Here follows the homily presented by Fr. Giovanni on the occasion of the eucharistic concelebration held with the Chiesa Cattolica Celtica, with whom we are in communion, at Rubiera. On this day, +Edio, Primus of the Chiesa Cattolica Celtica visited our MTLCC community of Reggio-Modena.
This is an important day for our church. Today we meet in person for the first time.
Today we have here with us the Primate of a church in communion with us, with whom I am sure cooperation and exchanges will be continuous and fruitful. Let me say that all this is a gift, a blessing for us all.
On the term "blessing" I would like to turn our attention.
Why is being here today a blessing? What is a blessing?
In Holy Scripture we can say that the theme of blessing is a pivotal theme. God has been blessing animals and man since Creation. And since then there have been many examples of men and women being set apart, blessed, according to God's plan. And herein lies a key point: he who is blessed is not blessed for his own merit, he does not receive a prize, he is not elevated from the ordinary person to something special. He who is blessed becomes an instrument, he spreads the blessing, he brings others into the one and only blessing: the one bestowed by God at the beginning of time. Let us think of Jacob, blessed by Isaac (with the same formula used by God to bless Creation, which came to Jacob through Abraham), from whom the same people consecrated by God were then born, from whom the lineage of David and, therefore, Christ was generated. Let us think of Mary herself, to whom the Angel brought God's announcement and blessing. Who in turn blessed the world by giving birth to Jesus.
Let us now try to apply all this to our own little church reality. We are an independent church, somehow 'set apart' to fulfil a purpose. Is there, after all, a reason why we are here and not inside one of the institutional churches? Now, if this being 'set apart' is only motivated by our ego, by wanting to be special, to be different, let me say that there is little that is blessed. We set ourselves apart, divided from the rest. And division for selfish purposes we know well from whom it comes....
But what if instead we took note of the great opportunity that this gift of independence brings us? I don't think it is far-fetched to say that the opportunity given to us is to provide a direct path towards Unity. Unity with a capital U, mind you. The Unity we seek is that with God through Christ. Not unity with any earthly human agglomeration, a more or less large organisation of believers, run by an earthly authority to whose will and interpretation we must conform, leaving to others the assessment of how and to what extent what is being told participates in the Truth.
The opportunity we are given is a path, certainly not the same for everyone, that leads each of us to seek Christ within ourselves and in Him to recognise ourselves: to find Christ in our hearts, because it is there that He lives and that part of us made in the image and likeness of God resides.
This is precisely that Unity of which I spoke earlier, the one with a capital U. That this Unity must be sought within us, both Luke and Thomas remind us in their Gospels.
In fact, we read in Luke: "The kingdom of God does not come in a way that can be observed; nor will people say, 'Here it is' or 'There it is'; for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17: 20-21). This is echoed by Thomas: "Jesus said: - If those who lead you say to you, 'Behold, the kingdom is in heaven,' then the birds of the air will go before you. If they tell you that it is in the sea, then the fish will precede you. But the kingdom is within you and it is external to you. When you have recognised yourselves, then you will be recognised and you will know that you are the sons of the living Father'
(Gospel of Thomas, Logia 3).
This journey of discovery is therefore a journey of self-discovery, and this gradually makes us better men and women, perfects us, and brings us closer to the ideal of Christ. It changes us. And this change is not just for us. A better man or woman makes the world better, because it is in the world that he or she lives, moves and works. It is here that they bear witness. It is here that they bear the fruits of their encounter with Christ and through their work they bring Christ into the world. The Orientals would say that a renewed, enlightened Man (for us such is the man who knows Christ) does not generate new karma. If we think of karma as the universal law of cause and effect, generated by our actions, a man of this nature will never be moved by the will to harm and create negative effects. Simply because there will always be less selfish actions, he will not choose attachment to pleasure, greed and the desire to accumulate at the expense of others. A greater self-awareness, a recognition of Oneness leads to embracing everything and everyone. In Oneness there is no room for separation. In Oneness we are all brothers and sisters. We all share the same life. That is why Jesus tells us: 'as often as you [have helped] one of the least of these brothers of mine, you have done it to me' (Mt 25:40). Evil deeds, on the other hand, are like a spark, which, however small, is enough to set fire to a pile of straw as high as a palace. This is why we must seek and follow Christ, as he himself invited us to do, stripping ourselves of everything, to come to recognise him as alive within us and equally alive within our brother or sister. United in Christ, we become the image of God reflected in humanity. This is God's project to which we are all called to contribute.
The blessing we are given is a path of transformation of ourselves to transform the world. It echoes the words of God: "go, multiply, bear fruit".
This applies to us as a church and to us as individuals. To us as ministers and believers. To us as Sons of God”.
Praised be Jesus Christ.