4th Sunday of Lent
March 11th 2018
Gospel: Mark 10,32-40
Homily of the Pontiff Samuel
On this fourth Sunday of Lent, we continue together in meditating the passion of Jesus. Today, Mark’s Gospel, which accompanies us during this liturgical year, invites us to reflect first of all on the third proclamation of Jesus to His Friends about His passion, and then presents the moment when the apostles ask Jesus for a place.
The Gospel tells us: “They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem; Jesus was walking on ahead of them and they were in a daze” (Mk 10,32a). Jesus gets on the road in full awareness of what awaits Him. But He advances, fearlessly, with pride, walking at the head of His Apostles, who are amazed at all this. And even those who follow the Son of God, do so with “fear“, that holy fear that comes in the presence of God, who many already then recognize in the Person of the Master.
Jesus walks straight. Jesus, the humble Lamb, advances proudly, to give strength to His apostles. He walks head high, so that Christians, throughout time and history, could imitate Him to the end, especially when having to face trials, having to meet trials, just as Jesus was well aware of having to go towards the trial that was waiting for Him in the so‑called “holy city”, which already was no longer holy, that Jerusalem; but that many considered as such.
Jesus advances, humble but proud (Mk 11:29). Jesus is not the “great humiliated”, as someone now, in these times, would want to make believe. Jesus is proud. Humble but proud. Not humiliated. It’s different. And He manifests this pride that comes to us, to make us understand with what spirit we are to face the trials and those who fight against the Spirit of God. Now as then, the Spirit of the Master is alive and leads the Christians to advance head-high. Christians, humble but not humiliated. Humiliation will be left to others, to those who have pronounced these words, to those who say that Jesus is the “great humiliated”. We will leave the humiliation to them. Christians, instead, are to advance head high, humble but proud of the path they are walking on, of the path they must undertake.
This is all it takes nowadays. This is the time when the Christian community must raise his head and must rediscover his sense of belonging, his own history, showing with holy pride his own symbols, the Cross first of all (Gal 6:14), that Cross that lights up the world, that Cross that towers even in this Sanctuary. That Cross of light, that Cross of gold, which leads us to the victorious Christ, not to the defeated Christ, not to the humiliated Christ.
This is the pride we must transmit now, as Christians, to the Christian community and to all the Christians; so to give back to every Christian that sense of belonging which other realities, instead, would want us to lose. Our identity cannot be sold off in the name of an alleged respect for those who profess another idea of religion, following the example of the summit of the Church of Rome that, in a public meeting, has preferred to remove the symbols of the Christian faith so to not be disrespectful to others, towards those who were guests at that moment. That is not “respect”. That is to sell-off one’s identity, as to hide one’s own symbols.
This is what must not happen in this time, where proudly each one shows his own symbols without, with this, being disrespectful to others. We must understand everything that we live and not let words take the place of what is essence and substance. Because if Christians are ashamed of the Cross, if Christians are ashamed of the Nativity scene, as ever more often happens at Christmas, if Christians are ashamed of Jesus, of the symbol of Jesus, what will happen? Then it happens that those who are ashamed of Jesus before men … Then it happens that their shame will be manifested towards the Father, because Jesus will not recognize them before the Father (Mk 8:38; Lc 9:26). This is what must never happen.
This is why Christians must firmly keep their roots and live the teachings of the Gospel in essence and substance, to bring everyone to Christ, so that in Christ everyone may be saved. Because this is what the Father wants. This is the Plan of salvation wanted by the Father, who sent His Son, Jesus, so that everyone, by believing in Him, may be saved (Mk 16:16; Jn 10:9; Rm 10:9; Rm 11:26). This is the Father’s Plan of salvation. And we must obey the Father before the men (Acts 5:29). And when men are wrong, by teaching human doctrines that betray the teaching of God, the faithful of God have the duty to denounce the error of men.
This is the true passion of Jesus and of Christians today. That passion that leads them to defend the action of God’s Spirit, who moves in history, against those who would want to turn religion into a human power, using it to their own advantage and to the detriment of God’s people. This teaches us the history of God’s people. This teaches us the history of Jesus, sent by the Father to demolish a religious system made up of men who had turned religion into a human power, enslaving again the people with a series of human precepts (Mt 15:9; Mk 7:7), but distancing the people from the truth of the action of the Holy Spirit, that Spirit that proceeds, in history, from the Father and the Son, and advances to help God’s sons in remaining faithful to the Father’s Will.
Here then the third proclamation of the Passion of Jesus, which we meditate today, which Mark’s Gospel presents us: Jesus who “takes the Twelve aside and begins to tell them what was going to happen to him” (Mk 10:32b). These are the words of Jesus: “the Son of man is about to be handed over to the chief priests and scribes. They will condemn him to death” (Mk 10:33; Mt 20:18). So it is clear who are those who condemn Jesus to death: the priests. God’s history teaches us that the murderers of God, those who killed Jesus and God’s prophets, are the priests, those who were supposed to help the people to recognize and welcome God and His Spirit in history and who instead killed Jesus and His Spirit, who spoke in history through His messengers.
This is the true passion of God incarnate and of all His sons, those who want to remain sons of God. This is to co‑participate in the live, continuous and palpitating Mass of the Son of God. This means to drink that chalice, as Jesus says to His Apostles in the Gospel today proclaimed (Mk 10:39). This means to live the Mass, as Jesus revealed to His Maiden (She who all of us have known and loved): the Mass, which “essentially is the renewal of the sacrifice of Christ”. Not a finished, ended sacrifice. But a living Sacrifice, which is daily renewed to carry out the fulfilment of salvation wanted by the Father in His Son. Who does not understand this, does not understand the live meaning of the Mass, of the passion of Jesus and of His sons. God is Spirit, as Jesus says in the Gospel (Jn 4:24). And everything must be lived and understood in spiritual terms. Here in these last times, in which everything is being fulfilled, even the meaning of the Mass, the meaning of having and being in communion with Jesus, must be understood and lived in the light of the living action of the Holy Spirit (1Jn 1:6-7). Everything is Spirit. God is Spirit. And in spiritual terms, everything will be fully understood; as well as the Mass and “to receive Communion”, to be in Communion, from Heart to heart, from Spirit to spirit with Jesus. Always. Every day. In every moment. Not once a day, once a week or periodically. As Jesus says in John’s Gospel, at the conclusion of His discourse about the living Bread descended from Heaven: «It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life» (Jn 6:63), says Jesus. And those words must be understood; in their profound meaning.
Mary, the Mother of God, has wholly lived the Mass. She has fully lived the passion of Jesus, co‑participating up to the end the Sacrifice of Her Son, up to the foot of the Cross (Jn 19,25). No one can say that Mary, at the foot of the Cross, may have thought she had been deceived by the Father. Mary never doubted the Father. Mary never thought that the Father lied to Her. Who says this? Because this is what has been claimed by a man, who said in a public homily that Mary would have thought and said in Her heart “Lies, I was deceived!”. The pontiff of the church of Rome has affirmed exactly this. How can one think this about Mary? It isn’t written anywhere, but above all it is not in Her Heart. What spirit suggested these words? Not the Spirit that is in Mary, because these words could not be said against the Mother of God, sowing in the heart of God’s sons, the doubt that Mary could have thought this. Mary remained faithful under the Cross, co‑participating the living Mass of Her Son which was airing, was taking place at that moment.
Whoever wants to live the Kingdom of Jesus right from now, in the expectation to be able to live It fully, must be concerned in remaining faithful to the Gospel (Mk 1,15), without giving imaginative interpretations to the history of Jesus and Mary. We must stay listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit, who moves forward in history to make everyone understand the fulfilment of the Father’s Plan of salvation, that the Father has wanted for humanity. Not to change the teachings and the history, forgetting what is the Project that the Father wants for His sons.
Whoever lives the Church of Christ, whoever is part of the Mystical Body of Christ, of the assembly of the believers in Christ, should not worry about his place or assignment, as we have heard in the Gospel of today (Mk 10:40). Because in doing so, we risk to make vain the call received, to deny the call received, to no longer listen to the action of the Holy Spirit, who speaks from Heart to heart. And by not listening to the Voice of the Holy Spirit we risk to humanize the Church; and to live the Church as any other centre of human power, as it happens in other realities that are in the world, where everyone selfishly thinks about himself.
By doing so, the Holy Spirit is betrayed and the voice of another spirit is heard, that is not holy: a spirit of division, a spirit that does not put brotherhood at the centre, but that destroys it; an egotistical and ruthless spirit, that brings to lose the essence of being Church, “Ecclesia“, namely Assembly of the faithful, of the believers in Christ. And division is experienced: brother against brother, sister against sister.
In the moment when the Holy Spirit is betrayed, that church is no longer as such and loses its vocation to reach out to the world, to be Catholic, to think about the universality of the faithful. And it becomes a church made up of men, who manage spirituality as a power, the same as other men; and so forgets the people of God.
This is what is happening in other realities, where the spirit of brotherhood has given room to an egotistical and personal spirit, which leads brothers to make war against each other, where the “catholicity” of the Christian message has been lost, where the voice of the Holy Spirit is no longer heard. And to prevent anyone from questioning the spiritual primacy of that reality, it is preferred to say that the revelation is closed, it is finished.
No man, no institution can stop the action of God’s Spirit that proceeds in history. God’s Spirit advances and will advance. In this Church the spirit of division must not enter. No one should think of the place to occupy, neither here nor in Heaven. The Call comes from the Father. Each one of us must be concerned with answering the Father’s Call with an adequate response, whatever it may be, so that we may bear fruit, for our own good and for the good of our brothers, without being overcome by selfishness, envy and jealousy for wanting to see the Call of our brothers, for wanting to see what our brothers or sisters do, because in doing so we lose sight of our own call. We must not look for a place or a role. Jesus has already taken care of this. Jesus thought of it. Remember what Jesus said: “I shall go, but where I’m going you cannot come now. I’m going to prepare a place for you” (Jn 13:33; 14:2c). Do you remember these words of the Gospel? Behold, Jesus has prepared us a place. He gave us this Land of Love. He gave us the New Jerusalem, where we are all free to enter and live already now the Kingdom that Jesus promised us, in the expectation of the final fulfilment where all this will be lived in its fullness. But already now all of us – everyone, all those who want this with a sincere heart – can live this reality, which the Father and Jesus have given us. This is why we must not humanly labour to preserve a place, even because we would lose it, because it is the Father who decides and assigns to everyone his place, as Jesus explains to His Apostles. We must be concerned with remaining faithful to the Gospel, faithful to the teachings of Jesus; and to follow the example of Her, the One who Jesus has given us, to be able to go forth to the end and bring to completion what each of us has to bring to fulfilment.
Here is the example of this Maiden, to whom all of us are bound, because Her living example walks and continues to walk with us. Looking at Her Heart, looking at Her face, looking at Her eyes, no one will lose the right Way. The Father called Her to give us this Place, this Land of Love, this New Jerusalem (Rev 21:2). Now it is up to us to continue this journey, so that everything She has accomplished will not be dispersed, but on the contrary may be brought to fulfilment right to the end.
Here is that we are now living the end times, as we have often had the opportunity to say and just as She herself has revealed to us. And in this Church, the errors of the past must not be repeated. We, sons of this Mother Church, are now called to co‑participate and to join our life in the Sacrifice of Christ, to fully drink His chalice, on the example of His Maiden, called in this Land of Love to announce the fulfilment of the promise of the Father for the salvation of humanity.
In this Church, Christian and Universal, we all want to fulfil all what has been started, to continue to live in communion with Jesus’ Heart, with His live, continuous and palpitating Mass, which will bring all God’s sons and all men and women of goodwill, to salvation. And so be it.