Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of March 26, 2006
4th Lent Sunday - Laetare (Year B)
1st reading: 2 Ch 36:14-16, 19-23; Psalm 136; 2nd reading: Eph 2:4-10; Gospel Jn 3:2-21
Today's Gospel is from John and concerns a very important passage which speaks of the encounter and conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus. In particular, this passage describes, in a precise and detailed way, the situation of the Church and that of those who are in the world, the same as those who do not believe in the Son of God who reject the light and who live in darkness.
Last Friday you heard Paul telling the Colossians that Christ is the head of the body, the head of the Church, and you heard the definition that all those who are baptized are members of the Church. I believe, respecting the word of God, that we must add that all those who are baptized and who have the grace of God are members of the Church; in fact, it is not enough to have received Baptism and then to live a life far from, or in contrast with, the teachings of Christ to be able to say that one is part of the Church. Even if they were in very high hierarchical positions, I believe I can say, in the light of the Word of God, that they are not part of the body of Christ if they do not live in the grace of God. After all, it is Jesus himself who pointed this out to us when he spoke of the vine and its branches, saying that only those united with the vine bear fruit and those who are not united have no life and therefore do not bear any kind of fruit.
The similarity between the bronze serpent that is lifted up in the desert by Moses, under God's orders, to heal those who were bitten by the snakes that by now were masters of the camp, is clearly a similarity that Jesus Christ makes by saying that as the bronze serpent saved those who had been bitten, equally the Son of man will save everyone when he is lifted up on the cross. This image also goes against the mentality of the time. You know that the cross was for the Jewish, Greek and Roman mentality, the most humiliating torture and was reserved for the slaves. Free men, those who held important offices, were not put on the cross but were killed in another way and yet, God goes against this mentality and reserves the most humiliating death for his Son. At the same time that this humiliating death occurs at the hands of men who represent those who will go against the cross along the following centuries, just at that moment when Christ is humiliated by men, He is lifted up by the Father and becomes the One who saves through His blood, His passion, His death.
As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so the Son of man must be lifted up. What is the essential condition for man to be saved and, consequently, to be part of the body of Christ? Believe in Him! Whoever does not believe in Christ cannot be part of His body, it would be a contradiction. Those who do not accept, those who do not believe in His existence, those who do not believe in the Eucharist, including the Eucharistic miracles, never will be part of the body of Christ. Only those who believe in Him have eternal life. It is necessary to believe in Christ totally, not only to rise as masters and show loaded with titles and decorated with sumptuous garments; all this can serve to whet the imagination of simple people but before God it is useless. Remember that God does not look at the color of the dress that is worn but at the heart; if there is no love in the heart, God rejects the works they do, because where there is no love there is wickedness, there is iniquity, there is refusal of the light.
What more could God the Father give to man if not His Son for whom He has eternal and infinite love? Here is the great gift that God has given to humanity, this gift that continues to be present and realized in the Eucharist. So whoever rejects the gift of God that is the Eucharist, rejects God; whoever goes against the gift of God and does not accept His gift, rejects God and goes against Him. You are able to recognize who is with God and who is against Him by the way in which God is accepted in the exercise of His infinite will and His infinite power. You will recognize if they are with God or against Him by the way they recognize or not and appreciate or not all the great works of God. Those who believe in Him do not die and those who do not believe, unfortunately, die.
In verse 17 too, once again our Lord goes against the mentality of the Jewish people. The Jews were waiting for the Messiah and they were especially waiting for him so that he could subvert the situation and thus defeat the enemies of God's people, in short, judge these enemies unworthy and defeat them. Well, Jesus says that this is not God's will: "You think in your interest that this is God's will, but God's will is different." How many times today there is this theft, there is this usurpation of God's will; some say: “this it is God's will”, but it is not so. The will of God is that man recognizes His works, and those who affirm that the miracles that took place in this thaumaturgic place are not works of God, that it isn’t the blood of Jesus the Eucharist and that it is not the Eucharist, put themselves in an extremely dangerous situation. What is the judgment that God gives in the face of these situations? The light came into the world but men preferred darkness to light. Until recently when we spoke of those who are opposed to Christ, we thought it was about those who are outside the Church; I tell you we were right but they are also priests, bishops and cardinals. Today you were asked again to pray for their conversion and this, according to the definition of St. Thomas Aquinas, is a detachment from evil and going... (a candle bursts on the altar, the flame remains a few moments on the tablecloth that does not burn, someone runs and tries to remove the candle, but it burns and cannot be taken. Then it is thrown to the ground and finally extinguished. It is a clear interference from the devil, but he remains defeated. The Holy Mass goes on and the Bishop continues with the homily). Poor fool, what can he do? This is the second time that such an attack has occurred against me, but what can this fool do? Nothing. This is the result of anger, because otherwise what happened under your eyes cannot be explained. Of course, if he could destroy us he would do it very willingly, but in no way he can do anything because I have Jesus the Eucharist with me. It is logical that every soul that is taken away from his power is a defeat that causes anger, resentment, hatred because he sees that he is going towards total failure. Remember that the devil, and I use images and terms that are not suitable but I do it so that you can understand, not only he is not satisfied with all the souls he already possesses, but towards them he has an attitude of contempt and detachment because they already belong to him. The devil has an attitude of challenge, of fight and, in a certain sense, paradoxically, of esteem towards those who are with God and who remain with Him. On the other hand, the same thing happens among men. People who occupy very high hierarchies, even if they furiously fight those who work in the name of God, within themselves (and I would say also with people who are part of their group), cannot but show admiration and respect for the courage, for the perseverance that these people demonstrate. The first situation is diabolical, the second is diabolical too. All this must put us in a condition of joy.
You have heard what Our Lady said today, that we are important, not so much and not only for her, who is the Mother of the Eucharist, but for God. Once more you see how God's judgment is different from the judgment of men. If a high-ranking person came in at this moment, dressed in red or purple or black, by looking at you all he would say who these people are and who they think they are. Instead, look at God's judgment, throughout history He has never looked for great and important people to do and to carry out His works because the more imperfect and weak the instrument that performs certain works is, the more one must admire the skill of the artist who uses ineffective tools to make masterpieces. God always makes masterpieces, but with extremely weak tools. Look at me: I am alone and without anyone. Marisa is a sick person and tried by suffering, but what the two of us are doing you know and above all God knows and said it as well. We are in the light and by being in the light we do good works; those who are not in the light do evil and therefore they place themselves against God. They are, spiritually speaking, dead and in no way can give back anything.
We are grateful for this diabolical intervention because it makes us understand that whoever is on God's side wins when He wants, wins because there is God, wins because our Lord is Almighty and does not need any man, any human power; His omnipotence is sufficient for God. Anyone who does evil hates the light and does not come to the light.
“I will take revenge and destroy him”: this is diabolic hate, we must have the courage to say it. I don't mention names, but you know these people well because you have followed all the situations. Why don't they come to light and work in darkness? Remember how many times Our Lady said they work under the radar. We, on the other hand, work in the sunlight. They told us that we are a sect, but it is not true, because what we have to say is said publicly, even recorded. It is not only you recording the events, there are other people who are equipped with very sophisticated technical means so that they can do it remotely as they are doing at the moment. But I'm happy to say hello to them and I don't care.
He who is in darkness works in darkness, with a suspicious attitude and looking over his shoulder. This we do not need, we go on, I have said everything that can be said, I have kept silent only when the Lord and Our Lady said it was not the time to say, but otherwise nothing has been kept silent. We are not the ones in the darkness, we are not a group outside the Church but they are, because remember that only those who are in the grace of God are part of the Church, the body of Christ, the others are not. Whoever works the truth comes to light so that it becomes clear that his works have been done in God. This is the joy we must have. We have worked, we are working and we will continue to work in the full light of grace, closely united with God. If men are not united with God they are not even united with us. This is awful, but for us it is comforting.
So, with humility I beg you, let's go forward with gratitude, with simplicity, without condemning anyone because if Christ did not come to condemn, who are we to do it? Christ came to save and we are trying to save souls, starting with Marisa who continues with her unspeakable suffering for the souls who are converting. This is the great joy. I see my sister troubled, suffering, destroyed by pain and the joy is that many souls return to God, priestly souls and episcopal souls. This is love for the Church, this is dedication to the Church, it is immolation for the Church that we love because it is the body of Christ. If we love Christ, if we love the Eucharist, we cannot fail to love the Church as well and not just with words, as they do, but with deeds, because deeds are much more expressive and meaningful than words.
Praised be Jesus Christ.