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Homily - Father Stefano Aragno  | 

Mother Elvira
I would like to welcome you one more time.  How nice it is to smile while singing.  If we would do this in our families, there would always be peace.  This is what peace is: someone who overcomes a moment of crisis and sings and looks in their children’s eyes.  What a nice story.  Just think it is so simple to give yourself orders.  We are capable of telling ourselves, “I want to smile”.  For example, you leave your house, you have a thorn in your heart, but before thinking only about yourself, about what offended you, about the provocation that you did not like, or the fact that someone responded badly to you… it is not important!  Decide to smile, to think about who you meet on the street, because we would all like to be joyful, in peace.  We would all like to be right; we would all like gratification, all of us!  But we can not always think about ourselves and demand or expect that others bow their heads to us or clap their hands in approval of us…
We normally walk down the hill to go to Mass and often we see young people, maybe engaged couples that get in their cars: they are together yet they have long faces.  Now I try: I get on their side of the road, where they are walking slowly, and while they pass by I smile at them.  They see me, and then they no longer look at me, but smile at each other:  It is important to risk our reputation, come out of ourselves in order to bring joy to someone else!  We want to see who we really are, who we are deep down.  This morning is the morning to let our masks “fly”.  We need space within us, light within us, joy within us, but no one can give us these things from the exterior: space, joy, freedom… everything that we seek is within us.  Just think at times we seek happiness in exterior things, outside of us.  For example: if your mother comes you are happy because you see your parents.  But that is just a crumb!  You must already have joy!  Because you have many gifts, many values!  And you leave all of those treasures behind and hope to find happiness because maybe someone smiles at you!  But your value came before that smile!  There is your life, which has such an immense value!
We must live joy, trust, hope, and gratitude towards God and toward others, towards everyone.  We should always be on our knees to say “thank you, thank you, thank you”!  We should first thank God because we are alive and because He is the source of our lives.  And then thank our brothers, sisters, everyone, because they are the greatest gift that the Father has given us after the gift of our lives, because being alone you die, and being alone life looses its meaning.
Now I was telling you, this is the moment that this hill transforms itself into an “ocean of mercy”.  Today we want to take off our masks, because we need interior cleaning.  Let’s think of how many times we confessed leaving out and hiding a part of ourselves that still hurts us, that we don’t want to see, and exactly because we do not want to see it, it is rotting within us and saddening our lives.  Now this morning we want to say to ourselves, “I want to be freed!”  Yesterday there were young people confessing; I arrived in the car, I got out, and a guy, who was already speaking with a priest, got up and came to greet me.  I told him: “You should have stayed there for confession”, and I tell you all today: we go to confess ourselves because it will be the greatest thing that we will see, that we will do in these days.  It will be the greatest miracle: God’s mercy, God’s embrace, God’s warmth, God’s love.  This is what we need.  I told that guy: “Start your confession with that hurt or gesture, that you kept inside you, which you have never told anyone.”  There is something that we have always kept hidden, now lets go and the first thing that we say is the thing that has burdened us for so many years, that we have never told anyone or what we told to a friend… but that doesn’t count, it is not enough!
If we want to live total freedom, it must be a luminous freedom, immersed in the truth.  In fact Jesus says: “The truth will set you free”.  We must live the truth, not just with words, but live it each day and we will be free.  That freedom will bring us to live love, service, sacrifice without fear, exactly because we have space within us.  “The truth will set you free” and if there is a category of people that are searching for freedom it is young people, but so that it will not be an illusion we must be truthful.
There are many priests here and let’s thank them!  Many priests have come for this service.  They are in our midst to allow us to live this gift.  Let’s try to be able to make this gesture of liberation; maybe you only have that one thing to say, but you must do it: go and say it.  This is the moment of freedom, finally!  It is not easy, because we are afraid, even if Jesus continually tells us: “Do not be afraid!”  We are afraid of being judged, that we will not be respected any longer, that we will loose affection, our self esteem.  But when we tell our life story in confession, it is no longer just a priest.  Do as I tell you: you must confess by closing your eyes.  Do not start by saying: “my husband did this…” No!  Close your eyes and tell about yourselves, tell your life… Close your eyes, we do not need a sermon during confession, we need absolution, mercy, Jesus’ embrace, not with the priest.  Say: “Jesus, I remember this, this, and this… I have something that I have never told anyone, I tell You, because for many years now I have held it in my heart…”  Always keep your eyes closed and speak with Jesus.  He is the one who absolves you.  He is the one who embraces you!
This is why a mountain of mercy reaches us this morning.  We need mercy.  God is mercy.  He is mercy; he could not be anything else because we are miserable.  Each time we speak we wound ourselves; we hurt ourselves.  He is mercy in action, immediate, always, in any moment, in any place: we are always immersed in God’s mercy, and now we do not need to be afraid. 
Those of you who have something that they have never told anyone raise your hands       (numerous people raised their hands).  That person over there raised their hands and feet! Now for all of you the moment of freedom has come, because that thing is so far back in time, but despite everything you still remember it and is still present within you and you would like to keep it so far away… now you are afraid only to pronounce the word and therefore you do not bring it up in confession, you do not say that word, you can say other things and you think you are freed, but you know that you have that secret and it torments you.  Now is the moment to free our being, to be true children of God.
It is not easy.  I understand, but, you have come here for this, to free your hearts, your mind, your whole being, to become new people.  When we are renewed, the whole world around us is renewed.  We all need our families to be reborn.  We would all like to get along with our fathers, mothers, children… And know that this is possible.  It is possible if we have the courage to make space in our lives for the truth.
It is a beautiful thing to live freedom in the truth: everyone appreciates you because you are capable of living in the light, of asking forgiveness, of starting over.  Life is starting over every day, many times a day, but it gives you a strength, an energy, a freedom, a joy that is worth not holding ourselves back, not putting on a mask, not making false appearances.
The story of worrying about appearances, of being someone you are not is over…Why do you worry about approval?!… Who cares?!  What do you need?!  You need to be clean, free.  Yesterday Monsignor Giovanni said that Our Lady stepped on the snake’s head and She truly did it, but the tail remained which still bothers us… but have no fear, because evil lost: Jesus conquered it with His Resurrection and Mary stepped on its head.  Now lets not, with our heads to do evil instead of good.  Let’s empty ourselves of that evil, confessing it and leaving ourselves free.  Let’s go and live confession, which is the liberation, forgiveness, and mercy that the Lord wants to give each one of us to make us new people.

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