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.

September 04, 2006

For Monday of the Twenty-Second Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Luke 4:16-30

Today in his Gospel, Christ reveals to us part of his miserable and yet invisibly glorious destiny.
The hometown neighbors of our Lord openly acknowledge the wisdom they themselves hear when he teaches in their house of worship.
They also know he has the power to work wonders.
They have probably heard he raised a dead girl back to life just a few days before.
The townmates of our Lord have something really astonishing to talk about.
The wisdom and power of their fellow Nazarene overwhelms them.
Unfortunately, it is precisely because they know him as their mere neighbor, a craftsman, that they refuse to give him the credit, the acceptance and the faith that his power and wisdom have earned practically everywhere else.
He openly proclaims that such is the unavoidable fate of every true prophet, and that it is to be his own destiny and mission.
Where hearts are closed, no mighty wonders can happen.
Our Lord is unwilling to force any miracles upon the people of Nazareth.
They closed their hearts.
So he chooses to close and withdraw his open hand, except to extend his healing mercy upon a few sick people.
None of the earlier prophets— no one— was ever so deeply and so universally denied as was our Lord.
The very first “Christians”— Judas Iscariot, Simon Peter and the other apostles— betrayed, denied and abandoned him.
The Jews rejected him.
The pagans put him to death.
The first twelve Christians, the rest of their brother Jews as well as the pagans— they all refused our Lord.
Some repented, some converted, but they all at first turned their backs or their hammers on our Lord.
This refusal, this disapproval, this shutting of the human heart— it was this that the Son of God faced and took upon himself in becoming a man like us.
In Christ— who was born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth— in Christ the heart of all humanity is open again: open in the openness and obedience of Christ to his mission, obedience even unto death, death on the Cross, the Cross where even his heart of flesh is stabbed open by the blade of a spear.
In the death and resurrection of Christ, true God and true man, the heart of all humanity is open again for God.
In the death and resurrection of Christ, true God and true man, the eternally open heart of God is also present.
In Christ, dead and risen, the reopened heart of humanity and the eternally open heart of God are one and the same, pierced open to be the one and ultimately only doorway whereby God and humanity enter into communion with each other.
The death of Christ on the Cross is his greatest sign of wonder and might— greater than any other sign he could have worked in Nazareth or anywhere else.
For in the weakness, wounding and death of Christ, God reveals his power— the power to save humanity from its own tightly shut heart.
When we allow our hearts to accept the truth and the invitation to be open— an invitation given in the sign of the Cross— then we can realize and say in the Spirit of Christ:
When I am weak—
powerless, mistreated, needy—
it is then that I am strong…
it is then that the victorious destiny of Christ
is realized even in me.

That God Be Glorified in All


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