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 08, 2006

For Palm Sunday of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Mark 14-15

Today in his Gospel our Lord has us witness again his suffering and death on the cross.
So, this whole past week at daily Mass, the prayer called the “preface” has made special mention of the suffering and death of Christ on the cross.
Father … we do well … to give you thanks.
The suffering and death of your Son
brought life to the whole world,
moving our hearts to praise your glory.
The power of the cross reveals your judgment on this world
and the kingship of Christ crucified.

In that prayer, we thank the Father that the suffering and death of Christ bring life to the world, and show God’s glory and the kingship of Christ.
However, suffering and death challenge and oppose life.
So, it is a paradox to speak of glory, majesty and kingship coming from suffering and death.
Furthermore, our faith and our prayer acclaim the suffering and death of one who is GOD.
God’s suffering and death on the cross go far beyond all other paradoxes.
How may we find life, glory, majesty and kingship on the cross, and how may we have that glory, majesty and kingship in our own lives where we suffer and die?
We must pay attention to our Lord’s teaching.
If you remain in my word,
you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
every one who commits sin is a slave of sin. [Jn. 8:31,32,34]

Our Lord sets truth and freedom against sin and slavery.
He tells us that truth will make us free.
There is no freedom without the truth.
Without the truth there is sin and slavery.
How is that?
Was Christ free when Pilate handed him over to death, when soldiers pounded nails through his body, and when he sagged from those nails on the cross?
We might give the easy answer, and say that he was going to rise from the dead anyway.
However, that answer ignores the real truth and the real freedom that are revealed and present on the cross itself.
God is love— but Love absolutely free of self-concern.
Love that gives everything away!
Love that does not need anyone to give love back!
God himself began to live as a man two thousand years ago.
So, two thousand years ago human flesh and blood, a human mind and heart, began to be the sign, the place and the event of God’s love giving itself away in person.
Jesus Christ is God.
His suffering and death are the majestic mystery of the infinitely loving God freely giving himself up and giving himself away in person in human flesh and blood.
In this world, you cannot ask more of love than that; and God’s love in this world would not do anything less than that.
The cross already shows and gives to the world God’s Truth, God’s Freedom and God’s Love.
In the flesh and blood of Christ, the world of flesh and blood is set free from slavery, sin, suffering and death by being raised from the dead, swollen with all the majesty, power and presence of God’s Holy Spirit of Truth and Freedom and Love.
The truth is that we human beings are made for happiness and freedom in knowing and loving God, and in loving as God loves.
God wants to swell every fiber of our being, our heart, our soul, our mind and our strength.
He wants to swell every fiber of our being with his Spirit of Truth and Freedom and Love.
He gives us the Spirit of Truth, Freedom and Love in the same flesh and blood that received birth in Bethlehem, death outside Jerusalem and everlasting resurrection in a garden.
That is why he says to us in his Gospel:
If you remain in my word,
you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free. [Jn. 8:31,32]

Scripture tells us:
God our savior … wills everyone to be saved
and to come to knowledge of the truth.
For there is one God.
There is also one mediator between God and men
… Christ Jesus who gave himself as ransom for all. [1 Tim. 2:4 6]

Now comes our ransom … in person … in real flesh and blood … in the Eucharist.

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THE PREFACE OF THE MASS OF PASSION SUNDAY [The preface "sets the tone" for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.]

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give him thanks and praise.

Father, all powerful and everliving God,
we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Though he was sinless,
he suffered willingly for sinners.
Though innocent,
he accepted death to save the guilty.
By his dying he has destroyed our sins.
By his rising he has raised us up to holiness of life.


We praise you, Lord, with all the angels in their song of joy:
Holy, holy, holy ...

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







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