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 26, 2006

Thursday of the Twenty-Ninth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Luke 12:49-53

Today in his Gospel, our Lord says his mission is to set the earth on fire.
The Spirit of God is the fire Christ came to light on the earth.
The fire of the Spirit makes us holy.
Our goal is eternal life, and the way there is a fire that sets us free, burns us pure, and takes us away from our slavery to sin.
Our goal, eternal life, requires that the life we already have now be purified, authenticated, restored, freed, awakened, raised up, fulfilled, and reborn.
The word of the Lord to the Romans puts it thus:
now that you have been freed from sin
and have become slaves of God,
the benefit that you have is sanctification,
and its end is eternal life.

The process of sanctification, the work of being made holy, is a
fire that Christ sets.
I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing!

To burn with God’s holy fire is first of all to believe— to acknowledge that Christ is the Son of God in Flesh and Blood who comes to redeem us.
He had no need to be made holy, but he freely burned himself walking up the road of holiness to open it up for us, to blaze the trail for us.
If we choose to believe him and follow him, that will divide us from those who do not believe and follow him.
However, the division that Christ has come to bring must also take place inside each of us.
Each of us is divided between sin and God.
The Father, Christ, and the Spirit lead, teach, help and enable us to cross the divide.
The crossing is a cross, a crucifixion.
Christ knew it, and that is what he says today.
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized,
and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!

Having come to the Church at this hour— or long before, at baptism— you and I have set foot already on the road behind Christ.
He is only a few steps and a few moments ahead of us … in his Eucharist.
In his Flesh and Blood Christ freely chooses to be the slave of our salvation and the slave of the Father’s glory.
We come to eat and drink Christ in his Eucharist.
Then we too must choose to be servants in our own sanctification and servants of the Father’s glory.
Christ is our trailblazing pioneer, and so are his witnesses, the saints.
The Letter to the Hebrews [12:1-2] tells us how to live the Eucharist of Christ.
since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us also lay aside every weight,
and [lay aside] sin which clings so closely,
and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,
looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

If we want to be with him for eternal life, we need to catch fire.
Rather, we already have fire in us, for God gives it in baptism.
We need only to serve as willing fuel for that fire, to burn brightly with the glory of God giving light to the world.
We fan the flames with prayer, worship of God, and service to neighbors.
The same holy fire blazes most purely in the Eucharist.
It invites, exhorts and enables us to jump in.

That God Be Glorified in All


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