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 19, 2006

For Thursday of the Twenty-Eighty Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Luke 11:47-54)

Today the Gospel is ugly.
Jesus speaks angry words.
He began against the Pharisees.
He continues against the scribes— the lawyers of religion.
Jesus is pointing, accusing, blaming, condemning.
In response, the scribal lawyers of religion and the Pharisees plot to catch him.
Sifting through the Lord’s harsh words of bad news today, we can find two details of positive profit for ourselves.
Jesus says today that the Wisdom of God sent prophets and apostles that the forebears of the scribes killed.
From that affirmation, we can recall that God’s prophets and apostles have given us the Scriptures, the Wisdom of God.
The second affirmation we may sift out of the Gospel today is similar.
Jesus told the scribes:
you have taken away the key of knowledge;
you did not enter yourselves,
and you hindered those who were entering.

So, the Scriptures are a key, an opening, an entrance to the Wisdom of God.
The scribes would not use the key to free either themselves or the people.
Since that key to freedom comes from the Wisdom of God, using the key means hearing, following and obeying the Wisdom of God.
In a mysterious way, the Gospel today confirms or illustrates the lesson, by telling us that the scribes and Pharisees now began to press Jesus, to provoke him, to lie in wait for him, to catch him.
Jesus is the Eternal Wisdom, the Key of Freedom, the Eternal Father’s Prophet and Apostle.
The scribes and Pharisees don’t want to obey Jesus.
They want to take him away from the people.
They want to prevent the people from following him.
There have always been political scribes and political Pharisees who don’t want us to hear and follow the prophets and apostles that God sends us.
In the end, politicians— no matter what party they belong to— politicians cannot give us the freedom only God can give.
As we follow Jesus throughout our lives, we need to be responsible in the present world.
However, we need even more to be responsible and obedient to the freedom God offers us in eternal glory— because we can lose it forever.
That’s why Jesus is ugly today, accusing, blaming and condemning the scribes and Pharisees.
Jesus willingly died for the higher freedom that others feared.
But then … the resurrection of Jesus in which his human soul AND HIS HUMAN BODY have an invincible freedom from sin, suffering and death— THAT is the freedom that God plans all of us to have.
THAT is the freedom he feeds to us in the Body and Blood of Christ.
That is the freedom that we need to obey no matter what it may cost us at the hands of others.

That God Be Glorified in All


Blogger DimBulb said...

This passage from Luke comes from the Journey to Jerusalem section of the Gospel. It begins in 9:51 with the words: "he set his face steadfastly towards Jerusalem." According to the Jerome Biblical Commentary this phrse is often used in the context of prophetic judgements (Ezek. 6:2; 13:17; 14:8; Isa 50:7).

Given what he says and does once he lays his eyes on Jerusalem 19:41-21:38 it would be good to remember that "Gentle Jesus, meek and mild" was also a prophet and a judge. He was not above "getting ugly."

Luke is remembered for the Parable of the Prodigal son and the lost sheep (chap 15) but he also needs to be remembered for "the ugly Jesus". Before we get the "gentle Jesus Meek and mild" parables, we get some very hard teaching (see 12:35-14:9; also "The Great Feast" 14:7-33).

As he came in judgement to Jerusalem Jesus taught about both conemnation and mercy. Our age, which is headed towards the second coming, seems to focus on the later and knows nothing of the former. We seem to think the day of the Lord will be a day of Light and not Darkness (Amos 5:18), but some, at least, will be in for a rude awakening. Our age needs an ugly Jesus.

Hey! Have you ever posted reflections on the readings and not made a reference to the Eucharist?

8:11 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

In a homily at Mass, I always try to refer to the Eucharist. I think the homily, coming between the Gospel and the Eucharist, ought to honor both. The homily itself ought be a seeking of salvation and an offering of worship.

Furthermore, just before the priest is about to say "Behold the Lamb of God..." and then consume the Eucharist, he says a prayer of preparation that implicitly wraps the Gospel and the Eucharist together:

"Lord Jesus Christ,
Son of the Living God,
by the will of the Father
and the work of the Holy Spirit,
your death brought life to the world.
By your holy BODY AND BLOOD
free me from my sins and from every evil,
keep me faithful to your TEACHING
and never let me be parted from you."

10:50 PM  

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