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.

April 22, 2006

For Easter Sunday II

John 20:19-31

Today in his Resurrection, our Lord shows us the living wounds in his hands and his side.
IN THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT the Father sent his Son to be born into the world as a man of flesh and blood of the Virgin Mary.
On a Friday some thirty years after his birth, the Son of God in flesh and blood died.
Through the eternal Spirit, Christ sacrificed himself to the Father [Hebrews 9:14].
On the following Sunday, the Father— once more BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT— sent the Son in the glory of eternal resurrection in flesh and blood.
That is what the Son tells us today in his Resurrection Gospel.
“As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And … he breathed on them and said …
“Receive the Holy Spirit.”

As the Father sent Christ in FLESH-AND-BLOOD-RESURRECTION by the power of the Holy Spirit, so Christ sends us by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The dead human flesh of Friday and Saturday begins on this third day to have eternal life and glory by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In the same way, we sinners are raised to holiness by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Christ says it today in his Resurrection Gospel:
AS THE FATHER HAS SENT ME
[by the power of the Holy Spirit],
SO I SEND YOU
[by the power of the Holy Spirit].
RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT!
WHOSE SINS YOU FORGIVE ARE FORGIVEN THEM
[by the power of the Holy Spirit].

Sent by the Father to us in his Resurrection, Christ’s flesh, blood and breath bear the Holy Spirit.
In the Resurrection of Christ, true God and true Headman of the human race, the Father has already begun to send our humanity out of death into resurrection glory.
In the flesh and blood Resurrection of Christ, God who is Eternal Spirit is now eternally one with the flesh and blood of our own humanity, bringing sinners into birth as sons and daughters of God.
All of us, like the Risen Christ himself, are flesh and blood and spirit.
In baptism Christ shares with us the Holy Spirit of his Father.
We have dignity in the eyes of God our Father— dignity as sons and daughters of God, brothers and sisters of Christ.
The Father sent Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Christ sends the Church by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Church— by the power of the Holy Spirit— sends men and women through the sacraments:
out of sin into holiness and communion;
out of death into resurrection;
out of eternal orphanage into the adopting arms of the eternal Father of heaven—
all of this by the power of the Holy Spirit in the sacraments.
Here, in the Blessed Work of the Eucharist, the Church sets down on the altar the bread and wine of this world.
The Father then sends the Spirit, so that we take up from the altar truly the flesh and blood of Christ, Risen Lord and God.
In the Eucharist, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Father still sends his Son.
In the Eucharist, Jesus in his Resurrection stands in our midst and says to us, “Peace be with you.”
Saying this, he gives us his flesh and blood.
Eating and drinking these, we receive the Father’s commission.
We receive the Father’s Spirit— the Spirit who is holiness, forgiveness of sins, communion itself.
The Spirit is the pledge-mark of the Father’s life within us.
The Spirit is our adoption agent by whose power we bear the name of Christ as sons and daughters of God the Father.
However, we have not only the name of Christ, but also his Body and Blood.
We are to live as Christ.
We are to live and serve as his Body and Blood in the world.

- - - -

The Preface for this Mass (the “Easter Perspective” on the Liturgy of the Eucharist)

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We praise you with greater joy than ever on this Easter day, when Christ became our paschal sacrifice. He is the true Lamb who took away the sins of the world. By dying he destroyed our death; by rising he restored our life. 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....

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







April 21, 2006

For Easter Saturday

Mark 16:9-15

Today the Gospel summarizes for us the day of the resurrection, beginning early in the day with Mary Magdalene, and ending at table with the eleven surviving apostles.
In the Gospel of Mark, we see Mary Magdalene just a few times.
The first two times the Gospel just names Mary Magdalene as one who was there on Good Friday: first at the cross and then at the tomb.
The Gospel doesn’t tell us anything about her except that she was there on Good Friday.
Then we meet her on Easter— today in the Gospel.
It’s odd that today— Easter— the Gospel chooses to add its first and only biographical tidbit about her: that she was the one who used to have seven demons until the Lord drove them out.
Why tell us that now and only now?
Is her multi-demonic past supposed to be why the apostles did not believe her when she told them the Lord had risen and showed himself to her?
Then again, is the Gospel trying to tell us that even those who have demonic biographies can be the first in line to meet the risen Lord?
In fact, in the Gospel of Mark, demons are the first ones and almost the only ones who know just who Jesus is: “the Holy One of God.”
What about the apostles?
In the Gospel of Mark, they’re the ones who often get it wrong in following Jesus and understanding his teachings.
The apostles today in the Gospel reject the testimony of Mary Magdalene.
Then they reject also the testimony of two other disciples who report seeing the risen Lord out in the countryside.
Finally, the Holy One of God comes to the apostles themselves.
He doesn’t take the eleven to task for abandoning him and running away on Holy Thursday.
The first and the important thing for him is not that the eleven had deserted him, but that they hardheartedly refused to believe those who had already seen him risen.
He scolds the eleven for that.
Then, he tells the eleven to take a turn telling the human race they’ve seen him.
It’s now their turn to meet the disbelief and hardheartedness of others.
Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.

So, here we are.
There are more than eleven of us now.
Our testimony is still sandwiched between our own unbelief and hardness of heart and the whole world’s unbelief and hardness of heart.
This situation is the same one the first eleven were in when the risen Lord appeared to them at table.
Though our doubts and hearts be hard, in a few moments, the Risen Holy One of God is going to break open his heart for us here at his altar and pour out for us his blood.
He still dares to entrust that much to us.
Even to that we dare to testify.

- - - -

The Preface for this Mass (the “Easter Perspective” on the Liturgy of the Eucharist)

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We praise you with greater joy than ever on this Easter day, when Christ became our paschal sacrifice. He is the true Lamb who took away the sins of the world. By dying he destroyed our death; by rising he restored our life. 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....

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







For the Season of the Resurrection: The Daily Morning Hymn of the Church

This is a poetic translation of the version Benedictine monasteries have sung for centuries.

A ruddy glow lights up the dawn,
The sky with praise resounds;
The earth, exulting, shouts for joy,
Whilst rage all hell confounds,

When our most brave, unvanquished King,
Who broke death's force amain,
And trod hell 'neath his victor's foot,
The wretched frees from pain.

He, whom a stone in tomb enclosed
By soldiers guarded well,
Comes forth, decked out in royal pomp,
As Victor over hell.

In vain are now the rage, the groans,
The cry that through hell rings:
"The Lord has truly risen!" now
A shining angels sings.

We ask thee, Author of all things,
Throughout this Easter glee
To guard thy faithful flock, and it
From death's attack to free.

All glory be to thee, O Lord,
Arisen from the dead,
To Father and the Spirit too
Be thanks forever said.

- - - -

To see also the Evening Hymn of the Church, click on: HERE.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







April 20, 2006

For Easter Friday

John 21:1-14

It is odd to hear today for the first and only time in the Gospel that the apostle Nathanael was from CANA-- in Galilee-- where the Lord worked his FIRST public miracle, changing water into wine.
Today, we witness the Lord's LAST miracle recorded in the Gospel-- and his LAST miracle also is in Galilee like his FIRST miracle.
Hearing for the FIRST and only time in the Gospel that Nathanael is from CANA, we should recall that the Lord picked Nathanael to be an apostle THREE days before changing water into wine.
Today in the Gospel, the number THREE is repeated, for today is the THIRD time the Lord showed himself to a gathering of his apostles after his resurrection.
These and other parallels tell us the Gospel is drawing a complete circle.
The meaning of today's miraculous, overflowing catch of big fish is the same as the miracle of changing water into an overabundance of fine wine.
At the wedding in Cana, the bride and groom ran out of wine for their banquet.
The Lord then gave orders to the servants, and suddenly there was too much wine-- the best of wine.
Here at the lake in Galilee, the apostles, whom the Lord calls "children", are also in need.
Returning with empty nets, empty boats and empty stomachs after an entire night of fishing, the Lord doesn't ask them if they have any fish.
Rather, he asks them if they have anything to eat.
Since they do not, he gives an order, and suddenly they have too many fish for themselves-- and large fish at that.
The Gospel today both began and ended with exactly the same mysterious expression: Jesus SHOWED himself.
On the day he changed water into wine at Cana in Galilee, the Gospel closed with exactly the same word: Jesus SHOWED-- he SHOWED his glory.
He SHOWED his glory, and his disciples put faith in him.
In all his signs, his sacraments, in the mystery of his Flesh and Blood given as our food and drink, our risen Lord comes to give us the "too much", the greater and better than everything: his very self.
In these he SHOWS his glory.
Let us put our faith in him, and recognize the glory of our Lord in the breaking of bread.
Recognizing him, let our faith cry out with the disciple whom Jesus loved, "It is the Lord."
Then, like Simon Peter, let us throw ourselves, fully clothed with everything that belongs to us, into the fishing grounds of the Church, that we might be caught by the nets of Peter and hauled onto the shores of the Risen Lord.

- - - -

The Preface for this Mass (the "Easter Perspective" on the Liturgy of the Eucharist)

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We praise you with greater joy than ever on this Easter day, when Christ became our paschal sacrifice. He is the true Lamb who took away the sins of the world. By dying he destroyed our death; by rising he restored our life. 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....

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







For Easter Thursday

Luke 24:35-48

Today we celebrate the bodily resurrection of Christ from the dead.
Today we are witnesses as he shows himself bodily to the first Christians.
He is risen, but with open wounds, wounds from nails and a lance.
If he is risen in victory over death itself, why does he not close up his wounds-- he who had the power to heal broken bodies and erase disease?
Wounded and dead for us, does the Risen Christ retain his wounds as signs of his communion with us?
We, too, are risen from the dead-- at least God already counts us so.
We, too, are wounded in spirit, or in mind, or in body or even in all three.
When Christ returns, will his wounds still be intact?
Maybe not.
When he returns, he will reveal the resurrection into which he has already planted us through our baptism, the sacraments, his Eucharist.
He will close up all our wounds.
He will wipe away every cause of tears.
He will give glory to our bodies, making them as his own.
Even now in his Eucharist, we are filled with his Holy Spirit, and are one body, one spirit in Christ.
In his Eucharist, the Risen Christ is still wounded, and his blood still flows, even though he is forever risen, immortal and glorified.
In his Eucharist our Lord and our God lets us eat his own flesh and blood to show that we are his living children.
Like the risen Christ, we still bear our wounds until he returns.
Let us take strength from faith in God's work, for Christ himself and his resurrection are for us to eat and drink.

- - - -

The Preface for this Mass (the "Easter Perspective" on the Liturgy of the Eucharist)

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We praise you with greater joy than ever on this Easter day, when Christ became our paschal sacrifice. He is the true Lamb who took away the sins of the world. By dying he destroyed our death; by rising he restored our life. 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....

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







April 18, 2006

For Easter Wednesday

Luke 24:13-35

Today in his Gospel we see the risen Lord unfold for two of his disciples the meaning of all that had taken place during “Holy Week and Easter Morning.”
He taught them while on the road to Emmaus; but his culminating explanation was at table, breaking bread.
The Eucharist is the sacrament of love unto death and resurrection.
In his Eucharist, Christ gives the deepest interpretation, the deepest meaning and the deepest fulfillment of everything revealed in Scripture.
The Eucharist— food and drink— is something more humble in absolute service than a slave.
A slave may bring food to the table, but the slave is not the food.
In the Eucharistic Food and Drink God reveals and gives his nature: love as sheer availability for the good of the other.
It is our origin and our destiny to be like God in the same willing availability.
However, sin conceals our origins, and stands in the way of human destiny.
In handing himself over unto death, Christ, God who became a man of flesh and blood like ourselves, put our flesh and our blood and our nature and our destiny back into the hands of God.
In Christ, our origin in the holiness of divine love and our destiny in the holiness of divine love have been given back to us.
In receiving the Lord himself in the sacrament of his real body and blood, we receive the breaking of our sins and the real presence of our own restoration, our own redemption and our own destiny in the holiness of divine love.
That is God’s plan in this sacrament and all sacraments.
That is the plan revealed by the Lord in his Gospel.
What he, the risen Son of God, has himself received from his Father, he gives in turn to those who believe in him.
He gives God’s own glory and his undying, immeasurable love and life— all given through the immeasurable power of the Holy Spirit.
Whoever believes this has eternal life.
WE believe this.
It is our faith, and we profess it Sunday after Sunday in the Creed.
It is the reality into which each of us is baptized.
It is the meaning of all that we see, receive and have in the liturgy and the sacraments, especially the Eucharist: that is, the Son— through the power of the Spirit— glorifying the Father and giving us the Father’s love and life.
Since we have received the gift of God himself, and are even now about to receive him in his Eucharist, each one of us is made into a living witness of the Risen Lord himself.
With full right— as well as full obligation— each one of us can proclaim in prayer and to the whole world the same Good News proclaimed by the two disciples who ran back from Emmaus: “We have seen the Lord, and we recognized him at the breaking of bread.”
Since we now approach the Risen Lord in his Blessed Sacrament, let us always be ready to live as men and women who have seen the Lord, so that the Lord can recognize himself in our lives.
We dare to receive the Son of God in his Eucharist.
Let us be ready to give ourselves to him in return, imitating his love with our lives, giving glory to the Father through the power of the Spirit.

- - - -

The Preface for this Mass (the "Easter Perspective" on the Liturgy of the Eucharist)

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We praise you with greater joy than ever on this Easter day, when Christ became our paschal sacrifice. He is the true Lamb who took away the sins of the world. By dying he destroyed our death; by rising he restored our life. 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....

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







April 17, 2006

For Easter Tuesday

John 20:11-18

Today in the Gospel, it is early Sunday morning.
At the Lord’s tomb she sees two angels.
One angel sits precisely where the master’s head had lain.
The other sits precisely where the feet had been.
Without saying a word, the two sitting angels already testify:
Here is exactly where he used to lay dead.
Here is where the gravity of death used to hold down his head,
and here is where the gravity of death used to hold down his feet.

The seated angels are a sign of triumph over the gravity of death that used to be, but is no longer.
The first words they speak to Mary Magdalene contain ironical knowledge.
Though they do not say it in exactly the following way, it is nonetheless the meaning their words contained.
Woman,
why are you weeping when he has made all things new?

Her answer is still stuck where things used to be.
They have taken my Lord,
and I DON’T KNOW where they have laid him.

Then the Lord himself comes to her, but she is stuck in what used to be, and she doesn’t recognize him in his newness.
So, his question to her contains the same meaning as the words of the angels.
Woman,
why are you weeping when I have made all things new?

She remains stuck in what used to be.
Sir,
if you carried my DEAD Lord away,
tell me where you laid my DEAD Lord,
and I will take my DEAD Lord.

Up to now, the angels and Christ have spoken to Mary from out of what is new, and she, stuck in what used to be, is not able to understand.
So, Christ— for the moment— reaches into what used to be, and he calls her by her old name.
Mary

Her old name— and it actually means “bitter one.”
That’s where she is.
Now she knows who he is.
However, he is not going to stay with her in the past, nor is he going to let her stay there.
Stop holding on to me.
I ascend to the Father,
my Father who is your Father,
my God who is your God.
Stop holding on to me,
but leave this place.
Go, and do as I say.
Tell my brothers.

So, Mary makes a fourth trip this morning (she has already made three).
She now leaves behind the defeated tomb once and for all.
She goes and tells the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”— the Lord who makes all things new.
You and I have made a trip here to celebrate the defeat of death.
We see what only looks like bread and wine.
Yet, it is really our Lord, Rabbouni, making all things new.
He wants us to tell our neighbors the same message he had Mary Magdalene tell: that his Father is their Father also.
Because of his Body and Blood in the Eucharist, Christ commissions us also to say what Mary Magdalene said, “I have seen the Lord.”
Christ himself gave a similar testimony.
He said, “I have seen the Father” … and, “Whoever sees me sees the Father”.
In his Eucharist, Christ the Son and Image of the Father lives, shows, gives and is life, growth and newness for others.
He sends us to be the same.

- - - -

The Preface for this Mass (the "Easter Perspective" on the Liturgy of the Eucharist)

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We praise you with greater joy than ever on this Easter day, when Christ became our paschal sacrifice. He is the true Lamb who took away the sins of the world. By dying he destroyed our death; by rising he restored our life. 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....

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







April 16, 2006

For Easter Monday

Matthew 28:8-15

Today in the Gospel we begin by seeing the holy women running away from the tomb of Jesus, half-overjoyed and half-fearful, running to carry to the disciples the good news of the Lord’s resurrection.
The women have not yet seen the risen Lord himself, but they have already seen something quite wonderful.
They were at the tomb at dawn. Soldiers were there on guard.
Suddenly the earth trembled, and an angel of the Lord appeared.
The angel opened the tomb, but, in spite of the guards, the tomb was already empty.
Although they have not seen the Lord, the women perhaps already begin to realize what the angel is about to tell them.
… Jesus who was crucified … is not here, for he is risen, as he said.

So, the women run off to obey, to convey the good news.
It is then, as they obey their mission, that the risen Lord comes to meet them.
They throw themselves to the ground in worship, daring to touch only his feet.
He soon vanishes.
They continue their mission.
They carry him in their minds and hearts.
Yet, he is more than their memories, more than the thoughts and dispositions of their minds and hearts.
He is HIMSELF, truly risen and in glory, leaving empty his own still sealed and guarded tomb.
We, too, are his witnesses.
We, too, can carry and keep him in our hearts and minds.
Yet it is not we who take him to ourselves.
It is he who in his mercy and love now freely breathes the Spirit of the Father upon and within us.
It is only as we obey the mission he gives us that our minds and hearts know his real presence.
It is only by obedience to him that we become his witnesses.
It was on the way of obedience that the women met the risen Lord.
Like these women hurrying from the tomb, hurrying on the way of obedience, our lives also will have a mixture of both joy and fear.
It is in the midst of this conflict of feelings, that is to say, it is in the midst of simple real life that we must find ourselves obeying the mission of announcing the resurrection to the world.
The risen Lord is coming to be really present among us, just as he promised.
The sealed stone tomb was no obstacle.
The mere appearances of bread and wine are no obstacle.
His flesh is real— it is real food.
His blood is real— it is real drink.
His resurrection is as simple and real and true as that.

- - - -

The Preface for this Mass (the "Easter Perspective" on the Liturgy of the Eucharist)

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We praise you with greater joy than ever on this Easter day, when Christ became our paschal sacrifice. He is the true Lamb who took away the sins of the world. By dying he destroyed our death; by rising he restored our life. 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....

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All