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 21, 2006

For Thursday of the Eleventh Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Matthew 6:7-15

On several occasions in the Lord’s Gospel, we witness him praying to the Father.
We have heard him say, “Father, I know that you always hear me” [Jn. 11:42].
By teaching us how to pray, Christ has us enter his own life of prayer and his spirit of prayer.
He stands with us and for us in the presence of the Father, saying now for us and with us, “Father, WE know that you always hear us.”
The Eucharist is Christ’s prayer, his intercession and his priestly mediation for us before the Father.
In the Eucharist we also have the Father’s ready ear and his willing answer to Christ’s prayer for us.
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name!

In the Eucharist, Christ hallows our Father’s name ON OUR BEHALF by offering his perfect thanksgiving sacrifice of himself to the Father ON OUR BEHALF.
Thy kingdom come!
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven!

In the Eucharist, Christ bows before his Father the King of heaven and earth—again, on our behalf, in our name.
It is the will of Christ and the will of the Father that the Father himself should find, receive and embrace us, but also judge us in the obedience of his Son.
Give us this day our daily bread!

Christ has told us, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work” [Jn. 4:34].
What is the will of the Father that Christ obediently consumes on our behalf in the Eucharist?
It is twofold.
First, Christ in his Eucharist gives grateful, loving glory and worship to the Father on our behalf by the sacrificial offering of himself.
Second, Christ in his Eucharist saves us from sin, destruction and death; and he receives us into his own holiness, integrity and life in the eyes of the Father.
Again, he does this by the sacrificial offering of himself on our behalf.
He took our sin, destruction and death upon himself.
What is the Father’s work that becomes Christ’s eternal food in the Eucharist?
The Father’s work is to raise us up in the raising of his Son from the dead.
The Resurrection is the food that Christ has received from the Father in our name, on our behalf.
forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us!

Christ does not divorce himself from us as we pray for forgiveness.
Though he is sinless, he still joins his voice to ours in saying “forgive us OUR sins.”
He has taken the guilt of our sins upon himself.
This, too, he continues to ask from the Father in his Eucharist.
There also in his Eucharist, he sends the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins: both the forgiveness of our own sins, as well as the forgiveness we are to extend to those who sin against us.
lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil!

This, too, is the prayer of Christ— one that was painfully close to his heart, for he, too, suffered temptation.
What was that temptation?
It was the FUNDAMENTAL temptation, the one that afflicted Adam, Eve and all their descendants.
It was the temptation to reject the sovereignty of the Father’s will.
However, in Christ this temptation was twofold: not only to abandon the Father, but also to abandon us.
Christ persevered against this temptation, but paid an infinitely bitter price for his fidelity: on the cross he willingly suffered the absence of his Father, and willingly accepted to be abandoned by the disciples whom he loved.
Here again in his Eucharist, he takes to himself that abandonment and absence, and gives us in return gifts that we can never deserve: the glory of his own presence, his own person, his Spirit, his Father and their eternal promise of themselves.
This is his Eucharist with which he feeds us; and it is the prayer by which he gives us every reason to hope.
In his Blessed Sacrament and his Lordly Prayer, we have the precepts of our Savior and the command of our God, prompting us to dare call God, “OUR Father.”

That God Be Glorified in All


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