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 14, 2006

For Thursday of the Second Week of Advent

Matthew 11:11-15

The words of Jesus in his Gospel today fall in the middle of a chapter in which he himself presumes the authority to upbraid cities and citizens for their lack of faith in his own mighty works.
At the end of this chapter he even dares to address the “Lord of heaven and earth” as his “Father”, and dares to tell his listeners:
All things have been delivered to me by my Father;
and no one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

In the words of the Lord’s Gospel today, we have heard him effectively “canonize” St. John the Baptist, because John also testified to the authority and the identity of Christ.
The Lord has told us of John that he is:
more than a prophet.
This is he of whom it is written,
“Behold, I send my messenger before thy face,
who shall prepare thy way before thee.”
Truly, I say to you,
among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist.

John seems to have been expecting a “Mighty One” who would sweep the world with the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Instead, Jesus appears to be more the meek and humble.
Now, however, John in prison has begun to hear about the wondrous works of Jesus.
So John sent a question to Jesus, “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?”
Jesus answers that he himself performs the works of the Anointed One whom God promised to send: that the blind would receive their sight, the lame would walk, lepers would be cleansed, the deaf would hear, the dead would be raised up, and the poor would have the good news preached to them.
Then Jesus includes as the final words of his answer to John an admonition and a blessing: “Blessed is he who takes no offense at me”.
Now Jesus proclaims John’s blessed greatness to the gathered crowd.
John truly was the messenger God sent to prepare the way for Jesus.
John announced the presence and the mission of Jesus.
Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

Years before John began to speak, Mary also prepared the way for Jesus and the kingdom of God.
Mary announced:
Behold the servant of the Lord;
let it be to me according to your word.

The roles of the Virgin Mother and John the Baptist still prepare us here in the Gospel and the Eucharist, where we hear and receive Christ and his wondrous work of Christ.
Here in the Liturgy, in the presence of Christ, we can and do echo the words of John the Baptist and the Virgin Mother that prepare us to echo the prayer of Jesus himself.
Behold us, O Lamb of God!
Take away our sins!

Behold your servants!
Let it be done with us according to your word!

Thy will be done!
Thy kingdom come!

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







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