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 29, 2006

For the Third Sunday of Easter

Luke 24:35-48
Acts 3:13-15,17,19
1 John 2:1-5a

Today in the Gospel, it is still Easter Sunday.
Christ, in the newness of his resurrection, presents himself for the first time at a gathering of his apostles.
The first thing he wants is to give them peace.
He stands in their midst and says to them,
PEACE be with you.

Then he begins to unfold for them what peace is.
First, he tells them to touch and feel his real flesh and solid bones.
He also asks for and eats real food in front of their eyes.
He takes it in his hands.
He bites it.
He chews it.
He swallows it.
The peace that the Lord God newly risen in flesh and blood wants to unfold for his apostles is first of all peace between God and the human body.
That may sound odd, until we recall that in the beginning God himself took earth, and from it he formed the physical human body FIRST— and THEN he BREATHED into it spiritual, personal life.
The body is innocent, having come from the hands of God.
It was the WILL— the spirit of the human person— even though it comes from the breath of God—it was the free, human, spiritual WILL that later chose, and sinned, and corrupted.
The Risen Christ is PEACE in human flesh and blood— that is, God both giving and being: unbroken and unbreakable WELCOME, COMMUNION and BLESSING upon the human body.
The second unfolding of peace that the newly risen Christ gives to his assembled apostolic Church is peace for the human spirit.
Go in my name into all the world, and preach repentance— a new mindset, new behavior, a new outlook— preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Just as sin was the beginning of bodily death in human history, so the forgiveness of sins is the beginning of new life for the human spirit and human history.
Christ— the Resurrection and the Life— sends his apostolic Church to preach REPENTANCE— a new mindset, new behavior, a new outlook— REPENTANCE for the forgiveness of sins.
The first and second readings before the Gospel today make that apostolic preaching present.
The First Letter of the Apostle St. John and the Book of the Acts of the Apostles both obey the Gospel of the Risen Lord today, and preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins
If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only, but for those of the whole world. [1 Jn. 2]

Change your minds, therefore, and turn, that your sins may be wiped away. [Acts 3]

The Resurrection of Christ in flesh and blood is peace for both the human body and human spirit.
It seems, on the one hand, that the welcome and communion and blessing of PEACE that God gives the human body in the flesh and blood of the risen Christ is as concrete as our bones and as simple as eating a piece of cooked fish.
On the other hand, the peace that the flesh and blood resurrection of Christ our God gives to our human spirits is not as simple.
It needs more unfolding:
repentance— that is, a new mindset, new behavior, a new outlook— repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Yes, God risen in flesh and blood freely offers the peace of forgiveness to our spirits that have chosen to sin.
Yet, our spirits do not begin to touch the bones of forgiveness or begin to eat the food of forgiveness until we repent.
That is what he tells his apostles today.
Go in my name into all the world, and preach repentance— a new mindset, new behavior, a new outlook— preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

That is what his apostles taught and wrote for us.
If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins. [1 Jn. 2]

Change your minds, therefore, and turn, that your sins may be wiped away. [Acts 3]

We have the same unfolding of peace, and the same order of unfolding in the Eucharist of the Risen Christ— flesh and blood first, and then from those: the forgiveness of sins.
Take this, all of you; eat and drink my body and my blood given up and shed for you so that sins may be forgiven.

Today in his Gospel, in his Resurrection and in his Eucharist, Christ unfolds peace for us.
PEACE— welcome, communion, blessing— for our entire human nature: body and spirit.
God loves ALL of us— and God loves our ALL.
His love, his peace, his welcome, his communion, his blessing, his forgiveness— these are also a vocation of highest dignity.
Repent— change your minds, your behavior, your outlook— that your sins may be wiped away.

May God grant that we, who are nourished by the body and blood of Christ, may be filled with his Holy Spirit, and become one body, one spirit in Christ.
Peace be with you!

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[The Easter season has several prefaces. The first one must be used from the Vigil Mass on Easter Saturday through the Second Sunday of Easter. After that, any of the prefaces of Easter may be used. Here is the third one.]

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We praise you with greater joy than ever in this Easter season, when Christ became our paschal sacrifice. He is still our priest, our advocate who always pleads our cause. Christ is the victim who dies no more, the Lamb, once slain, who lives for ever. The joy of the resurrection renews the whole world, while the choirs of heaven sing for ever to your glory: Holy, holy, holy....

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







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