THE CARDINAL'S HOMILY
Dear brothers and sisters! I can not forget that today is the feast day of Father Pio. We ask Father Pio a special help and support for the Cenacolo Community.
God wants that all people are saved and recognize the truth. This is a beautiful message: God wants that we are all saved. All of us present here, without exclusions! But… me? Do I need to be saved? Why? I am okay! I am not so bad! Surely there are many young people that need to be saved: from drugs, alcohol, or gambling. Surely there are many people that need to be saved… but us… why do we need to be saved? Is it really such a serious thing, that we cannot go on without being saved? I bear my difficulties, resolve my problems and in the end we all go to heaven. Other people need to be saved… but me, I only need help.
I think that we are not yet aware of what we carry in our hearts, we have not yet realized what we have inside us. I remember in 1966, when I was twenty-one years old, I got acquainted ,for the first time, with the world of alcoholics: this encounter touched me very much. In Germany, there was an institute for the recovery of alcoholism; there I got to know alcoholics anonymous. Surely many of you know the twelve steps of the alcoholics anonymous, a document from which we can all learn a lot.
The first step that helps us come out of the nightmare of alcohol is acknowledging that: "I cannot save myself alone!". I remember well what friends of this group told me: As long as someone has problems with alcohol and has not taken the first step, he will not be able to get away from his dependency. "I cannot save myself alone"! I noticed that this rule is not only for alcoholics but also for each of us. No one can save himself alone! But… is the situation really so serious? Are we really in danger?... Brothers and sisters, I believe that we discover how serious the situation is only when we encounter Jesus. Only when He tells us: "I am your Savior" will we understand that we need to be saved, healed. As long as we do not know His love, we believe that we can do everything on our own and like this we satisfy us. Only when we get to know Him, we do understand that we need someone that heals us. Saint Paul thought he could save himself with his good works, as long as he did not encounter the One called: "the Son of God, that loved me and gave himself for me" (Gal 2,20). When he understood this, he also realized that alone, he could have never saved himself.
My dear friends, I would like to tell you in three points what this means.
First: if it is true that we need to be saved, none of us will arrive at our goals without our Savior Jesus Christ. This means that we all have something in common: the need to be liberated, healed. Not only those of you who had problems with drugs, but all of us. Who saves us from sin, from our complications? It is Jesus, our Savior!
There is one other thing, because if it is really like this, now the poor that I encounter are my brothers, my sisters. As a consequence, I cannot turn to someone that really needs help and say: you are lost and I am not. The poor are my brothers and sisters. In the first letter we heard the strong words of the prophet Amos, that reminds us that the poor are not objects, that we cannot take advantage of them with the sale of drugs, or other dishonest work, only because they do not have the possibility to defend themselves. No, the poor are my brothers, my sisters: they are people, not objects. The prophet's message is clear: The Lord saves the poor, and those that take advantage of the poor can be rich on earth, but in front of the Lord they are lost, they are in danger. Who steps on the poor is in danger of loosing himself. God does not forget the poor and for this we should not close our eyes to the poor.
The third thing is that alone, no one can save himself. All of us need salvation, but alone we cannot arrive at our goal. We need one another, the Community, the Church. That dishonest administrator knew that he was ashamed to beg and was not able to do heavy work, so he decided to make friends and Jesus "gave him a medal", not because he was unjust, but rather because he understood that he could not do it alone, that he needed friends. Jesus pushes us towards friendship, towards unity and I am sure that the Community can tell us a lot about these things. Jesus helps us to make friends and the Church is the beautiful experience of this friendship, He shows us that we are no longer alone, that we live in communion.
In closing, I wish to add two more things.
Paul says that God wants us to be saved, and adds: I hope you all will come to understand the truth. Many times we forget to tell ourselves this: that we need to come to know the truth. What sense does this have, what does this mean? That without the truth there is no salvation, that in the midst of lies no one can be saved! You know this, you have experienced this and now know that drugs, pornography, pleasures… are not the roads to travel down, but lies. Jesus said the truth will set us free. Do not let ourselves be eluded by lies and do not tell them to ourselves. The greatest truth that we need to know is that we are truly loved, that we are not unappreciated: it is not true that you are not valued. Even if you despise yourself and think that you are the last person on earth, the truth is that you are loved. If you recognize the truth, you realize that Jesus is your friend and your Savior :nothing can separate you from His love. But you must have faith!
One more observation. Jesus says: who is faithful with little will be entrusted with much more. Salvation always starts with small things. Who is not truthful with little, surely will not be with a lot. Small passes towards good that push us towards doing more good, that encourage us, that give us joy because we realize the good these steps do for us: however small, they are steps of salvation, steps of love. Salvation is realized when we find ourselves in front of a judge, in front of Christ: this is where salvation is, but we need to go towards them now with small steps. It is beautiful to live salvation today already.
Dear Sister Elvira, today, during the tenth anniversary of the Cenacolo Community in Austria, I want to thank you because also your journey started with a small step: simply, you did not turn your head away from the poverty that you found in front of your door. And after this small step, many others came.