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.

December 19, 2006

For the Nineteenth of December

Luke 1:5-25

The Hebrew name “John” means “God has shown favor”, or “God is gracious”.
This is the name, the life and the mission of Zechariah’s son: to proclaim that God has shown his gracious favor.
The Gospel tells us that John’s birth and life were to bring joy and gladness to many, for he would be great in the eyes of the Lord.
He would be filled with the Holy Spirit.
He would bring God’s people back to the Lord.
With the spirit and power of the greatest of prophets, John would run ahead of God to prepare the people for the Lord and his gracious favor.
It is a paradox that John would bring joy by preaching a baptism of repentance.
He would make known to the people salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.
John’s life, work and preaching are a true image of Advent in which we are to turn away from sin, look forward longingly with the joy of the Holy Spirit to the presence of the Lord.
We do so today in the company of the angel Gabriel, Zechariah, Elizabeth and John.
In these final days of Advent, the Holy Spirit works through the Gospel and the Sacraments to make us witnesses to the dawning of the Savior of the world, a dawning announced by another angelic visitation.
We witness Gabriel again, the Angel of the Good News, announcing our salvation to Joseph and Mary.
We witness Mary’s wholehearted “Yes”.
Through the testimony of the Gospel, we are witnesses of the Word being made flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit and dwelling among us.
Each day in the Eucharist, we receive the Lord who became flesh and blood by the power of the Holy Spirit.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, the Eucharist is Christ’s flesh and blood.
In his Eucharist he dwells among us.
In his Eucharist we have a dwelling place in him.
In him is our salvation and the forgiveness of our sins, just as John announced.

- - - -

The Preface of the Mass for December 18-24

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give him thanks and praise.
Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

His future coming was proclaimed by all the prophets.
The virgin mother bore him in her womb with love beyond all telling.
John the Baptist was his herald
and made him known when at last he came.
In his love Christ has filled us with joy
as we prepare to celebrate his birth,
so that when he comes he may find us watching in prayer,
our hearts filled with wonder and praise.

And so, with all the choirs of angels in heaven
we proclaim your glory
and join in their unending hymn of praise:
Holy, holy, holy….

That God Be Glorified in All


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