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.

November 16, 2006

For Thursday of the Thirty-Second Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Luke 17:20-25

Today in his Gospel, the Lord speaks to Pharisees who ask a simple religious question.
They want to see the end of the sufferings of this age, and their desire is a religious one.
They hope and believe God will establish his perfect kingdom here on earth, and they are impatient to know when this will take place.
When will God finally banish poverty, oppression, injustice and all suffering from human existence?
The human life of the Son of God on earth, his preaching and miracles, his suffering, death and resurrection did not put an end to the continuing history of human suffering.
However, his life in the flesh gives entirely new meaning and worth to human existence.
His suffering, death and resurrection as God in the flesh give entirely new meaning and value to human suffering and death.
God has taken communion in our suffering and is present to us when we suffer— PRESENT, and NOT absent.
Today in his Gospel, he tells us his kingdom is already present in our midst.
The presence of suffering is no longer a sign of God’s absence.
Furthermore, the converse is also true: the absence of suffering is not necessarily a sign of God’s presence and favor.
He says today in his Gospel,
The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed,
and no one will announce,
“Look, here it is,”
or, “There it is.”
For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.

The signs are no longer what we expected.
He says only that one day the kingdom of God— though already present— will be made visible as surely as a lightning flash turning night into day.
Until then the sons and daughters of the human race will continue to suffer much and be rejected.
Even the Son of God on earth, our Lord and Savior, was not exempt from this.
Scripture tells us that on the day the Lord is made visible in glory every tear will be wiped away.
We will be like God, for we will see him as he is, in the naked fullness of his glory.
God will both satisfy and burst open into himself all the hungers and powers that lie waiting and sleeping within us.
Our yearnings will continue endlessly so that the joy of their fulfillment will also be endless in the exceeding fullness of God.
There is no measure of height, depth, length, or breadth which could be laid against the boundless self-offering of God himself.
All of this is already in our midst in the Power, the Sign and the Presence of the Eucharist.
The end of suffering and death are present in the Body and Blood of the Lord.
There also are the promise and presence of our resurrection and the fulfillment of all that we were made to be.
In his Eucharist, the kingdom of God is already and always present in the midst of our suffering until the end of the present age.

That God Be Glorified in All


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