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 20, 2006

For Wednesday of the Eleventh Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Matthew 6:1-6,16-18

How are Christians to live?
We live, grow and are renewed, we become righteous, holy and perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect through self-denial and sacrifice, through works of generosity and charity towards others, and through worship and prayer to God our Father.
Furthermore, the Lord teaches that all of this— fasting, almsgiving, and personal prayer— all of this is to be utterly secret and invisible to those around us.
He tells us to hide these things, going into our own rooms, shutting the door, not even letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing.
We are to conceal these good works even from our own attention.
It is because only God knows how to see them, how to evaluate, judge and reward our justice, righteousness, holiness and perfection.
One of the Psalms puts it this way.
From God judgment comes forth.
His eyes discern the truth.
He searches our hearts,
he visits us by night.
He tests us to find in us wrong or right.

Only God knows.
Not one of us may presume to know how to evaluate his own or anyone else’s justice or righteousness, holiness or perfection.
That is why the Lord insists we not even let our own left hands know what our own right hands are doing.
Through real acts of self-denial and sacrifice, real acts of charity and giving to our neighbors, real acts of worship and prayer, we become and renew what we were created, invited, enabled and commanded to be: sons and daughters of God.
God created us and everything out of NOTHING.
It is a mystery that God the Almighty and Absolute now freely offers to adopt us as his very own children.
It is exactly this utterly undeserved mystery before which we worship right now.
It is exactly this utterly undeserved mystery around which we are to build lives of gratitude and grace.
As always in his liturgy, the Lord himself provides both the meaning and the substance of his own Gospel.
Here in his Eucharist, the Lord himself denies and sacrifices himself.
Here in his Eucharist, the Lord himself offers us an infinitely charitable almsgiving whose worth we cannot even begin to measure.
Here in the Eucharist, Christ offers himself to the Father in a sacrifice of intercessory prayer and grateful worship whose purity, truth and totality we are likewise unable to measure.
The Father alone is capable of measuring, fully evaluating, fully appreciating and judging the justice, perfection and holiness that lie beneath this food and drink.
This is the immeasurable reward that our all-seeing Father gives to our penances, our charities, our prayer and worship.

That God Be Glorified in All


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