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 30, 2006

For the Seventeenth Ordinary Sunday of the Church Year

John 6:1-15

Today our risen Lord comes to begin a high chapter in his teaching: the great news of his Eucharistic Flesh and Blood.
Today at Mass, and for several more Sundays, our Lord comes to give us a Eucharistic Gospel even as we celebrate, worship and receive him in his Eucharistic Flesh and Blood
Today in his Gospel, a crowd follows him because of the miracles he has done for those in need.
On another occasion, at a wedding feast in Cana, we witnessed human need and Christ’s answer, his first public miracle.
At that banquet, we saw the bride and groom who had TOO LITTLE, and to whom God then gave TOO MUCH.
First there was NO MORE wine, and then— when it was almost too late— there was far TOO MUCH wine— and the BEST of wine at that.
Today in the Gospel, there is a crowd of five thousand, but with ONLY five loaves of bread and two fish— FAR TOO LITTLE to feed them all.
The Lord, however, gives them not only enough to eat, but TOO MUCH: afterwards there are twelve baskets of leftovers.
A sign from God— a sign about God!
Christ our God wants to fill our emptiness, to satisfy our needs.
However, what he gives goes FAR BEYOND the mere filling of our needs.
It goes FAR BEYOND the mere healing of our emptiness.
Here in the Eucharist, Christ our God breaks his body, pours out his blood, and gives away his very self for us as food and drink.
Giving us HIMSELF, he gives MORE than we need— and not only what is good, but what is the absolute BEST, the HOLIEST.
This is a challenge.
In the end, we receive what we need, we are healed, fulfilled and saved by receiving and participating in God GIVING HIMSELF AWAY.
So … healing and fulfillment that are not open to self-abandonment and self-sacrifice are not complete.
Instead, healing and fulfillment that are not open to self-abandonment and self-sacrifice end up sterile, self-centered, lonely— and even more deeply and mortally wounded.
As the sons and daughters of God, we are made to be like God and to love like God.
We are free, and it is in our nature— as God made us— to pour ourselves out like God, giving ourselves up, giving ourselves away.
We must not stop at our own healing and fulfillment.
We must pass beyond that into the TOO MUCH of God:
giving away what we are,
giving ourselves away for the service of others,
and giving ourselves away in the worship of God,
believing, hoping in and desiring nothing else at all
if it does not include becoming like God in self-abandonment, self-surrender, self-sacrifice.
That is love.
When we are willing to risk setting aside everything that we have and are, then our eyes, our minds and our hearts begin to gradually widen to see, know, experience and BE LIKE GOD— more deeply, more truly.
What is the good news in all of this?
It is that whether or not we are ready for all this— whether or not we are ready to begin going beyond our personal healing and personal fulfillment— God still gives himself away.
HE IS for us and for our salvation from the very beginning.
He gives TOO MUCH, for he is God.
The Eucharist we offer and receive is God in Christ sacrificing himself, giving himself up, giving himself away: for US and to US— at no final cost to our selves.
We must come empty handed and holding onto nothing.
That is our salvation.
We are free to accept and free to refuse.
Yet, whenever we offer and receive his Eucharist, Christ invites us to JOIN him in making DIVINE self-sacrifice.
We are to JOIN Christ in his act of self-sacrifice.
To become like God in self-sacrifice and self-abandoning— that also is our salvation.
We promise to do that whenever we dare to celebrate, offer and receive Christ in his Eucharist.
Today at this Eucharistic Sacrifice, even if we end up promising LESS than we can, or giving LESS than we promise, God in his Eucharist will still give us TOO MUCH.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







3 Comments:

Blogger Jeanne said...

giving away what we are,
giving ourselves away for the service of others,
and giving ourselves away in the worship of God,
believing, hoping in and desiring nothing else at all
if it does not include becoming like God in self-abandonment, self-surrender, self-sacrifice.
Could you give a source for this quote? I was interested in reading more. Thank You

12:43 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

I wrote that.

Now that you have asked about that passage, I've looked at it again, and I see that I formatted it as a quote.

I have now corrected the format so that the passage no longer appears as a quote.

4:46 PM  
Anonymous jorgens6 said...

Thanks for the clarification.
Thanks also for the work on this blog..

10:38 PM  

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