And for the first time ever I celebrated Mass, as a deacon, inside the Porziuncola. And for the first time I post one of my homilies. Special place, special God...
If there had to be a title I would say: “The annunciation and the praise of the difference”…
In today gospel we read: “the angel Gabriel”, “a town called Nazareth…”, “a man named Joseph”, “the virgin name was Mary” and finally “you must name him Jesus”.
We notice that we are given precise details of the situation and most of all the names of the characters. In the biblical reading names are of paramount importance. Giving names, or receiving names means something new is happening, it usually means that God is planning something innovative; he’s beginning a new story. Yet, since the book of genesis we understand that God doesn’t do anything without our cooperation . He created all that existed, or better he put order in everything that existed and than said to man (humanity) “name everything”. And later on God named Abram as Abraham and Sara became Sarai… so on and so forth. In today’s Gospel Mary, that we know to be the new Eve, is asked to do something extraordinary “you must call him Jesus”. She’s asked to give a specific name, chosen by God himself, to the son which will be given to her. We are in front of a new creation! I believe here lies the greatest novelty that human history has ever faced “a God, with his own name, dwells amongst us”.
Why have I said all this? Because sometimes recognising the presence of God (A God with his own name) in our own lives is not easy, and sometimes is scaring while other times is joy and hope and love. Just think of what happened to Mary; the angel said “rejoice, you enjoyed God’s favour; god is with you” and what is her reaction? Deeply disturbed. I wonder whether this should be the proper reaction to the presence of God in our own lives. Especially as missionaries we shall be ready to be deeply disturbed and most of all disturbed by God’s plan which most of the times are not ours. We have been told how to make a perfect project once we are in mission, how to organize a mission, and what to do in certain circumstances… but I feel the gospels of today is telling us something more “be ready to what is going to be so different from what you are used to an don’t cling on it”. What about if Mary had said “I’m sorry Mr. Gabriel… this is not how it works, I have to get properly married first; the Scriptures forbid me to have a son right now…” Mary was open to a new way, to something completely new and different. Are we ready to recognise Jesus where we think he cannot be, or worse where he shall not be, or even worse where he ought not to be…,“or do we want to go to mission with everything ready-made in our mind?”.
In some way this is what st. Francis did, he recognised the presence of Jesus in every man, and the presence of the living God in every creature. He let himself to constantly be surprised by God who talked to him in so many different ways. God is not a “right” of our Church; God does not belong to the Catholic Church, but it is rather the opposite: every man on earth, knowing it or not “belongs to God who’s a loving Father”.
God bless you all