Eucharist Miracle Eucharist Miracles

Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of March 19, 2006

Feast of Prieshood

I have decided to combine the feast of the priesthood, which we celebrate on the occasion of the anniversary of my priestly ordination, with that of St. Joseph. In this sense I believe it was not a simple coincidence or a fitting choice, but I believe it falls within God's plan.

Yesterday, I expressed my enthusiasm because, despite not having told anything to those who had conceived this drawing at the foot of the altar, they were able to represent, in a clear and sharp way, the theme that in these days and especially during the long nights, I meditated in my mind and in my heart.

At the center of the drawing in front of you is the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the sacrament that has an infinite number of definitions, but there is one that we have never pronounced: the sacrament of the Eucharist is the sacrament uniting everything. Therefore, what seemed distant, such as the priesthood on the one hand and St. Joseph on the other, actually have common points. St. Joseph is not a priest, but always remember that he was the father of the High, First and Eternal Priest. Not a natural father, as Mary is a natural mother, but a legal father and, in any case, the one to whom Jesus addressed with affection, calling him by the sweet name of "Abbà".

The Eucharist unites and we invoke St. Joseph as the "Guardian of the Eucharist". We hope that this invocation will soon spread within the Church, as all our other activities, reflections, commitments and plans that we have made. This invocation to Saint Joseph should be pronounced every time, as I do, during the celebration of the Holy Mass.

To some theologians, this appeal could turn their nose and arouse a certain suspicion. Unfortunately, those who do not have the light of the Holy Spirit in them, even if educated, fail to see the heights to which God often calls the simpler souls. If Mary was invoked by John Paul II and by a multitude of other cardinals and bishops as "Mother of the Eucharist", it means that this title has been recognized as theologically correct and valid.

Mary is the Mother of Jesus Christ and in the Eucharist Jesus Christ is present in Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity; equally, the definition of St. Joseph "Guardian of the Eucharist" is authentic, true and theologically exact, like that of "Mother of the Eucharist". If Joseph is the guardian of Jesus and Jesus is the Eucharist, consequently St. Joseph is the "Guardian of the Eucharist".

Therefore, Joseph is the "Guardian of the Eucharist", the one who protected Jesus the Eucharist, the one who worked and toiled to give a life and a home, even if a modest one, food, even if poor, to the Son of God, to Jesus the Eucharist. This is Joseph! Remember: man of the cross and the cross leads us to the Eucharist.

The Eucharist is celebrated by priests who are also called Ministers of the Eucharist; therefore, you see how the Eucharist unites Joseph to the priest and then Joseph too has a place as protector of the Church. In fact, as he was the guardian of Jesus the Eucharist, he must also protect the Church, instituted by Jesus, from all the diabolical assaults, from the spiritual weaknesses and frailties of its ministers, which often shake its afflicted and sore body.

The Eucharist is celebrated by the ministers of the Eucharist and the priests, who have the sacred order in the triple hierarchy of diaconate, presbyterate and episcopate, must look at Joseph as a model. How is it possible that a priest should have a layman as a model? We can define St. Joseph as the first faithful layman of the Church. He had huge love for Jesus. I believe I can say that Joseph's greatness, his deep faith, his limitless love, are inferior only to that of his beloved and chaste wife Mary. The great love of St. Joseph can be seen in the smallest actions that marked the day of this humble servant of the Lord.

Before him he saw a humble, weak and small creature needing care, affection, protection and support. Saint Joseph would take this little creature in his arms holding him tight to his heart and, like any child, would give his wailing. After providing support and assistance, he would stand in a position of adoration: kneeling and adoring in profound silence and recollection before God the Child. Doesn’t all this remind you of the relationship that we must have with the Eucharist? The Eucharist is the most materially weak and fragile thing we can have before us; however, in it there is the real and mysterious presence of Jesus Christ, in Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, which we cannot see with our senses, but we are aware of it because of our faith.

Unfortunately, at times, the Eucharist is entrusted to unworthy hands of some ministers of the Eucharist and, very often, it is assumed by people who are not in a state of grace, committing a sacrilege. Thus also the Eucharist is apparently weak and needing protection, and so the ministers of the Eucharist should have, as the scripture says: "Innocent hands and a pure heart" (Ps 24:4) to celebrate the Eucharistic mystery, to approach the Eucharist and to bring the faithful who are entrusted to them closer to the Eucharist.

Guardian of the Eucharist, St. Joseph; minister and guardian of the Eucharist, the priest. You see how the Eucharist unites and I insist on this aspect: "Innocent hands and a pure heart" (Ps 24:4).

Joseph's chastity was a total offering which this first and great saint entrusted to God. In the Jewish world, the chaste life of men was neither contemplated nor accepted. Indeed, according to Jewish culture, a childless man did not have God's blessing. Nonetheless, St. Joseph presented and offered his chastity to God.

In the life of Our Lady it is confirmed what seemed to belong to a legend present in the apocryphal gospels. The episode is a miraculous intervention that the Lord made towards this great saint. The high priest was looking for a suitor worthy of marrying Mary, so he collected sticks and delivered them to the various suitors and the only one that miraculously flourished was the one in Joseph’s hands.

Joseph is the pure man, the chaste man par excellence, who lived in perfect chastity, together with Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, purity personified. Every priest must love, defend and protect his own vow of chastity. Only if chaste, can he be effectively a shepherd because, through chastity, the priest reminds the world, as I have told you on other occasions, what the final condition of all men will be before God: innocent and chaste without having to take a wife or husband. This is the final situation of man and the priest, with his chastity, must remind all this.

To get closer to purity, chastity and infinite immaculateness, you really need to have an exercise tried and confirmed for years; you need to be ready to live with a total and complete detachment from the pleasures of the flesh. This is what Joseph is reminding to today's priests. Saint Joseph, therefore, through his purity, can be the one who has the right to rise up and can be raised to be the perfect model for every priest. In the novena written in honor of St. Joseph, these references can be added.

Furthermore, the priest is the one who must imitate Joseph in other trials as well.

Joseph also experienced great suffering and a deep disturbance when he saw that his beloved wife had the signs of an incipient pregnancy. What happened? Joseph was tormented, he did not in the least think that his wife could have been unfaithful, because he knew that Mary too had offered her chastity to God and was absolutely sure that she had not transgressed her purity. However, the outward signs were there. Here, this is very important! Saint Joseph entrusted himself to God, he believed in the innocence of his wife, even if the appearances proved and highlighted the opposite. This laceration lasted for a long time and Joseph completely gave himself up to God, asking him to overcome this situation where there were two conflicting realities raging against each other. Well, God intervened and rewarded his abandonment. We priests and bishops, if we do not have this virtue of abandonment, we can only declare we failed, because even in the face of an apparent failure God, often, as was the case with me, proclaims victory in a loud voice. Even if men consider Joseph weak, defeated and a failure, he is a unique and luminous example if only through the virtue of abandonment, to the point that we could see the opposite.

You see, here is the Eucharist, illuminating, giving strength, grace and light. Thus love started from Jesus and reached Joseph's heart. Grace, strength, love and courage start from the Eucharist and enter the heart of every priest. Without Jesus the Eucharist, Joseph's life would have had no meaning. Without the Eucharist, the life of every priest has no meaning. Only when the priest is deeply united to the Eucharist does his life take on a deep and real meaning.

Perhaps it would be nice to ensure that every person who is part of the Church, despite having a different task, would always distinguish himself with the genitive case of the Eucharist. The most beautiful title that the Lord, in his infinite goodness, wanted to give me is "Bishop of the Eucharist". There may be the "child of the Eucharist", "the young man of the Eucharist", "the adult of the Eucharist", "the man of the Eucharist", "the woman of the Eucharist", "the faithful of the Eucharist". How can you have this title and present it to the Lord? By deeply loving the Eucharist, believing in this real, divine and mysterious presence, feeding on the Angelic Bread, by bowing before the fragile host that can be broken even by the weak hands of a child: only in this way can one be a man or woman of the Eucharist.

My greatest desire, my deepest anxiety, my recurring dream is to bring as many people as possible to the Eucharist and the Lord, in part, has already granted this desire, because today the Eucharist has triumphed in the whole Church and I say it modestly, without pride. I repeat what was said to me on January 10, 2002, when there was the triumph of the Eucharist thanks to the courage of the Bishop and the Seer. This is what we will say to our Lord when we will be before Him. Peter will open the doors of Heaven, I use a recurring image, first to Marisa and then to me: he will welcome us with a broad and peaceful smile and will say to Marisa: "Enter, Victim of the Eucharist, into Heaven” and when my turn is: “Enter, Bishop of the Eucharist, into Heaven”.

My wish is that, when is your turn, St. Peter will also be able to say to each of you: "Enter the Heaven, soul lover of the Eucharist". And so the date will be in Heaven. Life will flow, it will go on and the path will be walked by each one of us, according to God's plan and design. What matters is that each of us does as Isaiah did when he was tired, afflicted and persecuted but was strengthened by the bread that an angel brought him. We have the opportunity to be strengthened by the Eucharist and continue along our path that is sometimes painful, sometimes very excruciating and confused, but if we are in the company of Jesus the Eucharist we should never fear anything. If we now bow before the Eucharistic Bread, which is the real presence of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, one day in Heaven we will bow before the presence of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, God One and Triune, to whom our praise will go for all eternity, in union with Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, Joseph, Guardian of the Eucharist, all of us and all those who have deeply loved her for all eternity, in a joy finally conquered, in a love that will expand more and more every day, in a profound and luminous knowledge of the action and presence of God.

Greetings to each of you, I exchange the good wishes you made to me. Wishes of holiness, wishes of love, faith, hope, grace. All this in the name and to the praise of God.

Praised be Jesus Christ.