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.

April 30, 2006

For Monday of the Third Week of Easter and for the Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker

For Monday of the Third Week of Easter
John 6:22-29

Faith in Christ— the Son on whom God the Father has set his seal— faith in Christ is the work that gains the “food that endures for eternal life”.
The word he uses for “life” is not merely biological [βιος], but eternal [ζωη].
In this entire chapter of his Gospel, Christ is making claims about himself as DIVINE, about his DIVINE personal identity, about his DIVINE origin— but also about his REAL human body and his REAL human blood.
Without apology, he says his body and blood are REAL food and REAL drink that give ETERNAL life.
If we want to receive eternal life in the Eucharist, it’s not going to happen just because we step forward, take and swallow it.
The Eucharist feeds you for eternal life— of that, there is no doubt.
However, it is not magic.
It does nothing for you if you yourself do no work.
What is the WORK?
The crowd today asked exactly that question.
Jesus said to them,
“Do not WORK
for food that perishes
but for food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you.
For on him the Father—
has set his seal.”

They asked him,
“What can we do to accomplish the WORKS
of God?”

He answered and said to them,
“This is the WORK
of God,

Faith that the heavenly Father has sent his divine Son to us in flesh and blood— THAT faith is the WORK that gains eternal life from eating and drinking the real flesh and real blood of Christ.
That is why the Church does not offer the Eucharist to those who do not have the Church’s faith.
Otherwise, the skinny “wafer” will do no more for you than any other kind of earthly wafer— and it won’t even begin to fill your belly.
The New Testament in Christ [Jm. 2:24,26] tells us:
A man is justified by WORKS
and NOT by faith ALONE.
For as the body apart from the spirit is dead,
so FAITH apart from WORKS is DEAD.

Do our lives WORK?
Do our lives reflect our faith?
If not, we are dead, and it is pointless to be here today.
If we want to live, then let us be here today, and receive Christ in his Eucharist, but go out from here choosing to live and work the faith.

- - - -

For the Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker
Matthew 13:54-58
Colossians 3:14-15,17,23-24
Is he not the carpenter’s son?

Joseph’s family is that of King David from the town of Bethlehem where Christ was born.
In the Gospel, only two men are called “Son of David”: Christ and St. Joseph.
The first time God sent an angel to St. Joseph, the angel of God called Joseph, “son of David.”
The name of Joseph’s own biological father was Jacob.
“Joseph son of Jacob.”
However, God sent his angel to call Joseph “son of David,” rather than “son of Jacob.”
The Son of God himself shares on earth the title “Son of David” only with Joseph, the carpenter who lives and works in Nazareth.
Everything the Gospel tells us about St. Joseph is wrapped up in obedient service to the mission of the Son of God.
St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians enjoins on us what St. Joseph’s silent obedience fulfilled:
whatever you do
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus
be slaves of the Lord Christ

Joseph Son of David from Bethlehem is a carpenter who does everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Obedient as a slave to the mission of the Lord Christ, Joseph offers his service to the un-neighborly and small-hearted people of Nazareth.
In this way, St. Joseph the worker foreshadows the work of Christ himself.
Joseph is a son of David.
Christ is a son of David.
Joseph is a carpenter whose ancestral home is Bethlehem, a name meaning “house of bread.”
Christ was born in that place, the “House of Bread.”
He was born to be the “Bread of Life from Heaven.”
Yet as a human child, his life depended on bread earned by the work of St. Joseph.
Just like Joseph the carpenter who worked for the un-neighborly and small-hearted, Christ himself, the Bread of Life, serves the un-neighborly and small-hearted, not only in Nazareth like St. Joseph, but in all the towns of the world … even here … for us … right now.
As we eat and drink Christ the Son of God, we eat and drink the One who lived and grew and flourished on earth not only on the bread earned by the work of St. Joseph, but also on the love and example of St. Joseph.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph— pray for us!

That God Be Glorified in All


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