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.

July 07, 2006

For Saturday of the Thirteenth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Matthew 9:14-17

The Lord’s answer about fasting today contains a personal claim whose implications and depths his listeners were not ready to grasp.
Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast.

That is a strange answer.
We can be sure the Lord’s questioners did not completely understand it.
In his answer, the Lord has implied:
I am the one in whose presence there shall be no fasting.
Since I am now here I am cause for rejoicing.
I am the Bridegroom.

As both God and man, Christ is the Bridegroom, the marriage between heaven and earth, between God and humanity.
He is the long-awaited, supreme wedding gift God makes of himself to Israel and to the whole world.
After the thousands of years of waiting that lasted right up to John the Baptist, Christ is the New Garment of New Cloth that will not serve as a mere patch for the old.
After the long centuries of Israel’s yearning for salvation, Christ arrives as the New Wine not to be poured into the old wineskin.
The old wineskin had room for ISRAEL ALONE.
The New Wine, by contrast, is for the WHOLE WORLD.
God in Christ calls the whole world to Baptism, into the Church, his Bride.
Because of Baptism, the Lord’s own Passing-Over from death to life is realized and fulfilled within his Bridal Church as a whole and in each of us its members.
Just as Eve the first bride was drawn from the side of Adam the first groom, so the Church comes from the Body and Blood of Christ as his redeemed and resurrected bride.
In Christ, God and humanity are joined in mutual knowledge with one Spirit, and one body, one flesh, one blood.
On his cross and in his Eucharist, Christ gives his flesh, blood and Spirit so completely, so unreservedly that something entirely new begins to be and begins to live: the Church as Christ’s Living Body and Blood.
Christ has given himself so completely that Christ recognizes himself in the Church, which is his own body.
When the Eucharist is offered to us, the “Amen” we proclaim is faith’s recognition of Christ’s real presence.
“Amen” is also a cry of hope that Christ may discover himself in us, both now and on that blessed day when he returns in glory.

That God Be Glorified in All


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