Eucharist Miracle Eucharist Miracles

Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of October 15, 2006

1st reading: Wis 7:7-11; Psalm 89; 2nd reading: Heb 4:12-13; Gospel: Mk 10:17-30

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.” “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields, along with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. (Mk 10:17-30)

Today's readings put me in a big strain because the Gospel is so beautiful, so rich and fertile with reflections that having to reduce everything to a few minutes is difficult, but I will try to give you some ideas so then, if you want, you can continue to reflect on it and if I have some time during the bible classes I will comment on this page which is extremely important to me.

Let's proceed with order. You must keep in mind the episode preceding today's Gospel story, when children flock around Jesus to be caressed; this annoys the disciples, who instead try to drive them away, but Jesus defends them by saying: "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these" (Mk 10:14). Keep this in mind for two reasons: to understand well the words that Jesus utters to the rich young man and to better understand the young man's attitude.

Children are deprived of wealth, their parents may possibly have it, but the little ones manage nothing and therefore are in the same conditions as the poor. What are the two privileged categories that go to Heaven? The poor and the children. So to go to Heaven one must detach from material goods and be simple and pure like children. This teaching deserves to be pondered, but I will go on with my reflection.

Imagine this young man approaching Jesus, is good mannered, educated, is a good Israelite, a perfect observer of the law, but something is missing in his heart. Jesus also overturns a mental setting of the Jewish world where riches were a blessing from God, therefore the rich man was the one who had received a particular blessing from Yahweh. However, Jesus also gets rid of this way of thinking by favoring just the opposite, that is, not wealth, but poverty. The young man turns to Jesus calling him: "good teacher". He still does not have faith, he cannot understand that he is facing the Messiah, the Son of God, but he considers Him a doctor of the law, a good and talented teacher. "Good", because certainly the rich young man saw the scene of Jesus going to meet the children and was moved to see Jesus’ paternal feelings. That is why he says: "Good teacher". When you read the Gospel you must always meditate every single word, because it is of incalculable richness and sublime beauty.

Keep in mind what Paul said about the Word of God and you will better understand what I am trying to tell you. "Good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Mk 10:17). Eternal life is not just the one after death, but it is really a life of uninterrupted union with God, which must also begin on Earth. It will be sublimated, it will be perfected in Heaven, after death, but in any case we will reap in Heaven what we have lived and nurtured during our earthly life. Here it is, his anxiety is already promising, because instead of locking himself up in enjoying his wealth, he also thinks of his future, to the afterlife. Jesus replies: “Why do you call me good? Nobody is good, except God alone" (Mk 10:18). Heretics have chosen this verse to endorse their theory that Jesus is not God. However, Jesus does not say that He is not good, does not say that He is not the Son of God, does not say that He is not the Messiah, but tries to stimulate a reflection from this young man, that is: "why do you call me good since only God is good?" What does it mean? It means that in the heart of this young man, faith begins to take root, even if, unfortunately, it will not develop. So, if God is good, even if what He asks of you is not to your liking, you have to accept it even if it is difficult, just because what God asks of you is equally good. In a nutshell, you must keep this reality in mind: Jesus begins to nurture this young man, because in His plan, unfortunately not coming to fruition because of the young man's non-correspondence, he should have been another apostle. "Come and follow me", therefore the young man should have been one of his intimate, his disciple. Jesus illuminates the young man's mind, begins to give right suggestions to his heart, gives the strength to welcome them and puts him in a position to accept them, but He stops because of human freedom. Man is free to follow or reject the Lord's call. This is the correct meaning of the verse: “Why do you call me good? Nobody is good, except God alone”. I say it again, Jesus does not say "I am not God, I am not good", but "Trust God, whatever he tells you, it will always be for your good, even if you do not understand it, much less to your liking". "Master, I have observed all these things since I was a boy" (Mk 10:20), with this confession the young man draws closer to Jesus. “Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." (Mk 10:21). Now think carefully about this situation and think about what Jesus felt: He is faced with a candid soul, an honest soul, a young man who could truly do good and bring his teachings among the Jewish people and all over the world. Try to understand what goes through Jesus’ heart; I believe that it has not been sufficiently said how great his suffering and sadness was for the refusal of this young man. He could have been the thirteenth apostle, the fourteenth if we also count Paul, but He was not.

Mark the evangelist highlights this great love. In fact, the Latin expression is more significant: "Iesus autem intuitus eum dilexit eum" that is: "Jesus looked at him with a look that reaches the bottom of the soul", a look full of love: He looked at him and loved him. When Jesus loves a person, He wants him to become completely His, but He leaves him to freely decide and unfortunately this refusal makes Him suffer.

We must not forget that Jesus, because He is God, in this rich young man who refused to follow him because he was attached to his belongings, saw apostles, priests, bishops and popes who, throughout history, have remained attached to their wealth. Even today, for many clergymen power and money are the desire they nurture with more passion and is the goal they want to reach; they make Christ suffer like the rich young man. As Christ suffered because the one He called did not accept poverty, so still today He continues to suffer because some of the called, instead of distributing their wealth to the poor, keep it for themselves or, at most, for the small circle of their families. This attitude goes against the will of God; the Church must be poor, must make the choice of the poor, must privilege the poor, must be closer to them, because she is the mother of those in need, she is not only a teacher, but also a mother who protects, defends and feeds.

“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" (Mt 25:35-36); these recommendations from Jesus are primarily applicable to all of us. A priest, a bishop, a cardinal, a Pope who lives in wealth, who tries to hoard more and more without helping those who have nothing, goes against the will of God; for them - I declare it with authority because this has been revealed to me many times - there is no salvation, for them there is no Heaven. Remember what Our Lady said today: “Muslims, Orthodox, evangelists and members of all other religions will go up to Heaven with her; they are saved for having made an act of charity, a gesture of love. It is not true that those who do not belong to our religion are not saved. Those who perform works of love, understanding, and solidarity are saved." Why will Jews, Evangelists, Protestants and members of other religions have the bliss of enjoying God? Because they did an act of love, a gesture of charity.

I remember once when we were in Chiavari, Marisa was already in her wheelchair and we literally got bogged down with the wheels in the sand, so I could no longer get her out. Four workers, who were working nearby, saw the incident, stopped their work, ran down, took the wheelchair by the four sides and raised it and brought it onto the tarmac, so we could go on with our journey. Shortly afterwards, Our Lady appeared, telling us that thanks to that gesture of love, the four workers would be saved and would go to Heaven. You see, this is the confirmation, we go to Heaven only if there is love, otherwise we don't go there: this applies to us and everyone. Remember: love is the pass for Heaven, "Love is the Telepass for Heaven". See how beautiful the Word of God is, how many horizons it opens!

After this young man goes away, Jesus makes this reflection which sums up all that I have said to you: "How difficult it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!" (Mk 10:23). I believe that the Church will certainly change and be reborn. I ask you to pray forcefully, so that whoever will guide her is truly according to the heart of God and has the strength, the courage to proclaim and make the Church live in poverty; so that all mercenaries who approached the Church only to receive honors, offices, power and wealth will be turned away. The words of Jesus sound appropriate, even if He said them in another context: “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God" (Mk 10:27), therefore the Church should not rely on earthly wealth, but on evangelical poverty. This is possible, this must be done and obtained with the help and grace of God.