HOMILY OF 17th FEBRUARY 1980
BY THE REVEREND FATHER BONAVENTURA MARIA RASCHI
We can say that today’s Holy Scriptures, today’s Gospel in particular, have a violence which isn’t only oratorical because it’s the violence of truth. The fact is that truth is so powerful that it can hurt, we can really say that truth hurts in the sense that a lot of people are in conflict, but what do you want to do? To sum up today’s liturgy we could say: those who are on the cross are the lucky ones, those who are fine are the unlucky ones. It’s wrong, isn’t it? It doesn’t go, but it is so.
Now the question becomes very very clear if we light it with the words of Saint Paul who addresses those who don’t believe ( maybe, they believe – who knows ) and whose faith has been put away in a bank, I don’t know, but they haven’t got it with them anyway. They have put it away and they don’t know what to do with the risen Christ. Who knows! But this isn’t a question of “who knows”, of “but”. People can’t live in the kingdom of the great “peut-être” as the French call it, people can’t say “but”, “let’s hope”, “we will see”, “it’s over”. No. No. We belong to the kingdom of decision, of precision, of truth: the Christ has resurrected. If you don’t like it, go and have a walk, all of you, it’s better, but Christ has resurrected, and this resurrection shows us that life is in the hands of The Most High, Who is the Lord of life, He is the only Lord. Today, everybody wants to be a lord; it is sufficient to have a little money, the heart of a criminal, and a gun in the pocket to go and commit murder as if it were a bird-shooting or any other animal-shooting.
But the resurrection is real. God is the Lord of life, Christ has resurrected and those who believe in Christ will resurrect too, this time with the body. Think about it, this question is only for the body, but then with death there is what is more essential, what is real life and is called the soul, it is immortal, it never dies, absolutely it never dies, it’s immortal.
So, what is the resurrection? It’s clear: it means that the spirit which has always given life to our body takes again its elasticity of life and gives it to a body, which is ours. And if God was able to create a body for us, evidently, He will also be able to find it out in the mysteries of nature as for God only there are no mysteries. For us, as I have always said, even a grain of sand is a mystery, even a blade of grass is a mystery, even the sigh of a creature is a mystery; for us. For God, there are no mysteries. He can find out wherever He wants the separate elements of our body and put them together in a moment, in a moment; in this way, our soul, which is always alive because it’s immortal, which is waiting in eternity, can take our body again and make it vital; the same body which once was lifeless is made eternal, and, as Dante would say, our wonderful human life is transformed into the angelic butterfly and is part of the Kingdom of Heaven. This is the question.
But, all this has a strange law announced by the Gospels. Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
I remember when, a short time ago, Our Lady told us: be poor, be poor, be poor; richness has destroyed Christianity and has led it to paganism. Very true, The thirst for money, for a life of sensuality and the terrible hell of modern life. And then, blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. It’s clear. God created us for being happy but here people are displaying life ostentatiously and patiently; it’s clear that He, He didn’t put that happiness in a bank, He doesn’t need banks. And so He has made it available for those who have followed Him even in the trial, because the trial is the shining star of our dignity which has won over evil and, as a consequence, it’s the revenge of affective, intelligent, loving freedom which takes life in its fullness, as God had given it.
And blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Of course, the reference is not to bread here, it’s a different kind of hunger. I think that you are hungry, as I am, we are hungry because we are exhausted by the world’s sadness, we are embellished by the lack of a simpler righteousness of things, because we are bewildered and almost disheartened by the triumph of violence, without any concept of the dignity of life and of the rights of every man.
And so we are hungry, for what? For life, for truth, for justice; we will be satisfied. It is really so, and we will be satisfied because “Deus non irridetur”, say the Holy Scriptures, you can’t tease God.
And blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh. In fact, you can be merry as much as you like, but I think you are merry with tears; unless you have become so insensitive and so blind that present confusion seems progress; and life must be so because, after all, it has always been so. It’s strange that it should always be so, it’s said to have always been so, but we don’t like it. What is this contradiction we feel?
Blessed are you when men hate you.
This is above all addressed to us, to priests and religious people, if we are conscious of our dignity. Perhaps the time of this triumph is not far, be it limited, be it a short time, because God doesn’t use any watch and any calendar, but we can use them and we could count the hours of this suffering. But, it is clear, we will be blessed if men revile us and persecute us and insult us and drive us back and treat us as if we were wicked, why? Why ? Because of the Son of man, but who is the Son of man? The Son of Man is Jesus, He likes to call Himself the Son of man because he wants to be the rebirth of mankind, but he is God made flesh. Now because of Him, or better because of the brightness of His light, because of His wonderful truth, because of the greatness of His morality and of His Holiness which he is spreading in our hearts, just because of this we have married this ideal, we are living this ideal, when we live it because if we don’t we are worse than Judas, then it’s clear that the world hates us. A lot of us will probably die soon. I won’t say probably, but let’s say so, it can be a kind of illusion, we need it, don’t we? But they will drive us back, they will hate us because they don’t want to know anything about Christ, but blessed are you because great shall be your recompense in Heaven. In the same way, in fact, the old Jewish people behaved with the prophets because they spoke of the Lord, of our Lord’s rights, of His spiritual greatness, and then? And then, sooner or later, it’s better to eliminate these people, they disturb us, and so they were killed. So in the same way we disturb, but you Christians don’t be afraid. Rather, beware you rich people. Here we don’t find that very famous sentence which is very clear; it’s in the Gospel, it isn’t by Saint Luke, we also find it in Saint John, and so on, why? For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God, here it’s clear. Because Saint Louis the King of France was rich, we can say he had the greatest empire of the world in his hands, but Saint Louis!, because his spirit was above richness, because he administered with the holy spirit.
Saint Elisabeth the Queen of Portugal was very rich, she’s Saint Elisabeth. She could detach herself from everything.
Saint Elisabeth from Hesse, that is the Princess and later Queen of Hungary, the same. She was a great and wonderful Saint rich in miracles and goodness. And there are more, Saint Henry Emperor and so on, if we want to find them among the rich, and they were rich, they ruled the world!, because they weren’t like the little kings of today who are rich because they deal in foreign currency, the great princes and monarchs who have taken refuge here and there where they have placed their richness, so they are rich. But if they are not good they are doomed to die with their richness and they will do the same thing, they will go into the hands of some thieves who are called thieves for their spirit and are no more no less than devils. They steal from each other to bring each other to damnation.
After all this, we see that the world doesn’t laugh but weeps. We see that Christian life is serenity and not tears.
Let’s stay with our Lord, He loves us, He assists us, He’s the adorable providence.
I remember very well one sentence in a revelation where a fellow met Jesus, he didn’t know Him and asked : Who are you? I’m Infinite Mercy. Here is the Lord. It’s true. Infinite Mercy. Are we afraid of Infinite Mercy? Are we frightened by Infinite Mercy? Let’s take a closer look at this word, Mercy, miseria cordis, weakness of heart. God is weak in His heart, He is not sick, He is weak that means that the eternal love that saves, helps and makes us happy wins in God. And then let’s rely on Him.
I believe in one only God….