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.

June 29, 2006

For Friday of the Twelfth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Matthew 8:1-4

When Jesus healed someone from bodily suffering, he often stretched out his hands to touch the body of the one who was suffering.
Just as often, he spoke words of healing in the form of a command.
Today in his Gospel, the Lord speaks such words to a leper, commanding him, “Be made clean!”
Such words from the Son of God have a power that goes beyond deliverance from bodily suffering.
Such words from the mouth of God are also the door to salvation from SIN.
Because of this, Jesus often worked healings of the BODY by saying, “your SINS are forgiven you,” or, “your FAITH has saved you.”
In the case of the leper today, Jesus does not openly mention sin.
Instead, after he cures the man, Jesus tells him to go to the priest and present the offering the Law requires for persons cleansed of leprosy.
The Law commanded that two sacrificial offerings be made: one was a sacrifice of thanksgiving, of worship; and the other was a sacrifice to ATONE for SIN.
So we see that in commanding the leper, “Be made clean”, Jesus is not only delivering him from a disease of the body; he is also pronouncing upon him salvation from SIN.
The man was suffering from the double leprosy of SKIN and of SIN.
We see him kneel before Jesus, and say, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.”
Today at this altar, we also kneel before the Lord to ask for healing and salvation.
Today before the Lord at his altar we shall cry out, “Only say the word, Lord, and I will be healed!”
Then he will reach for us in his Blessed Sacrament to touch us with his Body and his Blood, fulfilling what the prophet Isaiah said, “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.”
He is the Lamb of God who takes upon himself the sins of the world.
Furthermore, he himself makes the offering prescribed by the Law of Moses.
He offers HIMSELF up, in place of us, as a sacrifice of THANKSGIVING— thanksgiving being the literal meaning of “Eucharist” … and he offers himself up, in place of us, as a sacrifice to atone for OUR sins.
In the Holy Spirit of Eucharistic communion, we join Christ in the atonement and gratitude he offers to the Father.
Today and always the Lord shows us his goodness.
Gratitude will save us from hardness of heart.
Let us worship the God who made us, and come before him giving thanks.

That God Be Glorified in All


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