February 11th, 2018

Gospel: Mark 2,13-17
Homily of the Pontiff Samuel


Dear friends, let us continue our journey in this liturgical season in which Mark’s Gospel accompanies us to meditate on the most significant episodes of Jesus’ Life.

In this second chapter, today we meditate on two episodes in particular: the calling of Matthew, a sinner who converts and becomes an Apostle of Jesus and the subsequent meal of Jesus with sinners, which helps us to understand why Jesus came.

Here we find these teachings even more on the path we are taking today, so to understand the essence of the coming of Jesus and to understand His mission. Jesus comes to call sinners. Jesus comes to call those who are far from God. Jesus comes to give His infinite Mercy to all those who, listening to His call, follow Him, wanting to follow Him, regardless of what their past may be.

This is the teaching that even today we must bring back to the centre of our journey, of our being Church.

This Universal Christian Church is born by the Will of the Father, in order to be able once again to reach those who do not follow Jesus, who do not live His teachings, who are far from God; without judging their past but lovingly making ourselves instruments of God, instruments of God’s Love, and so to go towards all these brothers and all these sisters who now, more than yesterday, no longer live God and His teachings but prefer to live other things.

Here is the mission of this Church that returns to be the centre of the journey of every Christian. This is why the Father has wanted this Church, so that this Church could return, with the help of all those who want to be part of Her, to proclaim the Gospel, to proclaim the Mercy of God, who wants to reach the hearts of all those who do not know God, that have forgotten God or that have known Him in the wrong way, because of those who have failed, by means of their example, in making the Man‑God understood, because they have moved away from His teachings and by their example they have distanced and scandalized many, who no longer want to know anything about God and consequently do not want to know anything about the Church because it is no longer seen as a direct emanation of God but is seen as something else.

But the Church is made up of men and when the Church is animated by the Spirit that the Father sends, here it is that men must be an example of the Man‑God, Jesus. Only in this way the Church may once again return to be credible, even in the eyes of those who do not want to live Her, of those who do not want to live God and His authentic teachings.

This is why our hearts must always be well disposed, to be able to say “yes”, just as Matthew said “yes”. He was attracted by that Man; he felt that there was something special in that Man and he abandoned his work, he abandoned his comforts, he challenged and questioned himself, receiving the criticism of many and of all those who frequented him at that time, for having made an irrational choice.

But when the strings of your heart vibrate, the moment when with your hand you touch God’s Mercy, you are not bothered by the judgment of others but you raise your eyes to Heaven to follow that Light you see shining before you. This is when your life changes. In the moment when your heart opens and those words enter and warm it, your life changes.

This is what many have felt in this Holy Place, in this Cradle of Baby Jesus; not since today, not since yesterday but since the day this Cradle has opened Its doors to attract many people who have touched with hand, over the years, the veracity of all that Jesus, through His Woman, through His dearest Instrument, has brought into the hearts of many.
So we are here to witness everything we have experienced and touched by hand, that we now may take it to many, many, many others; and today, more than ever, with us being Church, we can effectively do so.

We do not expect everyone to love this Church and accept this Church. Freedom is freedom. But what we demand is the respect that is due even for this Church and for all those who have made this choice. This is due.

Institutions, individuals, citizens, in order that everyone in freedom may be able to make their choice, but respect goes both ways. Even the correctness in judgment, must never cease.

The Father has wanted this Church to bring the teachings of Jesus back to the centre. This is what animates us. To give the opportunity to many who want to remain Christians, to be able to continue to follow this journey.

Many remember that the same date of today of the year 2013, the one who was Pope of the Church of Rome, abdicated and renounced his Call. On this same day, on this 11 February.

I do not want to judge the man who has tried with all his strength to do everything possible to keep that boat in life and in balance, that was sinking because of the blows that came from all sides, but certainly also this short amount of time of history has made us understand what happened after. Things have gone from bad to worse.

It was not easy to keep the rudder of that boat at that time. And that man denounced, with all his strength, the difficulties that were there, by which he had to face: all kinds of scandals. And he did not abdicate because he was ill but because he said: “I can’t take it anymore”.

It is not always easy to say “yes” to God’s Call and keep confirming that “yes” even and especially during the difficulties, during the storm.

But the example for all of us, who have profoundly known Her, is given by this Woman who you see here before you: the Woman. Maria, Giuseppina, She who, in spite of the difficulties and the storms She had to face, has always renewed Her “yes” to the call received and went on to the end, up to the last bead of Love, which She gave to each one of us, unstintingly, until that 5 July 2008 when the Father called Her to Heaven.

She has never opted out, despite the bitter difficulties; both from the outside and the inside. Just as it happens for all those who are called by God. Nothing is easy on the Christian path. But those who are animated by the live sentiments of wanting to serve the Father through to the end, go all the way, even going beyond difficulties.

This is why the Father has wanted this Church, founded on the teachings of Jesus, guided by the shining example of Mary and, certainly for all of us, from the example of this Woman who helped us to understand how to face every situation, good or bad, of joy or of trial.

This is why we are here: because we want to testify with our life and with our example of life, all what She has taught us and we will never renounce the Call received, despite the difficulties we may encounter on our journey, despite the slander and lies that can tarnish the journey of the sons of God. We go far beyond this.
This is why so many are personally witnessing all that has been received and lived. And this gives even more the opportunity to many who do not know, to know this Church, in the expectation, in the hope that others may in person come, touch, see, understand and decide.

We will always testify our faith and even more we will manifest the graces received, especially at this time, so to demonstrate the continuity of the Work of God and of His Spirit in this reality, and to allow everyone to understand the uniqueness of God’s Plan. And here it is that many are already demonstrating and witnessing the graces received, the signs received. And all this is good.

This is to give everyone the opportunity, also through the signs that the Father has given in this Land, to understand the divine intervention in history, in the midst of humankind, so to prevent Christianity from falling into the abyss also as a result of these events just mentioned, because since 13 March 2013, things have dramatically worsened.

Many remember the lightning that struck from the sky on the dome of the basilica, symbol of that reality, to make understand even the sign of the Sky with reference to what from then on would happen. And now everything that is happening is there for all to see.

This is why the Father has sped up and has wanted His Church. Because the Church of Christ will always be: there was and will be. The Church animated by the Spirit of the Father. Where the Spirit of the Father is, the Church of Christ is. In the place where the Father withdraws His Spirit, there is no longer the Church of Christ, but there is simply a church of men.

That is why the signs, which in the meantime will even more be manifested, will give the opportunity to understand, to know, to comprehend and to choose, in full freedom, to all those animated by goodwill. This is the respect that as Church we ask, to give everyone the opportunity to undertake this journey.

Jesus came to save sinners, to help sinners. Even then, the sect of the Pharisees, as written in Mark’s Gospel, opposed everything that Man did, from the beginning to the end. We are seeing it in these pages of Mark’s Gospel that we’ve started from the beginning, and that we are meditating to get to its end. This is what we will do throughout this year.

But from the beginning of Mark’s Gospel, we saw that all that Jesus did was punctually criticized and condemned by those priests. Everything. From the beginning to the end. Because they had prejudices, because they had already judged Him. They were not open towards the manifestation of God. They said they were waiting for the Messiah. But they wanted the Messiah in their own way. But one cannot come between the Father’s Project and his own, or that of men. Even if men do not understand, they must have the humility to open their hearts and let the Father carry out His Project and then, in the freedom that is granted, decide whether to accept It or not. But they should not condemn It a priori. This is not correct.

Today is another important anniversary. For true Christians, the memory of the apparition of the Virgin Mary in Lourdes is alive. And this too is a fundamental moment in the history of Christianity, because the Virgin Mary wanted to reveal Herself as the Immaculate Conception: something new for that time and also for this time, because for many people it has remained a Mystery; and it is a Mystery, that of the Immaculate Conception.

Just as that of the Trinity is a Mystery: It is accepted by faith but it is difficult to probe It with reason, to fathom this Mystery with reason. It is accepted by faith, because the Mysteries of God are often incomprehensible and inaccessible to human mind because this is what the Father wants. But when we become little and open our heart to the action of the Holy Spirit, the Father reveals to His little ones, as Jesus says in the Gospel, all that is in His Heart.

The wise ones, the learned, those who always think to know everything, will never understand the mysteries of God.
But the little ones, the simple, the humble, have always been involved in the greatest passages of God’s history, starting from the birth of Jesus to the last moment of His earthly life.

And the same is for all of us who have been called, by grace, to live this Divine Mystery. The more we become little, the more we become humble, the more we surrender, without expecting to understand and know everything at once, the more the Father will unveil His Mysteries.

The Mystery of the Immaculate Conception: She who, by grace, has been preserved from the original sin. She is the totally pure, the totally beautiful; a special grace of God for Her, who would have generated the Saviour. Great Mystery.

Yet still, that revelation was strongly opposed even then. That young girl had to endure many trials.
This is the history. And the history is mother and teacher, “MATER ET MAGISTRA”.
And from history we must learn, in order to live, in holiness, the events of today that characterize our journey.

Let us entrust ourselves once again to the Blessed Virgin, to the Immaculate Mary. Let us entrust to Her heart all that is in our hearts, in order to continue our journey as Church and to be able, as members of this unique Mystical Body that is Church, to be united more than ever.

A body should not have sick limbs but living limbs.
Jesus says: “if a limb should be your downfall, cut it off “.
But the Body must be preserved. This is what this Church does and will always do. One tries to cure, but when the treatment does not produce an effect, it is better to cut it away: what really matters is that the Body remains united and Its limbs live in harmony between each other, in the live prayer and in the true brotherhood. And understanding this, the Body will be even more united and will not be afraid of having to face anything. It will be united in joys and will be united in trials. Just as it must be in every true spiritual family. Just as we live each other as Church, Family, Mystical Body of Christ.

May the Holy Virgin protect this Church. Each of us is consecrated to Her Immaculate Heart. And each of us again entrusts and consecrates himself to the Father’s Heart, so to be able, as true sons, to honour His name and to ask the Father for all the things that animate us, just as every son does – or should do – with his own father: a total trust to the Father so that He may protect every son and intervene when necessary.

May the Immaculate of the Holy Spirit protect the journey of this Church and all of us, Her sons, and help us to be faithful to God’s Call, promptly saying “yes” and renewing our “yes” every day, without ever renouncing the call received, and to be able to fully contribute to the triumph of the Plan of Love and Redemption that the Father wants to fulfil through this Holy Mother Church. And so be it.