Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of May 27, 2007
SOLEMNITY OF PENTECOST
1st reading: At 2,1-11; Psalm 103; 2nd reading: Rm 8,8-17; Gospel: Jn 14,15-16.23-26
Each of us, in our own personal history, short for those who are young, longer for those who are old, has days that are exclusively their own. Well, Mauro, this is your day. It is a day that no one can take away from you because it is an important and, I would say, irreplaceable moment in the life of a Christian. The beauty of this day of yours emerges in two very beautiful circumstances that make it brighter, more beautiful and more desirable. Our Lady has developed the list, the outline of what I would have said. Today there are three points on which it is important to dwell and which are significant for each of us. The first concerns the fact that we belong to the universal Church and today is the day of Pentecost. The second concerns the fact that we belong to this community and, as a community, we have the important task of preserving the memory by announcing and passing on to others the remembrance of the grandiose event of the Eucharistic miracle that is represented here. Within the community there is then the material and natural family, to whom you, Mauro, belong. Finally, the third point, which is important to us, is the bestowal of Confirmation. All three of these circumstances are wedged into one another. The Holy Spirit is the author of all the three moments we live and celebrate today. Pentecost is the birth of the Church through the work of the Holy Spirit and this birth, as told by the passage from the Acts of the Apostles which has just been read, immediately gives us a reading clue. The Church has several adjectives: one, holy, catholic, apostolic and Roman, but unfortunately the adjective, in my opinion, more important is overshadowed and forgotten: the Church is "missionary". The Church, in fact, was born to announce. If you read the last verses of the Gospel of Matthew you will find this categorical imperative that describes the missionary task of the Church that Christ wanted to entrust to her: "Go, preach to all nations, baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" and pay attention, this is important: Teach them what I had taught you". The Church, in its long history, twenty centuries, has unfortunately forgotten, or rather, the men of the Church have forgotten this missionary status. The Church must show as a human and divine reality that proclaims only the Word of God and, then, in this way, every culture, every category of people, even if different from each other, can open up and welcome the Word of God. The Word of God has no specific cultural connotations of a nation or a culture because this would mean restricting the Word of God, mortifying or covering it. The Word of God must shine with its own brightness that becomes specific and suitable for every people, similar to a painting where the frame serves only to frame and to bring out the representation. So we must give the Word of God this universal citizenship and, I say it again, we priests, bishops, have a task of announcing it, we cannot pollute the Word of God with cultural or political beliefs. If we do this, we have all those conflicts that those who are familiar with the Church history know well. Unfortunately the Church has encountered conflicts, struggles, but if it would have remained faithful to its mission of being missionary, all this would not have happened. So let's ask today what our task is, on the recurrence of an event that retains all its relevance. Not only did the Holy Spirit descended upon Mary and the apostles gathered in the cenacle, but it is descending continuously every day to attract, modify and change the people and make them children of God, as Paul said in the passage we have just read. So, today, what is the big task I entrust you with? Pray that the Church may regain the task of being a genuine announcer of the Word of God. This is one of the ways that the great rebirth of the Church is announced and realized. Now we come to the other event. Many of you were present on that blessed day of 11th June 2000; I could even live for a hundred years but, certainly, I will never forget the smallest emotion or the smallest memory of what happened in my hands that day. This Blood that indicates the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, this Blood that is the source of salvation and how it spread and dispersed on the host until it almost filled the host entire surface, this Blood that spreads over the world and purifies it, really means the universality of redemption. Not only the emotional moment or the memory of the event is important, but what the event wanted to say is important, that is, that God intervenes in the history of mankind without asking anyone, with no authorization or permission. If God should lower himself to ask men "I can do this miracle, may I intervene, can I let my Blood out of the host?” it would mean to be a subordinate, but we claim, we acclaim and proclaim that Christ is the founder and Head of the Church, it is man who must adhere to Christ, the opposite is not true, but unfortunately, still today some illustrious members of the hierarchy claim the opposite. They say: "We must verify, it is up to us to say if it is a Eucharistic miracle", it is up to you nothing, and you just have to bow your head, lower your head, and bend your knees because, in front of such an event, there is no need for demonstration. The great miracle of 11th June took place during a Mass, during a celebration: it is the Eucharist! And then the actions coming from these Eucharistic sacrificial moments are only God's actions and this event has changed the face of the Church. It is like the birth of the Christ and His resurrection, both taking place in silence, confidentiality, discretion and they had a great power of expansion, formation and reversal of the reality of that time. If today we celebrate, in the Church, the affirmed Eucharistic triumph, we owe it to the action of God who also manifested and above all through this event. It is not important the person in whose hands it happened, it is important to affirm that it is the exclusive work of God and, since it is the exclusive work of God, it is He who chooses the qualified witness minister for this event, great, miraculous and capable of transforming the course of events. And now we come to the third moment, to the third circumstance: your confirmation. It's your day. For the person living it and also for the people who attend the confirmation, this sacramental moment, in its complexity, must be read in this way: the confirmation ennobles, reaffirms, qualifies, strengthens the relationship of the individual, of the single one with God the Father which we call Daddy, with God the Son and with God the Holy Spirit. It is at the moment of baptism that this Trinitarian relationship, sometimes unwitting, begins and the influence that comes from God is strong because the child, the newborn has diminished responsibility, but now your age, your intelligence, opens you more to the mystery of God, to understand, to accept it and above all to live it. Christianity is not a mere list of precepts, Christianity is not the exposition of a doctrine, Christianity, and you must be aware of this, it is the relationship that is established between the creature and God, a relationship that qualifies, that is perfected and becomes noble, in the sense that men open ever more to this transforming action of God. In a few minutes, after the ceremony, we will see the usual Mauro, you will receive good wishes, gifts, these too are part of the moment, but in God's eyes your soul will be very different, because God imprints in your soul, through the sacrament of confirmation, an indelible and distinctive sign that is the character and it is this that indicates, from God, the possession of your soul and indicates on your part the offer you make of all of yourself, of your person to God. It is a meeting of man with God and God says to man: "Today you are more mine than before, you belong to me more, you are more my property". But man, unfortunately, has a very big responsibility, man is able to weaken this relationship or even to nullify it and here is Christ who, in the Gospel, teaches us what is the qualified way to preserve this relationship: “If you love me you will keep my commandments", if you love me, the basis of the relationship is love, not dread, not terror, not fear, but it is love and when there is love then everything opens, everything ennobles, everything becomes more beautiful, nobler, purer and cleaner. Mauro, the wish I give you is that you may, every day of your life, when you get up from your bed in the morning and when you go back to your bed in the evening, feel always a child of God and the child is the one who loves, is the one who think of the parents, it is the one who obeys the parents, it is the one who refers to the parents, everything you do with your parents, according to nature, do it especially with God and then your soul will grow, develop and we will just see Mauro's body growing and becoming stronger, but God will see your soul becoming more and more conscious, responsible and adult. Who can you trust? Daddy God and the Mother of Heaven, behold, they are those who welcome you into their arms, opening their hearts to you saying: "Love us forever and we will do as it is written here in the Gospel, we will always keep you company, we will be present in your soul" and you, sometimes without being able to notice it, can cry out to God, calling him Abba, Father, Dad, Daddy, as you wish, but with a filial love that will ensure that all the evil in the world won’t touch you in the least, that all the wickedness in the world can never pollute your soul, that all the selfishness that there is in the world can never take root for a single moment inside you. Love God and God will love you and now let us pray intensely to the Holy Spirit to come down on this creature with a powerful, strong and great outpouring.