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.

August 02, 2006

For Wednesday of the Seventeenth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Matthew 13:44-46

These two short parables, in the space of just two sentences, have the same shape and meaning.
In each, a man comes across something of the greatest worth.
In order to have it for himself, it he goes immediately and sells everything else that belongs to him
The discovered treasure or pearl is the kingdom of heaven.
Our Lord is teaching us here that heaven is worth more than everything else we have.
He invites us to be willing to immediately divest ourselves of all that is ours— even our own selves— so as to invest everything, our whole selves, in heaven.
Today’s parables can also point to the treasure that is the Eucharist.
In his Eucharist the Lord himself is to be discovered not in a field but under the seeming appearances of bread and wine.
There is nothing we could ever do to “earn” this treasure.
We can only divest ourselves of everything, and come empty handed, poor in spirit, so that the kingdom of heaven AND THE LORD OF HEAVEN may be ours in this sacrament.
Only as poor in spirit, only as utterly dispossessed could we be fully fit for the complete mutual possession the Lord offers us in his Eucharist.
Our daily PARTAKING of the Lord in his Eucharist is just as much a daily LESSON.
We can spend our whole lives giving ourselves away, giving ourselves up.
Still the Lord always meets us with so much more.
There is a Latin saying that is well suited here.
“God is always greater.”
We can also read today’s parables “upside-down” in a certain sense.
Instead of a farmer and a merchant who happen to stumble across precious treasures, God is the one who has come deliberately seeking us out.
With full intention, knowledge and love, God calls us out of the fields and commerce of the world.
God esteems us more than mere treasures and pearls.
Furthermore, God himself in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ has sold himself into suffering and death so as to dig and buy us out of the dirt and commerce of sin and death.
St. Paul has said all of this in much stronger and difficult language [2 Cor. 5:21].
For our sake
God made Christ—
who knew no sin—
to BE SIN,
so that in him we might become the very holiness of God.

The Holy One has divested himself, dispossessed himself, so that in utter poverty he invests all that is his in sinners.
Here in the Eucharist, we sinners receive the very price that God the Holy One has himself paid for our freedom: the flesh and blood of God the Son of the Father.
Here is God’s holiness— traded for our emptiness.
Here is his wealth— traded for our emptiness.
Here is God’s life— traded for our emptiness.
Here is his divinity— traded for our emptiness.
Here is God— traded for sinners.
We ourselves can provide nothing to reciprocate in this wonderful exchange.
In this sacrament, even bread and wine are emptied of their own reality, so as really to become the flesh and blood of Christ.
We, too, need to come emptying ourselves, empty handed, poor in spirit, for only God can forever fill us, making us into the body and blood of Christ, making us into the very holiness of God.
Yet with God, here in the Eucharist, always and everywhere, no matter how much we divest ourselves, no matter how much empty room we are able to make for God, he always goes beyond it.
“God is always greater.”

That God Be Glorified in All


Anonymous Frank said...

Good to hear that some people still respect the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ

12:21 PM  

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