THE LAST HOMILY OF Fr SLAVKO BARBARIC O.F.M.Given on the morning of his last day on earth, November 24, 2000, at 9.00am Mass in St James’ Church, Medjugorje.
The unity of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Almost every message of Our Lady ends with the sentence, ‘Thank you for having responded to my call’. I have often asked myself, whom does Our Lady give thanks to, who is so important that she comes down from Heaven to say ‘Thank you’ to that person? She does not expect a lot from us, but she sees everything good we have done already and that is why she thanks us.
Let us also ask God's forgiveness for all that was not good, where selfishness, jealousy or arrogance prevailed in the past, so that, by our prayer and fasting, we may help in the dawning of a new time; as Our Lady said in her last message (25th October 2000) I would like to say quite consciously, together with Mary, once more ‘Thanks’ to all who have answered her messages in their own special way. It is always good to know, time and again, that Our Lady cannot do anything without our help! When we heard her ‘Thank you’ for the very first time, we were somehow taken aback, for we are used to ask God for everything.Of course, there is nothing wrong in expecting everything from God, to ask and pray to Him, the Almighty One – but there is a message coming back to us, saying: ‘I need you, you are important to me, I cannot do anything without your help!’ We often cannot comprehend this, but it is truly a fact. God wanted each and everyone of us, at our time, in our own surroundings, where we live. He wanted us and He has bestowed certain talents to us, which He wants to develop and make grow in us by His grace, so that we may serve Him by using our talents.
Everyone who, by using his or her talents, serves, loves, believes and hopes, is helping and respects others. We all are essential, in our time, at our place in our life, where God has decided us to be. I have often said this to people who criticise others a lot, or to those who believe they themselves would have done better had they been in God’s position. If God would have thought that you would have lived and served better at a different time or at a different place, then He would not have put you where you are now, but at that other place. Never say ‘I’ in God's place, but rather open your eyes and ears to your time and to your neighbour with whom you live. This is your very first task; this is where you are irreplaceable; this is where you are important for God and this is where God cannot do anything without your help. In that way we experience God's love and, His love, that same love reaches others through us.
GOD NEEDS US
When we receive consolation from God, it is only right to give it to others and – this we can only do at the time, at the place where we are just now. Only there, and now, can we do God's will and He cannot do anything without our help. Mary has succeeded in one thing during these 19 years and 5 months: Many people, who thought it sufficient to attend Holy Mass on Sundays only, have become very active in their religious life through the messages. That is why we can say today ‘Thank you’ for all the people across the whole world, who consciously spread the messages, with Our Lady's and other's help.A Croatian monk, a missionary who spent his time in India, once told me that every Saturday night and evening programme like the one in Medjugorje is being celebrated not just in one parish, but in several. This is another reason for Mary saying in her last message, that she thanked God and is delighted that so many people have come here during this Jubilee year and that the Church has been spiritually renewed.I believe we still must change quite a lot ourselves, for instance, to be able to see the Church and our families with the eyes of Mary. We are often inclined to judge and to complain about people and our time when we look at the world around us. Of course, there are a lot of problems. But Mary looks upon this world with different eyes than we do. She sees the good, however small, however insignificant. She recognises it and is grateful for it.
Gratitude is the best guideline in education. When you want to educate someone, you must first look at the good inside that person; however insignificantly small it may be. Then you must try and visualise how the individual could be and work on that together with the person. If we are blind to these things we only see the negative aspects; things that are imperfect; things alien to our momentary fancy and so we can get cracking with our criticism; we condemn and reject.Mary, on the other hand, only sees the good things in this world. She also sees what could be better, and right there she begins with her teaching. Read the messages! They are positive and they give hope, they are encouraging. In the same way, Mary has awakened the positive power within us and that is why we thank her.The one who follows Mary has no time to criticise. Mary gives us courage to do something even where we might believe it might disturb, or not be good, or be too much for us. Only in this way can Mary, together with her Son Jesus, enter the third Millennium. Therefore, thank all the people in the world who follow Mary, who visit us untiringly, who organise pilgrimages without ever getting tired.Let, as Mary says, a new dawn arise, a new springtime. It is not springtime in a calendar sense, but it is springtime of a new decision. Let the New World begin, where we believe it is outdated, contaminated and destroyed. When you decide to love God and our neighbour as yourself and when many besides you do likewise, then the new time has arrived. Amen.
Fr Slavko Barbaric O.F.M., November 24, 2000