, and I refer back to the experience I've had in the field of the possessed, the absolute first cause for which men are slaves and are dominated by Satan is hate. Try to get a complete cure and the advice I can give you is to stay away from those who hate, do not associate with them, for sooner or later you will get damaged by them, they will hurt you, they cannot do good because they are like Satan. The devil will never convert, he cannot convert and those like him are in the same situation. One of the truths we have received from Our Lady is that God is so merciful that even after death, before His Judgement, He will still grant the possibility of conversion. But those who have hated and lived in anger and resentment will not be able to take advantage of this opportunity, for they are just the same as the devil who hates God, and even if they know that God is supreme, is all, they fight Him with the stupid illusion to destroy Him. God is unbeatable! It may then happen that people whom we thought outside the Church because they divorced, remarried or people who have had weaknesses in the flesh, who did not go to Mass, will go to Heaven because they knew how to love and do good. I remind you the event that happened when we were in Chiavari several years ago: Marisa was already forced in a wheelchair and during one of our walks the wheelchair got stuck in the sand where they were reworking the pavement. People went by, but nobody helped us; four workers working nearby saw the scene, came running, raised the wheelchair and placed it on the tarred road. Our Lady came at once and told us that, for this act of charity, the four workers would have had their souls saved. It is easier for people who have not prayed, who did not go to Mass or have committed sins in other areas to convert than - and I say it from my long experience - to witness the conversion of a person, layman or ecclesiastical, in the highest hierarchy or in the lower levels, who has lived in rancor or resentment, and be saved thereafter. Do you understand now, with a more convincing light, God's expression - and when God speaks we must listen and ponder every word - where He states: "Woe to those who slander my Bishop". I remember that people were shocked to read this, but if they would have listened to what I'm telling you, they would have understood that hate means to get in a situation of persistent opposition to God. I do not know anybody, and I say it again, who has hated and has been saved. These are people who harm themselves for they are condemned to hell and make the others live a bad life. I had no problems from prostitutes, blasphemers and not even from people who never go to church and do not receive communion, but I had problems, and many, from those who have come to hate. These people live badly, so much so, and you know because Our Lady said it publicly, that those who were strongly opposed to both God's plan and to those whom God has called for these missions in the Church (Marisa and myself), cannot sleep at night out of dread and fear. When in the Vatican they got my letters, Benedict XVI told the two secretaries: "This is the one everyone fears"; but of whom is the devil afraid? Of God and the people who love and those close to Satan are afraid, even if they are not going to admit it, of God mainly but also of those who love God and out of this love they have made their way of life. Here it is: those who hate are more dangerous than a leper for themselves and for their families. You certainly know people who nurture rancor, resentment and hatred, but how is the family living with them? Can it be a happy and united family? Devil is united to no one, not even to another demon, and the people who hate do not merge with anyone. Probably I never delivered such a clear, sharp and precise talk, but now the time has come. If you analyze, without rising as judges, the reason why many have left this community you will come to a common denominator: hate. It even happened that some people who harbored hatred for reasons that it is not right to talk about, rang at our door and Marisa did not see them but did see the devil ringing; for some of them, including priests, God has allowed me too to see their face: red eyes, an awful face, a hard look. Now you understand what the greatest commandment is: to love God and love your neighbor. That is all.
Let's go back to St. Paul's reading.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God, even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. (Second reading)
I have told you that there is a follow up in today's readings. In the few lines of the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians, it is clear that Christians must be led and inspired by two principles: the glory of God and love for your neighbor. Paul says it clearly: do everything for the glory of God, and about himself he says: "I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many". So if we want to find ourselves in a situation to be similar to God, we might be weak and fragile, but never come to hate: everything is allowed but hate. From every weakness, every frailty you can go back, you can heal, but from hatred you never heal. Among the designations that Our Lady gave me, the most beautiful is Bishop of the Eucharist, but there is another one: Bishop of Love. Now you understand why: Yes, I can say before God that, despite receiving much evil, much wickedness from the ecclesiastical and secular circles, I have never hated anybody. I can add what Paul said of himself, he said it without embarrassment, I with some clumsiness, perhaps because I have yet to grow in the simplicity of the Gospel: "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ". So I can say to you: "Follow my example, as I try to follow the example of Christ". You know that in one of the holy cards of various anniversaries I wrote: "Christ is the reason of my existence"; and I do not see any other, all the reasons are there, in Christ. In Him there is everything: the souls, the Church and by loving the church I love the Eucharist, I love the Church, I love the souls. In the same way you too, do not allow yourself to be ever poisoned by the terrible evil of hate, a satanic sickness, but fight it. If you love yourself, you must come to the point to pray to God to let you die before you get to hate because those who hate are destroying themselves, the family, friends, parish and community. For this reason I repeat what Our Lady said when people from our community went away and I felt a great sorrow and suffering: (I was not yet Bishop) "My dear priest, thank God because there are no more rotten apples in your basket". This must be the style of our community, this must be the style of the Church. Today, things are not going well because there is no love in the Church, not even among those who apparently seem to show solidarity and unity among themselves (and I am talking about our opponents). This is also what happens in Italian politics. I mention no names, I never make political references, but you know that several of them, while contrasting each other, are held together only by an aversion to other politicians, then the union is given by hatred for this or that person. It happens in the same way between ecclesiastical and secular people who do not respect each other, so much so that they are constantly tripping each other, but are united by hatred and resentment towards me and Marisa. What have Jesus, God and the Our Lady said? As they are not able to go openly against Them, they tenaciously go after us and come to slander, even to concoct everything. But is it possible? Yes, for they hate and hatred is unstoppable. As one increases in love every day, so every day they increase in their hate. The choice is yours, but woe to you if you choose to stay on the other side. I'm ready, for I love you, to pray to our Lord to make you die before you detach from Him. This is love, I am interested in your eternal happiness; I want to meet you all in Heaven and I pray to God we may find all of us there. Sometimes one wonders why death has taken a young man or a good person. Well, maybe God took him so he would not become evil. We must see reality in the light of God, if we see it through the weak and wavering human light, we do not understand anything. God's light enlightens, manages to bring out even the most remote corners of our being. The best conclusion of this conversation is: "First learn to love and then pray". There are false and hypocrite people among the clergy; they show up as pious and devout when others are there, especially television and newspapers and then when they are alone, they do not even celebrate Mass. "First learn to love and then pray". If there is love there is also prayer, they are two commitments closely united. Inevitably, true prayer requires love; the hypocrites, Jesus too said it, stand to pray in the middle of the squares so everybody may see them. When you pray, sit in your room where no one sees you and ask God: the relation is between you and Him. God's judgments are completely different from those of men!
To lift your spirit I will tell you our last experience Marisa and I have had. Today, unfortunately, she is very sick, so much so that there was not even the apparition, but yesterday afternoon, while we were listening to Marisa's songs to Our Lady and the Holy Spirit, Our Lady came, and not just her; with great surprise the whole of Heaven, the Beatific Vision one, came around, with all those who are in the condition of the Beatific Vision. Then there was the Most Holy Trinity, Our Lady, all the saints and all the angels. We had a conversation of more than half an hour on confidential and personal matters. Eventually Our Lady asked me to give her my blessing; by now I no longer put up any resistance since several years ago when she asked it for the first time. At that time I did not want to, but she said: "Obey!" and so I did. This time the beautiful and meaningful thing was that the whole of Heaven, with the obvious exception of God and Jesus, was kneeling down. Out of all the various talks, in one only I am particularly interested and is the reason why I told you about this experience: you notice how different is the reasoning of God from men, the reasoning of Heaven from hell and from those who hate, who are already living the hell and will never reason and think like God.
One more thing: During yesterday's meeting, our Lord told us the desire that this year we shall celebrate my birthday in the most solemn manner, I do not know why. You know that I am not even in the mood to celebrate after another year of suffering. But this is the will of God! What does this mean that He wants it more solemn than other years? This is up to you for the preparation, decorations and all the rest, but I was also given another indication which caught me, in a sense, off-guard, for I have always said that I connect my birthday with my priesthood celebration. This year our Lord wants to highlight an important concept that should part of the Church: next to every priest there must be a victim. Christ alone is priest and victim, the others who are sharing His priesthood are priests only, but the effectiveness of priesthood (this is the doctrine, the truth coming from God) depends also on the suffering and sacrifice of a human victim. So divine priest and divine victim united in Christ; human priest and human victim separated in man. This is the scheme you need to set your thoughts on during the wake you plan to do. I have prepared many of them for three and a half years, now you begin to take over; all prayers that will be said will be based on this topic: priest and victim, Bishop and seer.
This is from God; this is what I have told you, this is what you have to do.