One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

March 29, 2006

For Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent

John 5:31-47
Exodus 32:7-14

At the foot of Mount Sinai, the Lord God’s own people turned away from him to worship gold bullion they had shaped into a bull.
Today in the Gospel of John, we see that the leaders of the people have turned away from Christ the Lord.
On Sinai, God spoke of his blazing wrath as he accused the people of rejecting their own glory, their own salvation, their own God— the true and only God.
Moses, the mediator, then interceded for the people before the Lord, pleading for his mercy.
In the Gospel, however, Christ tells us that now Moses himself will be the accuser against those who reject Christ whom the Father has sent.
God had sent Moses, too, as his messenger and representative to the people of Israel.
Moses did double, two-way service, because he was also the people’s advocate before the Lord.
Moses mediated, that is, he stood in the middle between God and the people.
Moses, however, was merely a man.
Christ, on the other hand, is both truly God and truly man— a literal, real, actual, substantial, perfect mediator between the human and the divine.
Moses has now stepped aside from his mediating role.
It is now Christ who intercedes for us before the heavenly Father.
Christ is Intercession— in PERSON, FLESH and BLOOD.
Today is Thursday.
Two weeks from today, we will commemorate that most holy of Thursdays on which Christ, who is Intercession in person, flesh and blood, prayed to the Father for us in these words: FOR THEIR SAKE I CONSECRATE MYSELF, THAT THEY ALSO MAY BE CONSECRATED IN TRUTH.
Christ wants and means to be our intercession before the Father.
We need intercession because of sin.
Before the first sin, in Paradise, we enjoyed God face-to-face, eye-to-eye, heart-to-heart.
After the first sin of our race, God did not wipe us out.
He took away Paradise, telling us, however, that eventually a member of our own race, a mediator, would crush at the head both the deadly liar and the deadly lie that led us into sin.
Against the FALSEHOOD of Satan and the FALSEHOOD of our sins, Christ our representative consecrates us in the TRUTH by consecrating himself— by offering himself up to the Father in our name.
After the falsehood of original sin, we lost Paradise and began to able to die, but God did not wipe us out.
However, later at Sinai, God was going to wipe out his chosen people for their sin.
“But Moses, the man he had chosen, stood in the breach before him, to turn back his anger from destruction.” [Ps. 105:23]
If it had not been for the goodness of Moses the “go-between,” the MEDIATOR, the people of God would have died— not just banished, but wiped out.
Now in Christ, we have something and someone greater than Moses.
Christ does not merely stand between God and humanity.
Christ IS God, and at the same time he IS humanity.
On behalf of God, and as God, Christ is the sign of God’s freedom, authority and power over human existence.
On behalf of humanity, Christ is also the sign and the real beginning of our own human access to God’s own life that God himself freely offers to us.
Christ is God who has come into the human race.
At the same time, Christ is the human race already returned to God.
In Christ, we have more than Adam and Eve ever knew or enjoyed.
Through Christ, we have a greater freedom than the Hebrews who escaped Egypt.
Yet, just like Adam, Eve and the Hebrews, we are not the definers or makers of that freedom.
God remains God, and we, though we are God’s children and friends, we remain his creations.
Again, on that holiest of Thursdays, Christ said:

You are my friends if you do what I command you….
You did not choose me,
but I chose you….

So, we, too, are a chosen people.
Like the original chosen people, we, too, have a mediator— but one infinitely greater than Moses at Sinai.
We greet Christ our mediator— both our brother and our GOD.
Even now he eagerly comes to meet us at the altar, where he consecrates himself— sets himself apart— both for the Father and for us.
As at the Last Supper and on the Cross, he consecrates himself in person, in divinity and humanity, in flesh and blood.
He consecrates himself in the truth that we are for God and God is for us.

That God Be Glorified in All


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