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 20, 2006

For Wednesday of the Twenty-Fourth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Luke 7:31-35

John the Baptist lived a thoroughly penitential life.
He lived alone in the desert.
He wore animal skins.
He ate coarse, wild food.
He preached repentance, scolded sinners, and he blessed their conversion with a public ritual washing in the Jordan River.
Our Lord, on the other hand, was not known for practicing a life of extraordinary penance.
Some people complained that Jesus associated with publicly known sinners.
Nonetheless, Christ was as concerned as John the Baptist about sin.
If someone approached the Lord to seek a healing of the BODY, the Lord often answered by saying, “Your SINS are forgiven” [Mt. 9:2; Mk. 2:5; Lk. 5:20].
Those uninvited words of forgiveness are also an implicit accusation of sin.
The Lord went about accusing people of being sinners.
Even when he would not publicly condemn to death the woman caught in adultery, he told her to her face, “Go, and DO NOT SIN AGAIN!” [Jn. 8:11]
John the Baptist’s way of life was penance twenty-four hours a day.
Christ’s mission in life was a search for sinners, a search in which he explicitly or implicitly accused men of sin and forgave them as well.
John the Baptist died for denouncing the sins of a king.
Going farther than John the Baptist ever could, Christ offered up his own sinless self for the sins of all men and women.
Together with John the Baptist, Christ fulfills the meaning of the words he spoke today: “wisdom is vindicated by all her works.”
Like John and Christ, we are to be wise in denouncing sin.
We are to be wise in doing penance— both for our own sins and for the sins of the world.
In giving us his Eucharist, our Lord commands us to be mindful of his own concern for sin.
This is my body … given up for you.
This is … my blood … shed … that sins may be forgiven.
Do this in memory of me!

Both John the Baptist and the incarnate Son of God teach us the wisdom of the children of God.
As we await the return in glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are wise to be ready for him by seeking always the forgiveness of sins.

That God Be Glorified in All


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