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.

October 21, 2006

For Saturday of the Twenty-Eighth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Luke 12:8-12

Does my life acknowledge Christ or deny him?
That question comes up when I hear Christ in his Gospel today.
I tell you,
everyone who acknowledges me before others
I will acknowledge before the angels of God.
But whoever denies me before others
I will deny before the angels of God.

We can PUBLICLY deny or conceal that we are followers of Christ.
However, we can also SECRETLY deny Christ.
We can do things that no one else knows, but that still turn us away from Christ.
There are both public and secret ways to deny Christ.
There are also big and small WAYS to deny Christ.
There are big and small REASONS to deny Christ.
The hardest ones to avoid are the SMALL ways and the SMALL reasons.
Most things can be forgiven— even a thing as grave as speaking “against the Son of Man will be forgiven.”
Though he is God, Jesus knows he is a man on earth.
He knows it is hard for people to accept the natural contradiction of a man being God.
He says today:
Everyone who speaks a word against the SON OF MAN will be forgiven.

Then he adds that at least one thing WILL NOT BE FORGIVEN.

The one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit

What is this unforgivable sin of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit?
It is clear in the teaching of Jesus that sincere repentance always meets the embracing forgiveness of God.
It is also clear that God does not force his own goodness upon us.
If we do not want forgiveness even though we have sinned, if we think we do not need forgiveness even though we have sinned, if we hold that we have not sinned when we actually have, then, as Christ puts it today, we are blaspheming against the Holy Spirit— for which we cannot receive forgiveness because we don’t want it.
The traditional Catholic name for this refusal is “final impenitence”: the refusal to acknowledge our sins, turn away from them, and turn to God.
After Christ rose from the dead, his first gift of “Peace” to his apostolic Church was the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins.
Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive
they are forgiven.

The Church’s absolution for sinners says:
God the Father of Mercies,
through the death and resurrection of his Son,
has reconciled the world to himself,
and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins.

To reject the need for forgiveness is to reject God himself.
That is final— “final impenitence.”
Christ was literally dying to see us accept forgiveness … dying and rising to see us accept forgiveness.
my body
given up for you
my blood
shed for you
that sins may be forgiven

Do this in memory of me.

I send you.
Receive the Holy Spirit.
… sins you forgive
they are forgiven

That is the living memory he wants us always to have of him: dying to see us accept forgiveness, and rising as an undying offer of forgiveness.
Either we accept the eternal gift, or we blaspheme forever.

That God Be Glorified in All


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