St. Joseph and Mary Most Holy help us
to live the true Communion with Jesus,
Living Bread descended from Heaven
Gospel: John, chap. 6, verses 48-58.60-63
Feast of St. Joseph the Worker
May 1, 2019
Homily of the Pontiff Samuel
Dear children, dear friends, today our Church is celebrating for more than one reason. We are celebrating, today, the figure of St. Joseph the worker, the foster father of Jesus (Mt 1:16), He who helped the Infant Jesus to grow and to become a man. Then we celebrate the beginning of the Marian month: the popular devotion in this month celebrates and honours Mary (Lk 1:26-27), so to imitate Her virtues, every virtue. And then, feast in the feast, here is the moment that we all live with you, dear children, boys and girls, so to be able to understand, in this Celebration dedicated to you, the true meaning of the Communion, of “being in Communion with Jesus”, Living Bread came down from Heaven (Jn 6:51a).
This makes us live this day with a particular and live intensity, so to gain more strength from this day and live the total holiness, that may accompany us today and for ever, every day of our life.
Saint Joseph and Mary Most Holy accompany us and accompany you in this journey of holiness, so that from now on everyone – all of us – may put at the centre the Plan of the Father who has wanted to begin with the family (Gn 1:27-28; Mt 19:4-6; Mk 10:6-9), the first domestic Church; and so to put the family back at the centre as the foundation of the life of us all. This is the example that Saint Joseph and Mary Most Holy inspire us now, today and always. This is our live desire, as fathers and as mothers – but even before as men and women – of wanting to imitate the Holy Family, example to be followed by us men and fathers (even in this, we ministers, do not have a different life, it is the same for us, as the Father had determined at the beginning). And therefore, the path is well understood of being “men” and, for those who are parents, “fathers”. And therefore, to have a family. And hence, to raise children as St. Joseph did with his little Jesus, bringing Him up, giving Him strength, wanting to give Him good example. Because this is what we are called to do as fathers. And it is not always easy to find the time and the way how to dedicate time to our children, and above all to give them exemplary words and behaviours so that these children may grow up having tangible examples, not just words, so to become strong as Jesus was (Lc 2:40).
St. Joseph has been a great example for Jesus. As also Mary Most Holy has been a great example for Jesus. She is the example for every woman (Lk 1:41-42), for every mother, who is called to embody the virtues of Mary Most Holy (Lk 1:46-49). This has been made easier for us, in our time, because we have had this other Woman, a real example of true Woman, true Mother, whom has been given and donated to us by the Father. Even She was called to be family. She could have received a different Call after having seen Baby Jesus when She was seven years old, as indeed has happened to so many other “seers” in the history of God that preceded Her. But Her task is different from the other “seers” who preceded Her. There is much more in this Woman than a simple “seer”. The Father called on Her to be «synthesis – words of Jesus – of the prophets and of the ancient patriarchs». A great mystery of love is this Woman, called to welcome the Infant Jesus into Her Heart, to make her be the Living Cradle of Baby Jesus. Great mystery of love, this Woman: for you women and mothers. And so for all of us: She is a living example. Her virtues shine. She has embodied the virtues of Mary Most Holy and has been guided by Her same Spirit who has never stopped throughout time. Because the Spirit of God does not stop. The Spirit of Mary Most Holy does not stop and enters the heart of those who want to imitate these virtues.
This is why this day is a day of a special feast. And having before us the example of St. Joseph and the example of Mary Most Holy, all the more we can understand the meaning of this day dedicated to you all, dear children, so that you may understand and live in your little hearts what it means to be in communion with Jesus, Living Bread came down from Heaven, and to live the true Communion with Jesus, Living Bread came down from Heaven (Jn 6:48.58).
The words we have heard in the Gospel proclaimed today (Jn 6:48-58; 60-63) help us. The words used at that time by Jesus were to make everyone understand the true Essence of His Person. A people unaccustomed to what was spirit and so focused on all what was matter and materiality: this is what Jesus was faced with at that time, when the true meaning of “Love” was not known, but love was lived just as today many live it: a disordered love, a love that doesn’t lead to the Essence of the Father’s Heart, True Love, but leads to a carnality that often distances from the true meaning of God’s Love, who is totally manifested in His Son (Jn 15:9-10; Rm 5:8). And thus Jesus, with His words, with His actions, with His way of saying, had to lead, with simple gestures made understandable to those men, everyone to “Love”, to Him the Love made Person, and to all what is Spirit. Here are also the words we heard: «the flesh has nothing to offer»; «the words I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are Life» (Jn 6:63).
We believe that Jesus is present substantially in the Holy Communion, but now we must bring everything back to what is Spirit. These words, in these times, in this Church, are being fulfilled. «The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are Life» (Jn 6:63).
To be in Communion with Jesus, to have Communion with Jesus means to totally imitate His example, so to be united from Heart to heart, from Spirit to spirit with His Heart, with His Spirit; and, consequently, to completely imitate Him (1Jn 1:6-7) This is true for you, dear children. And this is true for all of us for understanding the real meaning of being in Communion with Jesus (Jn 6:63-64).
The heart is all one with the soul that is in the body and that is in the organism of every man and every woman. The spirit is that profound intimacy that unites the body of man with the Spirit of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Soul and spirit are indivisible, both joined to Heaven. Heart, soul and spirit, that spirit which then animates and gives life.
This is what now, in these times, we are called to understand, so to be true men and true women; and thus to be true Christians, of Christ, to imitate Him who is True Man, True God (Mt 11:29; Phil 2:5). He who has lowered Himself (Phil 2:6-8), the Living Bread descended from Heaven, to rise us up in the presence of the Father and make us be – after having experienced with our example to be true men and true women – true Christians, in perfect communion with His Heart and with His Spirit.
Here is what we live today. Here is what we celebrate today.
This is to give these children the awareness of what is lived right from now, in their young age. So that this white dress, which characterizes you on this day, may accompany you every day of your life. Don’t dirty it! Not dirtying this white garment means not dirtying, staining your little hearts with everything that is bad. This is why the Father gave us the Ten Commandments (Ex 20:1-17; Dt 5:6-21). Jesus summed everything up in the “Commandment of Love”, to make us understand in simple words how to ensure that our heart may remain pure: «You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind; You must love your neighbour as yourself» (Mt 22:37-39).
Therefore, to not stain your little hearts: [be] united to God, united to Christ, living Bread came down from Heaven, with a live prayer, with a holy behaviour; and at the same time loyal to friends, to the brothers and sisters, never betraying, never making them fall, so that, even in this, the brotherhood will return to be the centre of the life of each of us (Jn 13:34; 15:17; Rm 12:10; 1Pt 1:22). This is why: never argue between yourselves; try to understand one another, to love one another; try to obey your mother and father (Mt 19:19), just as Jesus obeyed St. Joseph and Mary Most Holy (Lk 2:51a), and right from now, imitate the holy example of your mummy and daddy.
And here is now the commitment of the fathers and mothers, even more so today, even more from today onwards, to be example in their own family, to be able to give these children a concrete, tangible example. It is not just us ministers, who have to educate young people to Christianity. This is certainly our task, but the primary task is yours, dear fathers, dear mothers. Spend more time yourselves with your children.
So, today is the day of a new beginning – for many – so to be able to be even more an example for these children and to make them understand the essence of living the Communion with Jesus, every day, not only on Sundays: every day we are in communion with Jesus, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, so to live now and always united to Jesus and Mary. Now and forever.
And so be it.