September 30, 2015
Dear Family of Mary!
Yesterday Mary TV was able to stream “An Evening of Prayer for Peace at St. Stephen’s Cathedral”. It was a beautiful evening of prayer. There were testimonies about the fruits of Medjugorje. Marija Pavlovic Lunetti shared about her experiences of Our Lady. The Rosary was prayed. And during that prayer, Our Lady appeared to Marija and blessed everyone. Then Cardinal Schoenborn and over 50 priests, concelebrated Holy Mass and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The music was beautiful, with Melinda and Roland from Medjugorje! It was so prayerful and peaceful, and holy !
The homily was given by Cardinal Schoenborn, and I cannot resist transcribing it for you. It was simple but very insightful. (Thanks to our translator for working so hard to translate into English for us. It is never easy. But I believe we have a good translation of the Cardinal’s words.) The Gospel yesterday was John 1:47-51, when Jesus calls Nathaniel.
Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, Homily for Holy Mass, September 29, 2015, St. Stephen’s Cathedral:
Archbishop Andre, Fr. Marinko, dear Marija and brothers and sisters:
“How do you know me?” This is the question of Nathaniel, the question that made him later on an apostle. Each one of us can ask Jesus, “Rabbi, how do you know me?”
If I look now around the Cathedral, it is not usually as packed as it is now! Can each one of you here ask Jesus this question? “How do you know me?”
Jesus knows us. He knows me as no one else does. You who are married here…your husband or wife does not know you as well as Jesus does. Those who are not married, the old ones, the children can ask, “How do you know me?”
Jesus answered Nathaniel, “Before Philip called you I saw you under the fig tree.” What was that? We do not know what kind of a moment that was. Only two people know that, Jesus and Nathaniel. And that is their mystery. It is their individual mystery. What did Nathaniel do under the fig tree? What was he doing under that tree? We do not know. But he (Nathaniel) knew immediately. “How do you know me? You do know me!”
Each one of us has such a mystery with Jesus. He knows me. Rabbi how do you know me? It is not so comfortable if someone knows someone this well. There are sides of us that we do not like to show to others, and it is uncomfortable when someone sees those sides of us. But with Jesus it is different. If He knows us, we do not need to be ashamed of anything.
It can hurt as it did when Jesus said to a woman, “Call your husband.” And she said she did not have a husband. And Jesus said, “Yes you are right, you do not now have a husband.” Jesus does say the truth about us, as he said to that woman. She was hurt when Jesus told her that the man she was living with was not her husband. But when she went home she told everyone that Jesus told her everything about her. Jesus said it. And she was liberated. “How do you know me?”
Brothers and sisters, I would like to invite you in this night, this prayer for peace, that we each, individually ask Jesus, ‘How do you know me?’ And with joy we will discover “Lord you know me as nobody does. There is nothing I can hide from you. You know my biggest secrets, my fears, my needs, my mistakes, my sins, you do know me. You are the one to whom I can say it all. That is something so big and beautiful, that even in the inner most secrets of my life, You know me. And I am able to know You.”
Brothers and sisters, that is not all. It goes further. “Rabbi, it is you, you are the King of Israel.” To know Jesus is the heart of our faith. Otherwise we are not Christians. Jesus says, “You will see even bigger and greater things.” And that is what He says to all of us. We will see heaven opened.
What does it mean that “you will see heaven opened”? What does it mean? How is that possible? Have you ever seen heaven opened? I want to give you a few thoughts, but there are many experiences that complete that image. How can we see heaven opened?
Let’s start with a little sign – what I received as a little present last Saturday. There was a little party here for my jubilee as Archbishop. And today is my 24th anniversary of being Archbishop. Today, twenty four years ago, I was sent here. I was made a bishop. A friend from Syria gave me a present. He explained it to me and all the people in the Cathedral. It is a hanging. On the front is Mary holding the little Child. And on the back is a Cross. This hanging came from a bishop, who had it always with him. He was martyred because of his faith. And the mother of that martyr ask that man to present it to me. (This is a sign of heaven opened for me,)
You will see heaven opened. Can you remember when it was said in Holy Scripture that heaven was opened?
First, here in front we can see St. Stephen. We can see above him Jesus, at the right hand of God. The big number of martyrs today make heaven open. St. Stephen with his lighted face, the face of an angel, looks up and says he can see heaven open and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. Opening heaven… to give witness to Christ opens heaven.
Second, we do not have enough room for everyone inside the Cathedral for Adoration tonight. Mary is the one who opens heaven to us. Through her heaven opens to us. It is unbelievable and wonderful that the Mother of God is always opening heaven, so we can enter heaven. If I think about the 60,000 young people who joined her in Medjugorje this year. It was very hot. But there was no beach. There were no tourist attractions. But the young people came. Why? Because they experience heaven open there. Wherever Mary is, heaven is open. Thanks to the Mother of God who brings us the fresh air from heaven, and as it is said, you will see the angels ascending and descending on mankind.
Third, when we see the Eucharist, we know that heaven is opened and the angels are ascending and descending. I cannot see it, maybe you cannot see it, but maybe someone here can see it. All the angels of heaven are here and heaven is open over us. Jesus is present. Heaven is open over us. And heaven opens over us when we are in Jesus’ presence.
Finally, today we have a big challenge. Yesterday in Afghanistan, there was a town attacked by Taliban, and there are hundreds of thousands of refugees headed this way. It is not going to end soon. There is so much need in this world. And the question is not about statistics, but about us, individually, who see people in need, parents with their children, old people, young people, they are all people. Remember, “Whatever you have done for the least of these you have done it for me.” This is a chance for us to serve our brothers and sisters. It is a great challenge for Europe. But Europe may see heaven open. If we turn from egoism, maybe Our Lord wants to open heaven for us through what is actually going on. Amen.
Let’s take time today to ask Jesus, “How do you know me?” He wants us to know how much He knows us. It will liberate and heal us to be known by Jesus!
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
(c)Mary TV 2015