1st Sunday of Lent
February 18th 2018
Gospel: Mark 1,12-15
Homily of the Pontiff Samuel
Today we live the first Sunday of Lent, a time of grace for every son of God and a time in which the Father’s Mercy is alive, particularly alive, to embrace every son who wants to return to His Heart and every man and woman who, animated by good will, is seeking Him with a sincere heart.
So the time we are living is a time of grace. I call on all you to live this time of grace intensely, so to return to live prayer with intensity, (just as in this period, we, being a Church, are calling all our faithful and those who follow us), to do, so that prayer may return to be the centre of every Christian’s daily life, especially at this time, by renouncing many little things that, for this time, can be left behind for a while, to be able to bring back to the centre the only supreme good: God.
Here is the exhortation for every Christian, for every believer, and for all those who are not yet Christians, who do not believe in the One and Triune God, who in His Son is manifested: to more and more approach, to seek the Truth, knowing that everyone who searches finds; everyone who knocks will have the door opened (Mt 78; Lk 11,:10). This is what Jesus says and we can trust Him, we must trust Him.
Here the passage from today’s Gospel (see Mk 1:12-15), taken from the evangelist Mark, very synthetic and very specific, leads us to live the moment when Jesus is in the desert, supported by the Holy Spirit, in staying there for forty days and, at the same time, resisting the temptations of satan. Jesus, true Man and true God, confronts what every man and every son of God experiences: the temptation of the enemy of God who tries to arrive punctually to deter us from doing God’s Will.
Here then, following the example of Jesus, that each of us will do the same, trying to resist every temptation so that our spirit can be strengthened and can come out of this period even more fortified in faith and so to be able to fully experience God’s Mercy, God’s Love, which we all have experienced in this Land and are continuing to experience. Here is the Land of Love, so called, that the Father has wanted to give to us and to all humanity.
Here is the essence of this Place, which must be well understood: a Place where the infinite Mercy of God is manifested, where the Love of God flows, where the Love of God is alive. Here is the Essence of this Place. And this is the Essence of the Father’s Project that in this place has wanted to manifest Himself, manifesting and revealing Himself to the Maiden of God and to many sons who have been able to experience and personally touch His living presence, His living action of Father, of Son and of Holy Spirit.
Here are the graces that many have experienced and are experiencing, as a sign of God’s Mercy, that touches the hearts of all those who sincerely approach Here and seek Him.
Here is the Love that circulates in this Land. The Love of a Father who increasingly wants to make His sons acknowledge that bond and that sonship (1Jn 3,1), that characterizes us, so that everyone may feel how much alive this sonship and this bond between Father and the sons are: a bond that is manifested in His Son, in God’s only-begotten Son, in the one and only Son of the Father, Jesus, and that leads us to contemplate even more the Mystery of Mary, to whose Heart we all are consecrated.
This Church, Mother Church, is born by the Father’s Will and every son who belongs to Her is well aware of the bond that binds us to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, of that holy bond that unites us, by choice, by freedom, by will, to Her Immaculate Heart: that is the consecration we made and that we periodically renew to Her motherly heart, to Her pure heart. Mary Immaculate, She who begot Her Immaculate Son, Jesus, the Holy of Holies, who manifests the living presence of the Father and leads us to understand and live His Truth.
Here it is that, in this time of grace, we must go back to proclaiming this Truth, embodying it by our example and proclaiming it in every way. This does not mean being radical or, even worse, extremists as someone would want to make believe, because we are living a historical time where Christians who want to remain authentic, are immediately branded as extremists.
Those who want to put Christ at the centre, proclaiming that Christ is the only Absolute Truth for which it is worth living, are immediately pointed out as those who are intransigent and do not respect the religious confessions of others. But this is not true.
This is the time when true Christians must make their voices heard, to proclaim to the whole world that Christ is the Absolute Truth, the only Truth: this the Father asks us to do, in this Land of Love. Only in this way we will be able to welcome all those who are in search of the Truth, so to give them not a watered‑down truth, but a Truth that is alive and true.
The Gospel tells us also of John the Baptist. John was arrested for wanting to proclaim the Truth (Mk 1:14). John was not afraid of proclaiming the Truth. John was not convenient: for many His speaking was inconvenient, for that time and also for other times. Even today, John is attacked in some homilies, said in other houses, in other courtyards, that it would be better not to listen to, where the strongest saints of Christendom are pointed out and ridiculed: ‘the darkness of John’, so it has been said. What are they talking about? But what darkness, what kind of darkness did He live? John remained faithful to the end and was arrested and ended up as we all know, in order to defend the Truth. This is the example we like to embody. These are the Saints of the history of God that we want to make relive in this Church. Jesus said that among those born of women, John was the greatest (Mt 11:11; Lk 7:28).
We must return to the essence of the Gospel: St. Francis, the true St. Francis, St. Francis of Assisi, challenged the sultan in order to take Christianity to that land. He did not reproach those who proclaimed the Gospel and the Truth of the Gospel; he did not reproach the Christians who wanted to remain as such. Now the aim is exactly the opposite: those who want to remain Christians are pointed out and ridiculed; to those who do not live Christianity or live other religious confessions, the doors are opened. This is not how the Truth is to be testified. This is not what the Father wants.
We are witnesses of the live Love of the Father and we want to make known this Love to all, so that everyone, in freedom, may be free to welcome or not to welcome. Here is the freedom that each son of God receives.
Here is the time of Lent, the time of Grace, to be able to return to live the Gospel in its Essence and its Substance, in order to bring God, the Son of God and the Mother of God back to the centre. And we do not let our consciences be deviated by those who propose a truth that is not the Absolute Truth but is a relative truth, where everyone can bring their own truth, where the truth changes according to convenience and circumstances. Christ is Absolute Truth (Jn 14:6a).
Here is what we must return to in this time, with humility; so to continue to walk holding our heads high, I say to you, with living dignity, because the dignity of God’s sons cannot be trampled on by anyone. And don’t be impressed by those who raise their voices, by those who feeling strong, as the saying goes, for having their bases covered, allow themselves to raise their voices, shouting; but the truth should not be shouted: Truth must be embodied, lived and manifested. This is what we as true sons of God must do and this opportunity is what will be given to many who do not know the true God, to come and experience the Love and the Mercy of God.
Christians are not ‘humiliated’, as someone else has proclaimed. Christians are humble (1Pt 5:5b) but not humiliated. Dignified Christians. We must recover that sense of belonging to the Christian community; to not allow ourselves to be dispersed and to be merged into something different just because many would like it to be so: to make the Christians go in the direction they want. We want to remain Christians and continue to live the Christian authenticity and not to suddenly find ourselves being merged into a new church – because that is what this is all about – based on a worldwide vocation, which would want to embrace everything and everyone, indistinctly, under the banner of ‘we are all sons of God’. No! He who recognizes Christ as God, is a son of God (Jn 1:12). The others are creatures, that must be loved, understood, helped. One cannot flatten everything. This is not the time. This is the time of Truth, to remain faithful to the Truth just as John did, to be able to hear and understand the words that Jesus, at the end of this page of the Gospel of today, makes echoing in our hearts: «time is complete and the kingdom of God is near. Convert and believe in the Gospel» (Mk 1:15). “Time is complete”. We live this time, in the fullness. «The kingdom of God is near», and I tell you, ‘it’s here’.The Father has established His Home here (Rev 21:3), He has sent His Spirit and the action of His Spirit is alive! Many would have liked to stop the action of the Spirit at that time. What would have happened to the Holy Spirit? Relegated in a nice cage? A dove placed in a cage? The Holy Spirit is alive and is free to circulate where and how He wants and has always accompanied the sons of God in history.
The Father has sent His Spirit down Here, in this Land, in this Land of Love, in order to manifest Himself and to give His sons the possibility to no longer be slaves, or slaves again (Rm 8:15); but to be free and able to proclaim the Truth, free to proclaim Christ and to bring Him back to the centre, without being afraid of speaking, without being afraid that someone from the high of the hierarchy may reproach someone simply because of his proclaiming Christ, Way, Truth and Life, and the Catholic God, because in another reality it is said that the Catholic God does not exist.
That is why the Spirit of the Father has come down to this Land, to give His sons the possibility to return to be free and to be able to live their freedom to be Christians, in the grace of God, and be able to say to the world: «Be aware»: we are living the fullness of times; and at the same time to say: «the Kingdom is near, it’s here. Come, come and see. Quench your thirst at the living Font. Let yourselves be loved by this Father who, in His infinite mercy, wants to welcome us all».
Here is the truth of this Land of Love that we will always proclaim to everyone. This is why we must return to be an example of authentic Christians, putting the Ten Commandments (Dt 5:6-21; Mt 19:17; Jn 14:21) and the teachings of Jesus at the centre (Mk 8:35; Mk 16:15-16). Because only through them there is salvation.
Do not listen to the fantasies of those who would like to make this Church appear like a closed circle. They did not allow to speak a Minister of this Church, that they called for an interview, because with arrogance they’ve blocked his answers wanting to shut his voice down by saying: ‘No! This is not to be said!’ But why do they say ‘no, this is not to be said’? Simply because the Minister of this Church said that: «you have heard that in another house, it has been said that Jesus, when He was on the Cross, was so ugly to disgust, because He was like a snake, ugly» and then they promptly breathless hurried to explain that in reality that was the image of Moses raising the snake… They can say everything they want but with humility we all know the Scriptures a little, but even if Moses raised the snake, who can dare to say that Jesus is that ugly to disgust? But you, Christians, can you ever say anything like that? Can you ever say that Jesus, on the cross, became the devil? But it’s something that makes you scream: this should make you scream. But how can you remain indifferent? Others don’t want these things to be said because many people do not know them. So they raise their voices, to cover the words of who, with good education and calm, would want to speak, because their sole purposes were to not let people listen and their need to say: ‘blasphemy!’. No blasphemy: it has been simply said that the blasphemies are perhaps preferred elsewhere, not here.
Here is the Christian authenticity that we must recover. Here is the Christian dignity that no one can take away from us. This is a time of grace. It is a time where we must intensify our prayer. It is a time where we must embody that true brotherhood, that as true brothers and sisters, as true sons of God, we must live one another. Only in this way can this Church be known, not exploited and made appear for what it is not.
This Church is open, fully open, now more than ever: it opens the doors to the world; whoever wants to come will be welcomed. This is what we are experiencing and what we will intensely live in this time, to bring to the centre God, the primary Good, Christ, Mary, the cornerstones of Christianity.
To understand the uniqueness and the conjunction between Mother and Son, Jesus and Mary. A passionate theme, to make the greatness of Mary even more understood.
I have heard in these days, that elsewhere it has been said that care must be taken not to raise Mary too much, because She could be put too high.
Whoever wants to love Mary, whoever loves Mary, has to come here, has to come to this Church. There is nothing to fear! This Church puts and will always put Mary at the centre. The Immaculate Heart of Mary will be the centre of the journey of all us sons of God.
We all are consecrated to Her Immaculate Heart. All of us. True Christians will acknowledge the essence of this Church and will also acknowledge all what in other realities instead is gradually but progressively taking place.
In this time, dedicate more time to God and to listening. Do not delegate to others what concerns your soul: take personally care of it. This is the time of Lent. Forget as much as possible the other things of your everyday life, to dedicate a little more time to God and to listen to the things of God, so that each of you may understand, discern and make your own personal choice.
This is my invitation to many, so that everyone may be aware of what he does and of what he chooses. And if you find a Minister, a Pontiff, who brings you to Christ, as Christians, follow him. Otherwise, I tell you, ‘do not follow him’. A pontiff of a Christian church, who does not lead to Christ, is not a true pontiff. And that’s true also for a Minister.
We are all to put ourselves on the line, in order to give everyone an understanding of what to live true Christianity means.
This is the time of Lent that we want to live, to be able to live together that Kingdom that Jesus has preannounced to us and that we are now living (Mk 1:15).
And so be it.