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 17, 2006

For Tuesday of the Fifteenth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Matthew 11:20-24

If we are attentive as our Lord comes to us each day in his Gospel, we notice he says things we might prefer to avoid discussing or acknowledging.
Today is one of those days.
Today in his Gospel our Lord compares two groups of towns.
One group— consisting of the towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum— is in Galilee, a territory whose people believe in the one, true God.
The other towns are in pagan territory.
These are the towns of Tyre, Sidon and the infamous Sodom.
The Galilean towns had the benefit of faith in the true God.
The Lord did most of his mighty works in these towns.
He gave sight to the blind of these towns.
He made their lame citizens walk again.
He cleansed their lepers of disease.
There he gave hearing to the deaf.
He raised up their dead.
He preached good news to the poor of these towns.
The Lord did all these mighty works in these towns whose people had the true faith.
As he speaks today, we realize that he expected repentance out of these people.
When Lord works his wonders and announces his good news, he expects people of faith to repent.
Since they do not, he says today:
Woe to you…
…on the day of judgment….
Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the nether world.

We are people of faith, even the true faith, and it is not a pleasure to hear this or talk of it.
Our Lord says of pagan and sinful cities that had they seen his mighty works, they would have repented in sackcloth and ashes.
Even infamous Sodom would have survived.
He tells us that the day of judgment will go better for PENITENT PAGANS than for UNrepentant BELIEVERS.
There will be condemnation for unrepentant BELIEVERS— but it will go easier for pagans who repent.
We don’t ordinarily speak much of judgment day, hell and damnation.
Some may even go so far as to dismiss these realities.
However, if we are going to face our Lord and his Gospel with any honesty, we must acknowledge what he says of these realities today and throughout his Gospel.
We are his believers, and daily we hear his good news.
Daily we see his mighty work, the Eucharist, wherein his flesh and blood are our food and drink.
The Gospel and the Eucharist are the mighty words and mighty works of the Lord.
We are believers, and we acknowledge these words and works to be true.
Our Lord does these things for us today and everyday.
Then let us also acknowledge his expectation that people of true faith are also to be people of repentance.
Soon this hour, standing before the Lord in his Flesh and Blood, we shall echo words from a pagan Roman in the Gospel:
I am not worthy to receive you,,
but only say the word,
and I shall be healed.

That God Be Glorified in All


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