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 12, 2006

For Wednesday of the Fourteenth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

[I am away until Thursday, and am posting these homilies ahead of time.]

Matthew 10:1-7

The Gospel closes today with an announcement that could serve as another title for the Son of God in human flesh:
The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Christ is the flesh and blood nearness— the flesh and blood presence— of the kingdom of heaven.
In him we recognize God our King in the fullness of his power and Spirit.
Today in his Gospel, when Christ calls and commissions the twelve apostles he gives them a two-sided task.
First, he gives them authority over unclean spirits to cast them out and to heal every disease and infirmity.
Second, as the twelve go out on their mission Christ tells them to proclaim the message, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
By announcing the nearness of the kingdom, the apostles were announcing the presence of Christ Jesus himself.
The authority the apostles received to cast out unclean spirits and to heal sickness and disease was the authority of Christ himself— Christ the Incarnate Son of God.
It is a paradox that he who is God became a man also.
It is a further paradox that he who is almighty chose to have men carry out together with him the work of saving the world.
He was God from all eternity.
He was outside space and time.
However, to save us he did not “sprinkle” salvation down from above.
Instead, he himself entered space and time by becoming a man of flesh and blood like us.
He worked our salvation from WITHIN our human existence, from WITHIN our human nature and IN a human body of human flesh and blood.
In doing so, he made us all into flesh and blood associates in his own work of saving us.
He went so far as to work our salvation from “within” the reality of human death— his own death as a man.
By doing so, even death was called by Christ and turned into a “collaborator” in the work of salvation.
By dying and then rising from the dead, Christ has forced death to become the messenger, the forerunner, the emissary, the announcer, the apostle of the coming kingdom of the resurrection.
Nothing, now, nothing in human experience and human existence, nothing in human activity or human endeavor, nothing at all lies offstage in the drama of salvation.
Since in Christ, even death itself became a collaborator in salvation, then it is nothing for Christ to call twelve men to collaborate in that very same salvation.
Each of us also has a role to play in the salvation of the world.
By this Gospel and Eucharist we are now celebrating, we are doing what the first apostles were sent to do.
We are announcing publicly that the kingdom of heaven is at hand in Christ.
We are announcing that Christ is present in our midst.
We are hailing the mystery of his presence by declaring the saving death of Christ and confessing his saving resurrection.
We are commissioned to do exactly that, mindful of him until he returns in glory.
Gathered now at this altar and offering the sacramental mystery of the Lord, each one of us is collaborating with Christ in the salvation of the world.
Christ wants this.
By the power of Spirit and our free collaboration, may his holy will be done through us for the glory of the Father and the salvation of the world!

That God Be Glorified in All


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