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 09, 2006

For Saturday of the Ninth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Mark 12:38-44

Today in his Gospel, the Lord goes so far as to speak of “very severe condemnation” for the scribes— lawyers of religion— who show off their lengthy prayers and clothes, seeking public recognition, honor, respect and prestige, all the while making a dishonorable profit from the misfortunes of impoverished widows.
Then, as he sits down inside the Temple compound, where he can see the collection box, he notices the large sums of money the wealthy are leaving in the collection.
These wealthy persons are giving out of their surplus.
The Lord does not call that a bad thing.
It is good to put one’s material surplus at the service of a good cause.
But then the Lord notices and calls to our attention a poor widow who has dropped in just two small copper coins.
Hers is a materially small and materially insignificant contribution.
I believe you can’t buy anything today for two copper pennies.
In the Lord’s day, perhaps two pennies could buy enough to keep starvation away for just one more day.
In any case, the poor widow’s pennies win the Lord’s admiration.
He proclaims simply that “she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole LIVELIHOOD.”
Her whole LIFE!
She is a heroine in the eyes of our Lord.
Surely she is with him this day in Paradise where she is still “giving it her all,” still putting in everything she has and is, her whole life, in God’s holy dwelling place.
Whose good does it serve for her and all the saints to spend themselves in heaven?
It serves God’s glory and participates in the Lord’s work of salvation— our salvation.
After all, the saints in heaven and we on earth are his Body, the instruments, the means, the place of his work among men.
Here in the Blessed Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood, we receive the Son of God who has himself received everything that the Father has.
Here under the mere appearances of a bread-wafer and a sip of wine— PERHAPS TWO CENTS’ WORTH— under these skimpy and mere appearances the eternal Father donates EVERYTHING: his beloved Son, in whom he is well pleased.
It is not out of poverty that God gives to us.
Rather, in the Son, God in all fullness lives.
Once he died, but is risen and remains— glorified— even in the present poverty of our human life and death.
He, in his risen body, is himself the promise, the beginning and the real presence of our future glory.
St. Paul tells the Colossians:
In him the whole fullness of deity dwells BODILY,
and you have come to fullness of life in him.

That God Be Glorified in All


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