Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of April 30, 2006
Third Easter Sunday (Year B)
1st Reading: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19; Psalm 4; 2nd Reading: 1Jn 2:1-5; Gospel: Lk 24:35-38
It is not the first time, I say it with pleasure and I do it willingly, that I am forced to change the theme of the homily when certain circumstances or the letter of God, which Our Lady brings us before the start of Holy Mass, push me to do it. Until this morning I thought that the theme of the homily should be what was indicated to us by the passage from the Gospel of Luke but, after what was said by Our Lady, I believe, instead, it is appropriate for us, as a community, to dwell on the passage of the letter of St. John the Apostle.
However, I can give you two small reflections on the gospel and one concerns the section preceding the passage that has been read. When the disciples of Emmaus went to the apostles and reported that they had met the Lord by telling them what Jesus had said to them, the apostles replied that He had also appeared to Simon; I remind you that he had not yet manifested to the other apostles to whom he will appear on Sunday evening. Only Luke talks about the apparition of Jesus to Simon and I will explain why. We are becoming more and more confident with Saint Paul and you understand how great, wonderful and profound he is in his teachings. Well, Luke certainly learned from Paul, as he was his disciple, about this exclusive appearance of Jesus to Simon after the Resurrection. Luke was the one who, more than others, wrote the Gospel bearing in mind that Paul had not been able to hear Christ directly like the other apostles, but certainly in the period in which he had retired to the desert to reflect, as well as having received there the episcopal ordination from Jesus will surely also have had the possibility of receiving the proclamation and communication of the gospel from Him. Suffice to say this at the moment.
Let us now go to the passage from the letter of St. John. I don't want to examine it all but I just want you to pause, at this moment, with particular attention to what John says. Pay attention to the question he asks and to the fact that he is the one giving the answer: "Who really knows the Lord?" And the answer he gives is this: "He who keeps to his commandments". Whoever keeps to his commandments knows the Lord. It is clear that, in this context, we are not talking about intellectual or cultural knowledge but about a personal relationship. It is out of place to say that those who do not keep to the commandments can have a relationship with Christ but, on the other hand, it is certain that those who observe the commandments have a relationship, intimacy, familiarity and union with Christ because those who do not keep to them are out of grace: to know Christ we must be united to Him by grace. And what stems from this condition is explained by John who, despite being the apostle of gentleness and love, here has a very strong expression because he really wants to defend the truth with authority, so he comes to say that is a liar the one who claims to know Christ without keeping to His commandments. John, however, does not stop at the expression "he is a liar", but goes further because he says: "The truth is not in him" and if the truth is not in someone who does not keep to the commandments then this person is a liar, is false and falsehood, lie and untruth are within him; consequently those who have falsehood, those who are liars, those who have sin within themselves, they clearly cannot come to understand God, to know Him and his works.
We now come to the experience, or rather, to the mission, limited, for the moment, to young people. Let me address them but in no way excluding you adults. This call is to be equated with the one Jesus made to the apostles, Jesus told them: "You will have to bear witness of me" and that is what you are doing. When Our Lady told you: "Go and give testimony on what you have seen, on what you have heard, defend the truth, defend the Eucharistic miracles", it means that you have been invested from above, and not by me, to perform a mission for which you will have to answer to the One who has called you to fulfill it. And here, then, how important it is, within you, who are walking the path of the apostles, to have the light, the strength and the courage that comes from the Holy Spirit. You must not be afraid either to speak or to defend the truth because it must be defended with any sacrifice. This commitment, this mission, this call of the Lord, meant also as a caress, as a kiss, as an embrace that, through you, the Lord wants to make and fulfill towards the priests. Among them there are certainly honest and good priests but they do not know how things stand or priests who have heard only one version of the facts, who have been taught, and it is right, to obey and show obedience to ecclesiastical authority. But beware, my dear, here comes again what John said. I would like that what I say not to be perceived as lack of respect or as a judgment regarding the authority of my brothers, but when John writes: "Liars are those who do not observe the Commandments of the Lord", he is not just addressing the humble faithful. As when Jesus, in chapter 18 of St. Matthew, and this great teaching was well explained to you, spoke about the brotherly correction, he did not intend to limit it only to the faithful, to his peers but to everyone. When Jesus says: "If your brother is wrong ...", all men are to be considered my brothers, starting from the head to the last of the priests, up to the last of the faithful. All are my brothers and all my brothers, including the one speaking to you, are exposed to fragility, weakness and can make mistakes; when there is a mistake, a mistake that can be made by any authority, the brotherly correction is a duty that is pushed and implemented by love because the correction is aimed at repairing the mistake and pushing those who committed it towards the good, towards holiness and towards perfection. You are doing a bit like the apostles. Remember, in fact, that in the Gospel it is written that Jesus sent the apostles to preach. This was their first apostolic experiences and when they returned they told Jesus what they had said, seen and done. Well, you are doing the same with me. You are not the apostles and I am not Jesus, however, humbly, I represent him and you have received the mission of the apostolate. Even for the apostles not always everything went well, they did not always speak, preach and convert because the oppositions was nonstop and was always pouring against Jesus, so much so that they continually thought of killing him and, eventually, they succeeded. You have seen, and are beginning to experience it, that in priests, including the good ones, there is ignorance and lack of documentation regarding these truths because they only know what they have been told by deceitful people. Failing charity and offending the truth means going against God's commandments and, therefore, they are liars and there is no truth in them; if they do not have the truth they cannot give it to others. This is why I say again and again that your apostolate is a gesture of love from the Lord to restore the truth. You have seen how many times priests have been in difficulties, they could not find their way around because they felt deeply impressed by the truth and began to reflect on what they had been told up to then. Have courage, not presumption, not triumphalism, but act calmly, determined, peacefully and quietly, exposing the truth; you will find that the liars, because they do not keep to the commandments, will continue to reject the truth, but those who are in the truth and keep to the commandments, but have had the wrong information, will begin to change their mind, to think, to read up and, of course, they will arrive at the full understanding and total acceptance.
Our Lady underlined the fact that there is absolutely no document, no decree that condemns me and, if the decree that condemns does not exist, then the condemnation does not exist; there is not even the slightest shadow on record that a trial has been made, which must be done. Here, for you it should be extremely simple, these two issues are enough. Even good priests asked if this document existed and you said it should be shown but we have been asking for it for years but it cannot be shown because it does not exist. There was no process and for this reason there can be no conviction. Not even the Pope, with all due respect, can say: "I condemn this person and put him out of any priestly exercise", if he did, but beware, mine is only a hypothesis, he would fall into the situation that was described by John, and he would go against the commandments. We must come to this conclusion: any authority that goes against the commandments is a liar and there is absolutely no truth in it. We cling to the Scripture, we accept and respect private revelation but, above all, we deepen, love and strive to know the public revelation. No community, at least those that I know of, makes the public and official word of God a cult, a devotion, a deepening, as we do. So everything becomes extremely easy for you, no one can condemn if there is no proven failure. Christ, Jesus the Eucharist, whom we have learned to love and to follow, entering into you today, will certainly give you that peace which is necessary so you can offer it also to those you meet. You do not have to rise as teachers but as brothers, with simplicity, with grace, with love and respect, you must say what the heart is suggesting to you. When you meet the priests Our Lady will be there close to you and, if she is close to you, Marisa will be there too, in bilocation; Our Lady will give you the help you need so that you can speak. Even those who, by character, temperament or lifestyle, may be a little afraid of this meeting, thanks to these premises will not be afraid and there will only be the joy of rendering a service to the truth and the satisfaction of having been instruments chosen by our Lord to work and carry out his plan in the way and at the moment when He wills and to the people to whom He will address you.
May the Holy Spirit accompany you and may God's grace always be in you and go forward, with courage, serenity, love, strength and constancy, even if you encounter obstacles, you will never have to break down but be strong and go further because this is one of the ways through which our dear, beloved and cherished diocese of Rome will be able to begin to be reborn and, if the head is reborn, if Rome, seat of the papacy, is reborn, the Church will also be reborn.
Praised be Jesus Christ.