BEATIFICATION OF SIX SERVANTS OF GOD
HOMILY OF JOHN PAUL II
Sunday 14 April 2002
1. "Jesus himself drew near and went with them" (Lk 24,15). As we have just heard in the Gospel, Jesus becomes a traveller joining the two disciples who were on their way to the village of Emmaus. He explained the meaning of the Scriptures to them and then, when they reached their destination, he broke the bread with them as he had done with the Apostles on the evening before his death on the cross. In that moment the disciples' eyes opened and they recognized him (cf. v. 31).
The experience of the Risen Lord at Emmaus is continually renewed in the Church. We can admire a wonderful example of the fact in the lives of those whom we have the joy of raising to the glory of the altars: the priests, Gaetano Errico, Lodovico Pavoni and Luigi Variara; the virgin María del Tránsito Cabanillas de Jesús Sacramentado; the religious brother, Artemide Zatti; the virgin, María Romero Meneses.
As did the disciples of Emmaus, the new Blesseds knew how to recognize the living presence of the Lord in the Church and, overcoming difficulties and fears, became his enthusiastic and courageous witnesses before the world.
In an age defined by profound political and social change, in opposition to the spiritual rigorism of the Jansenists, Gaetano Errico proclaimed the greatness of the mercy of God, who always calls to conversion those who live under the dominion of evil and sin. True martyr of the confessional, the new Blessed spent entire days giving his best energies to welcoming and listening to penitents. By his example, he urges us to rediscover the value and importance of the Sacrament of Penance, where God distributes his pardon so generously and shows the gentleness of the Father towards his weaker children.
Gifted with a particularly sensitive spirit, he was totally given over to the care of poor and abandoned youngsters and even deaf-mutes. His activity branched out in many directions, from that of education to the publishing sector, with original apostolic intuitions and courageous innovations. At the basis of everything, there was a solid spirituality. By his example, he exhorts us to place our confidence in Jesus and to be ever more immersed in the mystery of his love.
3. "And beginning with Moses and the prophets he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself" (Lk 24,27). With these words of the Gospel, Jesus manifested himself as companion on the road of life and our patient Master, who knows how to warm the heart and enlighten the mind so that it can understand God's plan. After the supper with Him, the disciples of Emmaus, leaving behind their sadness and confusion, ran back to the newly born Christian community to proclaim the joyful news of their having seen the Risen Lord.
This spirituality is common to the three new Blesseds who pursued sanctity under the inspiration of Don Bosco and the Salesian tradition. The raising to the altars of Don Luigi Variara, of Bro. Artemide Zatti, and of Sr María Romero is a great joy for this religious Family.
With a passionate love for God and an unlimited confidence in the assistance of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Sr María Romero was an exemplary religious, apostle and mother of the poor people, who were her real favourites. May her memory be a blessing for all and may the works she founded, among which the "House of the Virgin" in San José, continue in fidelity to the ideal that led to their being started.
The flame that burned in her heart brought María del Tránsito to seek intimacy with Christ in the contemplative life. She was not deterred when on account of bad health she had to abandon the monasteries where she was living, but continued with a confidence and abandonment to the divine will which she followed on her constant quest. The Franciscan ideal then appeared as the true way that God wanted for her and, aided by wise directors, she undertook a life of poverty, humility, patience and charity, giving rise to a new religious family.
6. "Show us Lord the path of life" (response for the Responsorial Psalm). Let us make our own the invocation of the Responsorial Psalm, that we just sang. We need the Risen Redeemer to show us the road, to go with us on the road, and to guide us to full communion with the heavenly Father.
© Copyright 2002 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana