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 28, 2006

For Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

John 17:1-11

As we worship God who saves us by the Gospel and the Eucharist, we are present during those few days between the ascent of Christ into heaven and the Spirit-powered, public descent of the apostolic Church from the upper room.
What do we see during those days?
Obeying Christ, the apostles returned to that upper room where the Eucharist was born.
There they chose to await the Spirit-Promise of the Father, as Christ had told them.
In the same room where the Eucharist was born, the apostles with one accord devoted themselves to prayer together with Mary from whom Christ was born.
At some point during those days of prayer awaiting the promised Spirit of the Father, St. Peter told the gathered disciples, about 120, to seek a successor for Judas as an apostle.
St. Peter told them the new apostle would have to have been with them as a witness from the day of the Baptism of Christ right through the resurrection and the day of the Ascent of Christ.
St. Matthias was revealed as the new apostle.
Now as an apostle, St. Matthias continued with the others to pray in waiting for the promised Spirit of the Father.
These few days in which Christ’s apostolic Church awaits its public Christening and public commissioning in the power of the Spirit— these days before Pentecost witness already the great foundations of the Church’s holy mission.
Days of prayer in the birth-room of the Eucharist!
Days of prayer with Mary the mother of Christ and his disciples!
Days of prayer with Mary, the first person on earth to receive Christ, offering herself as a servant in submission the word of the Lord!
Days of prayer with Mary who told servants to do whatever Christ told them to do!
Days of prayer in which we see the active headship of St. Peter and the first historical instance of apostolic succession!
Days of prayer waiting to receive public commission in the Holy Spirit— and to receive it in the same room where they first received the Eucharist!
The Eucharist Christ Gave the Apostles— Prayer, Obedience and Service as Mary Prayed, Obeyed and Served— Testimony to the Resurrection— the Traditions of the Apostles: all of these are the foundations for the Church’s mission to be empowered by the Spirit and sent into the world to call the world to worship and salvation in Christ.
We might do well to call these few days the first “retreat” in the history of the Church.
Days in which the saints first gathered with Mary to learn from her how to receive the Spirit of Power that had already shaded her in Nazareth!
Days inside the upper room, the first “church,” birthplace of the Eucharist!
Today in the Gospel, we hear the prayer that Christ himself offered on the same night and in the same room where he first gave the Eucharist to his apostles.
In the Gospel,
in the prayer of Christ himself,
in his Eucharist,
here in this church,
here at this altar where the birth of the Eucharist is daily present,
here where we learn to listen and pray with Mary, the apostles and the saints,
here where with the apostles we testify to the resurrection:
here in this place—
even this very hour—
the Spirit gives us the power and the mission to live lives that glorify God and announce the peace of salvation to the world.
If we hold ourselves accountable to receive, learn and practice what these few days first gave to the Church, then we may say to Christ at his return what he himself says today in his Gospel to his Father.
I glorified you on earth
by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do.

Then we will give Christ the pleasure of fulfilling for us the blessing he foretold in a parable.
Well-done, good and faithful servant!
Enter into the joy of your Lord!

That God Be Glorified in All


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