Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of June 25, 2006
XII SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B)
1st Reading: Job 38:1; 8-11, Psalm 106, 2nd Reading: 2 Cor 5:14-17, Gospel: Mk 4:35-41
Before going into the explanation and commentary of the Word of God, public and official, it is my duty to clarify what Our Lady said today through the private revelation, always coming from God.
Probably not all of you have understood the meaning of the words, so it is necessary to know what happened previously. "The Holy Father (Benedict XVI) does not accept that the apparitions are plentiful, it seems impossible that God can allow Our Lady to even appear every day" (From the letter of God, 25 June 2006). The Mother of the Eucharist complained because, unfortunately, the current Pontiff expressed perplexity in believing in apparitions that last many years, therefore so frequent. (Mons. Ratko Peric: The Holy Father said to me: At the Congregation we have always wondered how can a believer accept as credible the apparitions occurring every day and for so many years? - From the interview with Archbishop Ratko Peric, Bishop of Mostar-Duvno, published by "Crkva na kamenu" (The Church on the rock), monthly pastoral bulletin of the dioceses of Mostar-Duvno and Trebinje-Mrkan, issue 4/2006, pages 22-24, after his "visitatio Ad Limina "between 23 and 28 February 2006. Ed. note).
Why can't God do this? God doesn't have to ask anyone's permission to do what he wants! And the men of the Church, starting with the one who is at the top, are simply called to take note of it. Otherwise, you put yourself in a dangerous situations; it is necessary to open oneself to the spirit and to the voice of God without shielding with your own authority. This, unfortunately, concerns many people who, hierarchically, hold roles below the Pope. If man is in contact with God, he listens to him when he shows through apparitions, Eucharistic miracles and episcopal ordination.
Now let's move on to today's Gospel. In my opinion it is one of the most beautiful passages because it highlights the humanity of Christ in a nice and clear way.
Previously I spoke to you about the meeting of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well of Shechem when he, thirsty and tired, said to her: "Give me a drink".
The tired, thirsty, exhausted Jesus is that Jesus easy for us to imitate because we too are tired, we too are exhausted and therefore, under this aspect, we can say: “Lord, I share and I am part of your tiredness; you make me share your tiredness, your exhaustion”. This puts us in a situation where we can at least say: "Lord, in this respect I can resemble you".
"On that same day, towards evening, he said to them: "Let's go to the other side of the lake." And leaving the crowd, they took him with them, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him." (Mk 4:35-37)
Mark shows us the tired Christ because he had spoken to the crowds. There were so many people and in order to address and be heard by everyone at the same time, Jesus had devised the expedient of moving away a little from the shore in a boat, so that everyone could see and hear him better. Jesus was at the end of a day where he had met many people; he had also performed prodigies and miracles in the presence of the apostles.
The idea of going to the other side, as Mark the evangelist points out, is a desire of the Lord to escape the crowd to recover new energy and new strength in silence and peace.
There are details in the Gospel worth highlighting. At first, there were other boats next to that of the Christ, they were probably anchored at the shore of lake Tiberias, some followed him in order to be closer to him but later they respected his desire to detach because there is no more mention of it in the unfolding story.
The Sea of Galilee is located 200 meters below sea level. All around there are mountains generating strong masses of air that suddenly burst onto the surface of the lake and upset it.
This is why the apostles suddenly found themselves in the midst of a storm.
“A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Master, don’t you care if we drown?" (Mk 4:37-38)
They had reserved for Jesus the place of honor on the boat and Mark also points out that there was a pillow; then Jesus lies down comfortably and dozes off from weariness.
Behold, I like this very much: "(Jesus) He stood in the stern, on a cushion, and slept".
As I have explained to you several times, Jesus is true God and true Man, therefore as a man he was subject to all the limits of the human condition such as suffering, tiredness, hunger, thirst, suffering from heat and cold. You must not think that Jesus, as God, has deprived himself of all this. In this episode of the Gospel, while the humanity of Christ rests, his divinity, on the other hand, is awake. This is not highlighted in the Gospel, but I reveal it to you: Jesus was aware of the strong storm that had broken out and of the consequent fear present in the hearts of his disciples. Jesus the man slept, but Jesus God kept watch. The apostles could not understand all this, we can do it in retrospect. As the Divine Master has done so many times, he waited for the disciples themselves to solicit his help and his intervention. When the high waves caused the water to take on board due to the strong wind, they were afraid because the situation was really critical. Then they turned to the one who was capable of performing wonders. The question that the disciples asked Jesus when they woke him is the same that we too can repeat on our lips: “Master, don’t you care if we drown?”
"He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!" (Mk 4:39-41).
Jesus does not make any speech, so that his work is more eloquent; he only reproaches them for having little faith. In fact, the disciples had seen and witnessed many wonders performed by Christ, so they must have known that together with him they were not going to encounter any danger.
And here the Lord manifests his divinity, his authority, his strength and his power with two words: "Shut up (to the wind) and calm down (to the lake)" and these forces of nature listen and obey, generating great quietness.
It is a page where we, as a community, can find ourselves. We are witnesses of Eucharistic, natural, and physical miracles and miracles of conversion. In this place there have been several divine interventions so much so that some have recovered their health and others even saved their lives. And if these aren't miracles I don't know what to say more. You do not know how many people from all over the world write to me stating that they have converted, have rediscovered faith, are kindled with love for the Eucharist simply by reading God's letters. These are great spiritual miracles. We have witnessed and know miracles as a community.
And today, as a community, we find ourselves in the most critical, most difficult situation in our history, like the apostles who, as described by Mark, found themselves in the most difficult and life-threatening moment.
We are now in a situation where danger looms.
In fact, although there are positive signs, such as the hearts of several priests who, after you have spoken to them, are slowly opening up to these works of God, we know that the devil is inflicting ferocious blows. Probably because he knows that this is the last stretch of road followed by his definitive defeat. The defeat of the devil and all his followers who abuse their power to put themselves in a situation of contrast with God, with his works and with his interventions.
It is a difficult time. We are only men; it is a moment when our humanity shows up as fear, fatigue and abandonment. Several of our brothers and sisters, in fact, left us because they couldn't take it anymore. They were tired of waiting and delaying, probably the poison of doubt and uncertainty entered their hearts and left.
Jesus had already experienced all this during his life. Always remember the five thousand people benefitting from the multiplication of the loaves and fish who left Christ when he announced that he would institute the Eucharist. This is always the point! In the face of the Eucharist, men must necessarily express as friends or enemies: you too have experienced this. It is not the apparition of Our Lady that bothers, but it is the Eucharistic miracles that bother, as does the Bishop ordained by God. These are the reasons why there is struggle, malice and fury. Feeling tired or disappointed is human. I would like you to remember that many times Jesus asked his mother: "Mom, did I fail?" And Our Lady replied: “No, my son, You are the triumph, the winner”. The expression pronounced by Christ: "I have conquered the world" was born from this conversation between mother and child. To follow Christ there is a need of faith, but what I have personally experienced is abandoning oneself completely to God. This is the most difficult thing. To abandon oneself even when appearances are contrary and when human reasons push you to make a decision different from the one God indicated to you.
Well, in these moments you have to close your eyes and abandon yourself to God. Sometimes it is extremely difficult and you can get to situations where one feels fleshless, destroyed and torn inside.
God does not give negative judgments and does not even blame if humanity cries, suffers and complains in doing his will. He is simply a patient father who wants to take his children higher, higher and higher even when they can't make it higher.
And then it is God who takes us in his arms and carries us higher and higher because only if we are closely united and attached to him can we rise.
If we have also fallen asleep a few times, let us wake up.
With the celebration of 29 June we will put an end to this social year 2005-2006. A really hard, heavy and difficult year.
The most difficult year, harder than all those that preceded it, also because fatigue has increased and is added to that of previous years.
Then we too can repeat, together with the apostles: "Master, don't you care if we die?" And the Lord will come to meet our weakness, as he went to meet that of the apostles. He will bring back, when he deems appropriate, that final victory, which I am sure will come and we all hope is close because we have been waiting for too long.
At this time we find ourselves waiting and in the company of the Mother of the Eucharist, who today said: "I say to you, my dear children: be like the apostles who went around the world; carry on the mission. My dear children, the mission is not over, you young apostles must continue; those who can do it, remember, those who can do it, continue." (From the letter of God, June 25, 2006). (Our Lady involved all the young people and some adults in an important mission extended to the whole diocese of Rome: they went to all the parishes of Rome, where they met one or two priests. Altogether the members of our community approached about 400 priests. The mission lasted about three months: April, May and June, Ed. Note).
I, Bishop Don Claudio Gatti, thought that the mission could be considered settled but, as has happened other times, I must say no. It is not over. Even if they accuse me of having sent all our young people and some adults around Rome, to the various churches and parishes, I affirm, because this is the truth, that I would never have thought of such a mission, because I thought it was very difficult for you to face the priests. The mission came from God, so it is useless for them to say that I was the one who organized all this. I could never have thought of such a thing, I was not in a position to do it. And today I didn't even think that the mission should continue. And here then I say to you: roll up your sleeves, catch your breath and rest. Then continue on this path which is unique and unrepeatable, because it is the one suggested by the Lord and thanks to this the rapprochement of many priests to God has begun. Without this mission there would have been no conversion of priests. This is precisely what bothered the current tenants of the offices on the second floor of the Vicariate, because they were found unprepared and surprised. God surprises because only he knows and indicates the best and safest way to approach the souls of priests or lay people. So, go forward with strength and courage: while I say it to you, I repeat it to me as well. I too need strength, courage and encouragement; even the Bishop has a shaky pace and not out of doubt or uncertainty, but simply out of his great weariness. And then you are, as Our Lady said, the stick, my sticks on which I can lean.
Jesus, at a time when his humanity was particularly worn out, begged the Father to send him a stick to lean on. And the Father listened to the plea of the Son. Christ did not make use of his omnipotence, but wanted to beg the Father and all this is an example for us: "As I did, asking the Father, you too can do it!"
Have you heard what the Mother of the Eucharist said? Jesus, Our Lady and Saint Joseph are with us, but everything depends on Almighty God: “He (God the Father) knows, He decides everything, you just have to bow your head and say: “Your will be done”. Sometimes, doing the divine will is very difficult (From the letter of God, June 25, 2006). So let us turn to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit to be able to do his will and have the strength and perseverance to get as far as God wants. And once we arrive we too, like Jesus, can look for a pillow, to rest our heads and have the right respite because those who have worked are worthy of reward and rest.
Praised be Jesus Christ.