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.

May 24, 2006

For Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter

[I am in a diocese where the Ascension is not observed today, but on the coming Sunday.]

John 16:16-20

In this Gospel, Jesus is speaking at his Last Supper before his death.
A little while and you will NO longer see me,
and again a little while and you WILL see me

The “little while” that they were not to see him was between his death and resurrection.
He counts BOTH his death and his resurrection as “going to the Father.”
Mysteriously, he sees his horrendous death as a triumph, not a defeat.
It is not that his resurrection alone is a triumph that overturns the defeat of death.
His death itself is a triumph of his love for his Father’s glory and for our authentic, eternal welfare.
We celebrate this Gospel today not only for the meaning it gives to Christ’s death.
We celebrate this Gospel today for the meaning it gives also to his departure by way of ascension.
Forty days after his resurrection, “he ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty.”
We have not seen him for most of two-thousand years.
That is not “a little while” as he says in his Gospel today.
However, we still look for him to “come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.”
As we wait, he encourages us in his Gospel today.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will weep and mourn,
while the world rejoices;
you will grieve,
but your grief will become joy.

He first spoke this Gospel at his Last Supper when he first gave his Body and Blood to his Church.
We are here now to receive him in his Body and Blood.
His Eucharist is Viaticum for all of us— accompanying us all the while as we wait for him to return.
As we celebrate his Eucharist, we do well always to recall that he ascended into heaven, and that he will come again.
There is a taste of triumph for us in his Eucharist, because although he has gone to the Father, he is nonetheless here with us, letting us eat and drink the home that he already claims for us at the right hand of the Father.
If we exercise our faith, we know this is what we really want.

That God Be Glorified in All


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