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 12, 2006

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

Luke 11:5-13

In the Lord’s Gospel, we have the privilege of hearing him pray to the heavenly Father.
On one occasion [John 11:42], we have heard him say:
Father, I know that you always hear me.

Today in the Gospel, the Lord is teaching us that when we pray we should have the same outlook.
“Father, WE know that you always hear US.”
By teaching us to pray, giving us his own words of prayer, and including us in his own prayer and spirit of prayer, Christ our Lord stands WITH us and FOR us in the presence of the Father.
Christ joins our voices to HIS in saying, “Father, WE know that you always hear US.”
Today in his Gospel, the Son of God tells us our heavenly Father is always ready to give his “good gifts”—his HOLY SPIRIT— to those who ask him” [Luke 11:13].
Do we remember and dare to ask the Father to give us his HOLY SPIRIT?
Do we expect— as Christ tells us today— do we expect the Father to give us his Holy Spirit?
Do we know that the Father gives us his Holy Spirit?
Or are we more likely to speak of his “good gifts” as grace?
There is only one time that the Gospels say we receive grace from God.
On the other hand, the Gospel speaks many times, much more, of receiving the Spirit, the giver of life.
We often speak of grace as a “something”— a “something to have.”
To speak of grace that way does not make clear that grace is first of all the openness and availability of God himself.
To “receive” grace is to gratefully and gracefully welcome God himself.
That is why the Church always carefully words its prayers to the Father “in the unity of the Holy Spirit.”
Even Christ offers up his Eucharist THROUGH THE SPIRIT— for his New Testament [Hebrews 9:14] speaks of “the blood of Christ, who THROUGH THE ETERNAL SPIRIT offered himself without blemish to God.”
Every Sunday Mass, after the Gospel and before the Eucharist, we all stand to profess aloud our faith that it was by the Holy Spirit that the Son of the Father became flesh and blood.
In giving himself to us, Christ gives us the Spirit IN and FROM his own flesh and blood.
As the Gospel [John 20:19-22] tells us:
On the … first day of the week…
Jesus came and stood among them….
showed them his [body]…
breathed on them,
and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.”

In his Eucharistic Flesh and Blood, the risen Christ still fulfills that one and only place in the Gospel [John 1:14,16-17] that speaks of receiving grace.
the Word became flesh…
full of grace and truth…
from his fullness have we all received,
grace upon grace…
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

As we celebrate the Eucharist this day and all days, we ask the Father to give us his Son and Holy Spirit.
And I tell you,
ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.

If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?

In the fullness of the Spirit, Christ offered himself up to the Father “for us men and for our salvation.”
To receive this grace and truth in the unity of the Holy Spirit is to offer ourselves up for the glory of God.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







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