Parish priest of Medjugorje, Fr. Marinko Sakota, celebrated the Midnight Holy Mass in the packed church of St. James on New Year’s Eve. Here, we bring a part of his homily:
“Dear brothers and sisters, we believe that new is possible, that new Heaven and new Earth are possible, as John wrote in the Book of Revelation. We wonder how does that happen, can this, new 2015 year be different for us, better or more beautiful? We usually tend to think that that will occur once the outer appearance is changed, when the others around us change, those in our family or those who are far from us, or once the politics is changed or the economical situation. That is all what we wish, but that is not enough. Perhaps we think that when we have a new car, or a new home, when we become someone in the terms of today’s society, which is what is most valuable nowadays... But, Our Lady is teaching us to something different here. She says: ‘Pray, dear children, and have more trust in me because I am here to help you and to lead you on the new way of your lives. I invite you to start changing your life and to decide for conversion, not just with words, but with your lives.’ The message is clear. I do not need anything new, I need to become new. The next year is going to be new, different, only if we renew ourselves. We do not need to change our outer appearances to become new and to have everything new. It is new heart that makes us and all around us new and different. It is what Jesus said to Nicodemus: ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ We are born again when the change of programme takes place within us, when we began to think no longer in our human way, but in Jesus’, divine way, when our eyes become more alike eyes of Jesus. It takes place when we no longer think in the terms eye for eye, tooth for tooth, and we step up to different level, where there are different rules. Holy Father Francis is doing exactly that. He thinks that the change of the world will occur with the change of the Church. In that way he is following St. Francis, his model who was saying: ‘Consecrate yourself and you will consecrate the whole society.’ That is what the Queen of Peace has been doing in the Medjugorje for the last thirty-four years and She gives us concise guidelines when She said: ‘If you convert, all those around you will be changed.’ That is how we came to the question – how does that new, change of the heart take place? The change and renewal takes place in the prayer, but not in any prayer, only in the prayer with the heart. To pray with the heart means to pray in more profound way, just like Mary did. All She had experienced, She continues to experience furthermore, deep in her heart. She pondered Jesus’ words in Her heart and meditated upon them, She allowed those words to mould Her. When we pray with the heart, we do not remain in the sphere of our thoughts, but we penetrate deeper in our hearts, into the depths of our being and we unite ourselves with the presence of God that dwells within us. How to pray with the heart? When we pray with the heart, it is no longer about us, but about God. If we prayed before only for our needs, now heart is being more directed towards God. God becomes more important. From that point onwards I am going to Holy Mass because of Jesus, I am going to Adoration to get to know Jesus more, to get to know His gaze. I allow Him to work more within me, to speak to me. I am no longer person who only speaks, but I become the one who listens and receives, just like Mary, Martha’s sister had. That is why the Queen of Peace invites us to open ourselves as the flower opens to the sun. What does the flower do? Nothing. The sun works, and the change occurs on the flower. The prayer with the heart is the prayer of awakened heart, awakened love, awakened gratitude, awakened trust and confidence. The heart is new when there are no longer burdens from the past within it and when it is not burdened with the anxiousness for the future. The Queen of Peace is teaching us to unburden ourselves in the sacrament of the reconciliation, in the Holy Eucharist and in forgiveness. When we are freed from the chains of the past, from slavery to evil She can teach us to pray for love towards the persons that we do not love, for only love can heal wounded heart and restore peace within it. That is how everything around us will become different, better, beautiful and new”, said Medjugorje parish priest.