5th Sunday of Lent
Gospel: Mark 3,20-30
April 29, 2018
Homily of the Pontiff Samuel
Today we live a new step along our journey of this Easter season. Easter, time of resurrection. Time in which Christ has won death to give us life. True Life. That life, donated, that no one will ever be able to take away from God’s sons: the eternal life.
To attain eternal life, we must believe in Jesus and put His teachings into practice. The passage of Mark’s Gospel proclaimed today, makes us understand that even at that time nothing had been easy for Jesus: His teachings weren’t understood, but were turned upside down and exploited by those – the priests – who instead of making Jesus loved as the Supreme Good, they accused Him to belong to Evil. And the people, in all this, were disoriented. On one side they felt that the words and signs performed by Jesus were holy and came from God; on the other, they feared to contradict those priests who were accredited by all as holders of the religious knowledge of that time, of the religious doctrine of that time, even if everyone knew and saw that, behind the appearances, they in substance trampled on the Father’s Commandments.
This is the same difficulty that many, even in our days, are experiencing. Many are no longer able to distinguish what is good from what is bad, where Good is and where Evil is. This is due to several factors.
First: to the hard and difficult times we are now experiencing, in which the evil one is unleashed and is looking for as many souls as possible to devour (cf. 1Pt 5:8).
Second: to the loss of values and to the drowsiness of consciences and hearts of many, that are attracted by all that is world, and that are fallen prey to the evil spirit and do not care anymore of the one and only supreme Good, which is God. Therefore, many invert what is Good with what is Bad, despising God’s teachings and doing things that are bad in His eyes.
Third: to the loss of faith in the hearts of many priests and the so‑called consecrated to God, that rather than helping souls to follow the Way traced by Jesus, to remain faithful to His Truth and His teachings and to defend and bring everyone to love the gift of Life, they have become apostates and have abandoned the true Christian faith to embrace another one, worldly and globalist, that no longer cares about the holy flock of God but that have allied with the powerful of the world, to the detriment of the little, the last , the humble, and those who suffer.
What we have experienced during the touching battle to defend the life of the little Alfie Evans, the little great hero who now lives in the Father’s Heart – who has shown to the world of goodwill how sacred life is, and how alive, in the innocent hearts, is the desire to fight to live – must leave a sign in the consciences of many. Alfie Evans’s life was not “useless”. It was a living sign of the Father’s Love, which through this little His son, our brother, the great little martyr of the Church of Christ, has shaken the consciences of many, that have become insensitive to life, that have shown to be dead towards life.
According to the consciences of the doctors who treated him and the judges who judged him, the “best interest” for Alfie was to die. This is what they decided and this is what they did. In their tyranny and cruelty, Alfie’s life had become “useless”. The doctors affirmed that Alfie would not have lived more than “fifteen minutes” without the machinery support. Since that April 23, from 10:17 pm, Alfie lived more than a hundred hours. The Heavenly Father has intervened. And He has wanted to give the world the opportunity to understand and to be redeemed.
No man can decide the “end of life” of another man. “Do not kill” has been commanded by God. Children must be left free to live, to play. Keeping a child without water and without food for tens and tens of hours, is pure cruelty. The therapeutic obstinacy has nothing to do with it. Holding a child and his parents prisoners in a hospital ward is not doing what is the best interest for that child: this is tyranny. Many people play with words and hide behind words, to hide other truths not convenient to be made manifest.
Yesterday, the Roman pontiff said that “it is necessary to know how to create synergies between people and institutions”; this is all what he had to say, implicitly confirming the statements of the head of the Pontifical academy of life, who, a few days before, said that to save Alfie it was necessary to have “an understanding between all, an alliance of love between the parents, the family members and the healthcare professionals”. But what kind of love and what alliance of love are they talking about? An alliance between parents, healthcare professionals and judges?! An alliance with those who condemned to death an innocent child, proving to not have a shred of human decency? Is this the solution? When it is necessary to defend a primary value, like that of a life, we must fight with all our strength. When dealing with persons who do not want to dialogue, that have no intention of retreating from their positions – already several times affirmed and repeated – it’s no longer useful to search for alliances, but we must fight, if we really care about what we fight for. This is what we were taught. This is what Jesus taught us! We cannot continue to make propaganda with the sole intention to deceive those who have turned consciences off, those who are distracted, those who do not have the time or the desire to investigate and understand the reality of the situations that are lived in these times. Life cannot be saved by sending “tweets”. We must take concrete actions. Alfie’s father actually asked for asylum and he has been denied; he actually asked him to go to Liverpool and he didn’t go.
And on the contrary: why did the archbishop of Liverpool and the cardinal of Westminster remove the only Catholic priest who was spiritually witnessing little Alfie, depriving in this way his parents, in his last dramatic hours of life, of the support of this priest? How come this decision came just after the meeting in Rome last Wednesday between the same archbishop of Liverpool with the Roman pontiff? Who decided it? The Archbishop of Liverpool independently or with the consent and approval of Rome?
Why didn’t the Roman pontiff, other than saying words, grant Alfie asylum, bringing him to Rome, as he did with the Syrian refugees, of Muslim faith, taken away from the island of Lesvos? When there is a real intention to take concrete actions, then things are actually done! Why didn’t he go to Liverpool, as requested by Alfie’s father, as when instead he went to Lampedusa to defend the migrants or when he went to Myanmar and Bangladesh standing out against the government to defend the “Rohingya people, a minority of Muslim faith”? Why hasn’t he taken a public stand against the British government in defence of Alfie’s life, such as when he didn’t hesitate to intervene against Donald Trump and his intention to build a wall against migrants on the Mexican border? Why didn’t he publicly call the Queen of England such as when he phoned, privately but publicly, the Argentine woman, divorced and remarried, telling her how to bypass the rule that doesn’t allow divorced and remarried persons to take communion, and suggesting her to go to another parish, so putting parish priest against parish priest and creating disorientation among priests and among all Christian and Catholic faithful?
The reality is that, in the church of Rome, many priests have apostatized. And many others are afraid of defending the Truth of the Gospel. It’s a long way from that “Do not be afraid!”, which is still echoing in our hearts. Many are afraid because they are aware of being subjected to retaliation from the inside. As we have heard from the words of Jesus recorded in Mark’s Gospel, how can a house last if it is divided against itself? That house is destined to collapse. The gospel teaching of “yes, yes” and “no, no” is no longer lived. Chaos reigns supreme and the true teachings of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, are increasingly trampled on. As it had been prophesied, we are experiencing the “all against all”: cardinals against cardinals, bishops against bishops, priests against priests; and confusion reigns supreme, especially among God’s people.
As man, as Christian and as responsible for this Church, I would like to thank those who, welcoming the appeal to defend Alfie’s life, have ensured during these days, in this time: the President of the Italian Republic, the leaders of the Italian Government and the representatives of political forces; the president of the European Parliament; the Polish Head of State; and all those who have taken a clear stance in the defence of life. And I especially thank all the Christians and all the men and women of good will, who have fought, with prayer and by every means, to defend the sacred gift of life, of Alfie and of all the innocents, knowing that the battle in defence of the sacredness of life, it is not over: it advances, continues and will continue, now more than ever.
I say to everyone: «This is the time to awaken consciences from a lethal sleep, to join forces and act concretely – not with mere propaganda – to change every law contrary to the gift of life. And the masks will drop. And everyone will recognise those who truly care about life and the defence of the sacred gift of life and the family, and those who do not.
These two fundamental values must be brought back to the centre: Life and Family. The family as the one wanted by God; so that all the Christians and those of goodwill may know the Truth; so that, in front of the infinite Mercy, the true Mercy of the Father, everyone may feel intimately renewed and experience this renewal which pervades and will pervade every corner of this Earth. As John Paul II said on the eve of the new millennium in a passionate and memorable homily, “if you want peace, work for justice. If you want justice, defend life. If you want life, embrace the Truth, the Truth revealed by God” (John Paul II, Saint Louis, 27 January 1999). This was said by this Pontiff. It’s exactly the opposite from saying that the absolute truth does not exist. It’s exactly the opposite of the teaching of the good according to one’s conscience: here are the results and the fruits of these distorted teachings; according to the consciences of doctors and judges, Alfie’s “best interest” was to die, and that’s what they did. These are the results of reasoning according to conscience. One is the Truth: Christ. One is the Supreme Good: God. It is not a relative good: it is an absolute good.
In this Land of Love, Life is and will always be preserved. The Father, in this Cradle of Love, has poured out His Holy Spirit, which is daily manifested. In this Holy Cradle, the Father has established His Abode and from this Island He effuses His Spirit on all those who have not known Him, on all those who do not know Him and are in search of His breath of Life.
From this corner of Heaven, the Father defends and will defend every life that cries for help to His Heart, that appeals to His Heart, so that the freedom of every man and woman may be led towards the Law of the Father, to His Heart and to His every Word, so that all Christians and all the men and women of goodwill may savour again the desire to live and to make everyone desire to live, so that the hatred, the pride and the tyranny of a human power may give way to the Holy Spirit, who moves, purifies and sanctifies; and that manifests Himself through the innocents as the indelible sign of the profound bond that binds the Father’s Heart to the hearts of the little, the humble, the last, the innocent ones, who, on the example of little Alfie, would like to cry out to the world their desire to live, their freedom to want to live, in this world obscured by death, fallen prey to a politics of death, in which the Holy Spirit is not allowed to freely circulate.
The Father will never abandon His sons. God the Father Almighty, with His power and with the power of His Spirit, will oppose and will win every human power created to the detriment of the last ones. In this Island of Love, one is the Love that is lived: Love of the Father who is alive in Mary, Mother Church. A Church that is Mother and who will never be a cruel stepmother for Her sons; who will always be alongside Her sons, especially the last, the little and those who suffer; and will never turn Her eyes elsewhere… as instead Babylon the great does, she who has become a stepmother of all her children, who is no longer a mother, but is drunk with the blood of the martyrs.
In this Holy Island there is Life. In this Holy Island, Life will always be protected and loved, defended and respected, guarded and never violated. And so be it.