Dear brothers and sisters, I will speak in French, excuse me, for I have not yet learned the beautiful Croatian language!
We have gathered around the altar on the 5th week of Lent. There are two more weeks dividing us from Easter. In one week, it will be Palm Sunday, and in two weeks we are going to celebrate, at the end of Holy Week, the greatest Christian Feast Day-the Feast of the Resurrection.
The Word of God that we have heard today, speaks of resurrection and shows us three perspectives of resurrection, three views on resurrection. The first one is historic. We know that Jesus Christ the Son of God and the Son of man, lived on this planet, in the Holy Land of Palestine. We also know that it was announced by prophets that he was going to be born, just as the prophet Ezekiel did, that we have just heard today. He brings the words of God who is telling us I am now going to open your graves and I will lift you up, and he repeats ‘I will open your graves and raise you from your graves.’ That is a prophesy, he already sees the arrival of the Messiah. We know that Jesus died and rose from the dead, that is the foundation of our faith. Without that foundation of Jesus’ Resurrection, our faith would be empty.
The second perspective, the second view or angle is liturgical. It is the path of Lent, during forty day we are going to pray and we will continue to pray, we fasted and we shall continue to fast. We have become more generous towards others and we are going to do all the more in the future.
The Spirituality of Lent is very well known here, you know it very well. Therefore, the liturgical path that is preparing us to reach the third perspective, that is the third view of resurrection and that is the perspective of our life, the life of each one of us. We live for resurrection, we march towards resurrection, we go through death in order to resurrect. The final goal of our earthly life is resurrection. During this path we are to resurrect, already in advance, keeping our minds on that final perspective. Our conversion is part of resurrection. Jesus says, and repeats, ‘the death of the body’, but he also speaks of ‘death of the soul’. The death of a soul is more serious, a far greater threat, because in that case we might die for all eternity. Therefore, each time when we continue to convert ourselves, we are turning ourselves towards God, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the source of Eternal Life. It is directing us towards love, because God is Love. It is love that keeps us alive, it is merciful love, that brings us inner peace and the joy of life. But there are two conditions; the first is faith. Jesus, before performing miracles, demanded faith, their faith in Him that he could do it, Lord I believe in you, I truly believe. That faith opens our heart for conversion. The opening of our heart is happening through the Sacrament of Confession, that is mercy itself. Our heart is opened up through confession, is being purified, opens itself up to the Holy Spirit and is filled by it and the Holy Trinity. Christ confirms that to us in the Book of Revelation, He says that he is standing at the door of our heart, knocking on it. If the Most Holy Trinity dwells within it, we become the Temple of God.
I would like to return to the historic perspective of resurrection. In the days ahead of us, we are going to read in the Gospel, we are going to see that Jesus’ enemies, are throwing their nets around Jesus, threatening Jesus all the more every day. He knows and He is aware of that. He knows that which the Disciples don’t know. There is somebody who follows Him on that path of suffering, His Passion, it is the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is always near, She suffers with Him, She feels her helplessness. St John Paul II said it was heart faith. Often, we call our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of seven sorrows. Throughout Her life, She suffered so much pain and Her suffering is growing together with Jesus’ towards the Passion of the Way towards the foot of His Cross. On the Way of the Cross at the fourth station we meditate Jesus carrying his Cross, encountering His Mother and the Gospel tells us that She was the witness of His horrifying death on the Cross. In Her own arms, She received the massacred body of Her Son. The Christian tradition teaches us that before Mary of Magdala, Mary encountered Risen Christ.
In the Perspective of the life of each one of us, the perspective of resurrection, of course the Blessed Mother is there as well. She accompanies us, She follows us, She participates in our suffering and our pain. If we live in the perspective of God, she is helping us to become saints, She is helping us on our path of conversion and we have to experience that spiritual presence of Hers. We call Her, especially here, the Queen of Peace. In the litanies of the Blessed Virgin Mary, there are some twelve titles when we call Her Queen and Queen of Peace is the last. Mary is Queen. When we contemplate the Glorious mysteries of the Rosary, we speak of her as Queen of heaven and earth. We meditate Her Assumption as well as Her Crowning as Queen of heaven and earth. She participates in all the characteristics of the Kingship of Her Son, the one who was the creator of heaven and earth, His Kingdom is universal. She is everywhere and we are allowed to appraise Her and revere Her everywhere. We thank Her for Her constant presence in the life of each one of us. She is by each one of us, always present. Queen of Peace, it is the fruit of conversion, She brings peace into our hearts and thus we become peaceful people, especially with our family, with our environment, society, our country. The peace in the world is threatened. The Holy Father, Pope Francis said ‘the third world war is partially already here’ and the most terrible are civil wars, those that take place among people that live in the same country.
Dear brother and sisters, for twenty-one years I lived in Rwanda, Africa, In 1982 Our Lady was appearing there and She predicted the genocide in Rwanda ten years before it actually happened. When She gave that message, nobody understood it. During three months of the genocide one million people were slaughtered. The apparitions of Blessed Mother in Rwanda were already recognised. She introduced herself as Mother of the Word, Mother of the Eternal Word, also in the perspective of the lack of peace. Therefore, that cog, that is so intense here, is so important for the entire world. We pray for peace because the destructive forces are tremendous throughout the world. It is tragic that families, societies, marriages, countries are in conflict, we need a Heavenly intervention and the presence of our Blessed Mother is one of these interventions. It is God’s initiative. Therefore, I would like to encourage and fortify all of you, on behalf of the Pope as his Emissary. Let us spread peace throughout the world through the conversion of hearts.
The greatest miracle of Medjugorje are the Confessions here. The Sacrament of Reconciliation and Mercy and forgiveness. It is the Sacrament of Resurrection and I want to thank all of the Priests, who come to hear confessions of the faithful. I have seen today over 60 Priests at disposal for confession, serving people of God.
I spent many years in Western countries, France, Belgium and I would say that individual confession has practically disappeared in the Western world, with the odd exception here and there. Therefore, the heart of man is closed. The world is becoming dry, evil is strengthening, conflicts are multiplying, therefore, let us all be the apostles of good news, conversion and peace in the world.
As I have learned here, I have heard these words, non-believers are those who have not yet experienced the love of God. When the love and mercy of God touches you, you cannot resist it, therefore we are going to participate together with those who save lives, we are witnesses of those who are saving lives. As the Franciscan Friars told me, there are pilgrims coming from 80 different countries throughout the world. This calling has been spread to the ends of the world, just as Jesus said to the Apostles, sending them into the world. You are witnesses of the love of Christ and the love of His Mother and the love of the Church.
May God fortify you in Faith and bless you.
(Transcribed by Ann-Marie)
Posted 2nd April 2017 20:34