Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of November 23, 2008
1stReading: Ez 34:11-12, 15-17; Psalm 22; 2nd Reading: 1 Cor 15:20-26, 28; Gospel: Mt 25:31-46
I hope I won't take many minutes because I believe that the prayers that have been raised before Jesus the Eucharist are more than a homily. However, I want to deepen with you the concepts expressed in the reading of the Word of God. The three readings we have heard have a chronological and logical order. Chronological, for the facts are narrated in sequence, starting from the Messianic time mentioned by Ezekiel. The passage of the latter has a taste and meaning exclusively and predominantly messianic. The shepherd looking for, treating and giving the right food to his sheep, separating the sheep from the goats cannot be other than Christ who really showed, and you know it, as the Good Shepherd. What Christ accomplished during his public life on Earth, goes on tirelessly and relentlessly, even now that has ascended to Heaven, where, as God, has the right to receive glory and honor by all the Paradise. So what must be affirmed and reaffirmed once again, is the fact that Christ, regardless of what men say or want you to believe, and among them especially those who belong to the Church hierarchy, is still now and up to the end of time the head of the Church and as such He will take care of all his sheep. Do you know what one of the special qualities of Christianity is? In the relationship between God and men, our Lord, while promoting the unity of plurality and unity in the community of baptized, a unique community gathering around Christ, is resting in a position of great respect in regard to any individual who is thought and loved by God in different ways, depending on everyone's historical, cultural, social and family environment. So Christ continues to work in his Church, on every individual and on the whole community. He is the cement supporting the union. Without Christ there is no union, outside of Christ there is division as history has confirmed it in every way and at all times.
Let us now turn to Paul. Every word, every sentence from Paul has a deep theological meaning on which I try to gloss over because this passage was already commented extensively when we had our biblical classes on the First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians. Who was then present will now have an advantage. Christ stands as the firstfruits. What comes immediately to your mind with the term firstfruits? The harvest, the ripening of wheat. The first ears to ripen are identical to those which will ripen at a later time, those ripening later. What does it means? It means that Christ rises first, as participant and member of human nature, so He is the first man-God, for all unites in Him, in the only person that was resurrected. After Him, will resurrect those who are united to Christ; Paul, in fact, refers only to those people who are united with Him. This is a peculiar feature that Paul underlined while talking about resurrection, yet, his talk refers only to those who belong to Christ, those who do not belong to Christ are outside of his attention, his preaching and his catechesis. Will there be resurrection for the others and how will it happen? The answer to this question does not belong to Paul, he is the apostle sent by God and must address only those who go to Christ explicitly or implicitly, as I explained last Friday during a Bible class. Paul wants to tell us that Christ fights in the Church and with the Church, against his enemies, and surely He will gain a victory. This is the truth even if the historical events show us how often believers are in the situation to be dependent, to be subject to those who do not believe, but the final victory belongs to Christ. He is fighting both in the Church, as a community, and in each individual, meant as a member of the Church, and He will have to defeat all negative powers, those opposing him, and the last to be defeated is death. In the sense that the resurrection will come before the final judgment. In this context too, it is taken into consideration the resurrection of the righteous. Paul does not talk about the others, but Christ will talk about it in the Gospel, even though from the point of view of division and not from the point of view of description of what will be those who consciously and deliberately opposed Christ. We know that those who are with Christ will resurrect and, in the resurrection, they will have a transfiguration of their body up to the top of its potential, its beauty and perfection that a body can get. He is not interested in the others. Yes, it is true, the following literature told us that they are ugly, vicious, but these are talks that do not have a theological basis but only a fantasy base resting with artists, whether they paint, they sing or write poetry or whether they make sculptures. We want, once more, to draw the attention to those who are good and follow Christ. We do not care about the people who are cursed, even if mentioned in the Gospel; we hope and we are working hard, with sacrifice and suffering, to be part of those who will see Christ saying: "Come, you who are blessed by my father". Here is the confirmation that charity saves man, selfishness condemns man. Charity and love, even if lived outside Christianity, save people and take them to Heaven. Selfishness, even by the people who are Christian, and even belonging to the ecclesiastical hierarchy, dooms them for all eternity to the suffering of being far from God because they will be judged according to their actions. We must not take literally the whole speech Jesus said, but we must deepen our understanding that only the people who know how to live and express love will receive, from God, the ultimate prize. So what? Look at history and see how many Christians and, again, members of the hierarchy, did not live out with love and will then be in a sad situation. We remember what Our Lady talked about today: "They will be in a sad condition and will be held accountable to God for not having loved the Eucharist". You, member of the hierarchy, if you do not love the Eucharist and are going against the Eucharist and do not recognize the Eucharistic miracles but are actually fighting them, what can you expect from God? Merely a condemnation. Here they are, these are the considerations arising from today's reading, these are the considerations I commend you but, anyway, let us keep in mind everything that was said before Jesus the Eucharist during the time of adoration because everything helps us to live, to overcome this moment that I define as terrible, due to suffering we live, terrible due to the impressive opposition we encounter, terrible due to the dire loneliness in which we still are, terrible because there is still no recognition of the Bishop ordained by God and of you, members of the community. The members of the ecclesiastic authority must still bow, in reverent adoration, before all 185 Eucharistic miracles that took place in the thaumaturgic place. On this, I close by telling you a story. A priest, former fellow seminarist, came to see me and I spoke to him clearly on several things our Lord spoke about and are published in our books collecting the letters of God and are concerned with me, and I noticed that there was not a full and complete support. So I said to him: "If you want, I will take you to see the Eucharistic miracles, some of the Eucharistic miracles, but only if you kneel and worship. If you want to stand up, not recognizing them and go there as to see a piece in a museum, I won't take you there". "No, no, no, I am coming", he replied; he knelt down, we prayed after opening the tabernacle we have in the house, and then he collapsed. Faced with these great Eucharistic miracles, from which he felt the scent, it was easy to say: "Everything I told you before is the confirmation of what you see now. If I were a crook or if I made-up what I told you, do you think Christ would have done what you see before you?" He went away shocked, I know he did not sleep and was feeling bad; I hope this too can be a start to rethink certain attitudes that are still present either for interest or for fear and convenience, in many priests. We hope that many of them become as Christ wants his beloved children to be.
Praised be Jesus Christ.