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 29, 2006

For the Third Sunday of Easter

Luke 24:35-48
Acts 3:13-15,17,19
1 John 2:1-5a

Today in the Gospel, it is still Easter Sunday.
Christ, in the newness of his resurrection, presents himself for the first time at a gathering of his apostles.
The first thing he wants is to give them peace.
He stands in their midst and says to them,
PEACE be with you.

Then he begins to unfold for them what peace is.
First, he tells them to touch and feel his real flesh and solid bones.
He also asks for and eats real food in front of their eyes.
He takes it in his hands.
He bites it.
He chews it.
He swallows it.
The peace that the Lord God newly risen in flesh and blood wants to unfold for his apostles is first of all peace between God and the human body.
That may sound odd, until we recall that in the beginning God himself took earth, and from it he formed the physical human body FIRST— and THEN he BREATHED into it spiritual, personal life.
The body is innocent, having come from the hands of God.
It was the WILL— the spirit of the human person— even though it comes from the breath of God—it was the free, human, spiritual WILL that later chose, and sinned, and corrupted.
The Risen Christ is PEACE in human flesh and blood— that is, God both giving and being: unbroken and unbreakable WELCOME, COMMUNION and BLESSING upon the human body.
The second unfolding of peace that the newly risen Christ gives to his assembled apostolic Church is peace for the human spirit.
Go in my name into all the world, and preach repentance— a new mindset, new behavior, a new outlook— preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Just as sin was the beginning of bodily death in human history, so the forgiveness of sins is the beginning of new life for the human spirit and human history.
Christ— the Resurrection and the Life— sends his apostolic Church to preach REPENTANCE— a new mindset, new behavior, a new outlook— REPENTANCE for the forgiveness of sins.
The first and second readings before the Gospel today make that apostolic preaching present.
The First Letter of the Apostle St. John and the Book of the Acts of the Apostles both obey the Gospel of the Risen Lord today, and preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins
If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only, but for those of the whole world. [1 Jn. 2]

Change your minds, therefore, and turn, that your sins may be wiped away. [Acts 3]

The Resurrection of Christ in flesh and blood is peace for both the human body and human spirit.
It seems, on the one hand, that the welcome and communion and blessing of PEACE that God gives the human body in the flesh and blood of the risen Christ is as concrete as our bones and as simple as eating a piece of cooked fish.
On the other hand, the peace that the flesh and blood resurrection of Christ our God gives to our human spirits is not as simple.
It needs more unfolding:
repentance— that is, a new mindset, new behavior, a new outlook— repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Yes, God risen in flesh and blood freely offers the peace of forgiveness to our spirits that have chosen to sin.
Yet, our spirits do not begin to touch the bones of forgiveness or begin to eat the food of forgiveness until we repent.
That is what he tells his apostles today.
Go in my name into all the world, and preach repentance— a new mindset, new behavior, a new outlook— preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

That is what his apostles taught and wrote for us.
If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins. [1 Jn. 2]

Change your minds, therefore, and turn, that your sins may be wiped away. [Acts 3]

We have the same unfolding of peace, and the same order of unfolding in the Eucharist of the Risen Christ— flesh and blood first, and then from those: the forgiveness of sins.
Take this, all of you; eat and drink my body and my blood given up and shed for you so that sins may be forgiven.

Today in his Gospel, in his Resurrection and in his Eucharist, Christ unfolds peace for us.
PEACE— welcome, communion, blessing— for our entire human nature: body and spirit.
God loves ALL of us— and God loves our ALL.
His love, his peace, his welcome, his communion, his blessing, his forgiveness— these are also a vocation of highest dignity.
Repent— change your minds, your behavior, your outlook— that your sins may be wiped away.

May God grant that we, who are nourished by the body and blood of Christ, may be filled with his Holy Spirit, and become one body, one spirit in Christ.
Peace be with you!

- - - -

[The Easter season has several prefaces. The first one must be used from the Vigil Mass on Easter Saturday through the Second Sunday of Easter. After that, any of the prefaces of Easter may be used. Here is the third one.]

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 in this Easter season, when Christ became our paschal sacrifice. He is still our priest, our advocate who always pleads our cause. Christ is the victim who dies no more, the Lamb, once slain, who lives for ever. The joy of the resurrection renews the whole world, while the choirs of heaven sing for ever to your glory: Holy, holy, holy....

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







April 28, 2006

For Saturday of the Second Week of Easter

John 6:16-21

We meet Christ today in his Gospel walking on the waters of a storm-tossed lake to meet the boat of his frightened disciples.
He greets them with the same words he must have used over and over again each time he appeared to them during the forty days after his resurrection.
It is I.
Do not be afraid!

Two days ago in his Gospel, this One who commands us to have no fear told us that whoever believes in him has eternal life [Jn. 3:36].
What the risen Son of God, has received from his Father he gives in turn to those who believe in him, namely: God’s own glory and his undying, immeasurable love and life— all given through the immeasurable power of the Holy Spirit.
In this power, Christ ascended the cross with two intentions: to give grateful glory to the Father by the complete offering of himself, and to redeem us through the same sacrifice.
The Lord himself has declared that whoever believes this has eternal life.
WE believe this.
It is our faith.
It is the way, the truth and the life into which we have been baptized.
It is the meaning of all that we witness, receive and have in the liturgy and the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.
Here and now the loving Son of God— through the power of the Spirit— hands himself over to glorify the Father and fill us with the Father’s love and life.
What we now dare to receive, let us strive to return through the lives we live, giving glory to the Father, through the power of his Spirit and the love of his Son.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







April 27, 2006

For Friday of the Second Week of Easter

John 6:1-15

Today our risen Lord comes to begin a high chapter in his teaching: the great news of his Eucharistic Flesh and Blood.
Today at Mass, and for seven more weekday Masses in a row, our risen Lord comes to give us a Eucharistic Gospel even as we celebrate, worship and receive his Eucharistic Flesh and Blood.
Today in the Gospel, five loaves and two fish do not stand in the way of the Lord using them to OVERFEED five thousand men.
Death itself and a sealed stone tomb were as nothing before the Lord rising in real flesh and blood.
Bread and wine are also as nothing before the Lord rising in real flesh and blood here on his altar.
Today in the Gospel, having only five loaves and two fish, the Lord overfeeds five thousand men.
Afterwards there are twelve baskets of leftovers.
A sign from God— a sign about God.
Here in the Eucharist, Christ our God breaks his body, pours out his blood, and gives away his very self for us as food and drink.
Giving us HIMSELF, he gives MORE than we need— and not only what is good, but what is the absolute BEST, the HOLIEST, IMMEASURABLE AND WITHOUT BEGINNING OR END.
Here in his Eucharist, he overfeeds us.
This is a challenge and a paradox.
In the end, we receive what we need, we are healed, fulfilled and saved by receiving and participating in God SACRIFICING AND GIVING HIMSELF AWAY.
As the sons and daughters of God, we are made to be like God.
We are free, and it is in our nature— as God made us— to pour ourselves out like God, giving ourselves up, giving ourselves away.
Whether or not we are ready to do so, God still gives himself away.
CHRIST IS for US and for OUR salvation from the very beginning.
The Eucharist we offer and receive is God in Christ sacrificing himself, giving himself up, giving himself away: for US and to US— eternally overfeeding us at no final cost to our selves.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







April 26, 2006

For Thursday of the Second Week of Easter

John 3:31-36
Acts 5:27-33

Twice today, the testimony of God’s word tells us of the divine dignity of Jesus and tells us of the giving of the Holy Spirit.
First, through the Book of Acts.

The God of our ancestors raised Jesus
though you had killed him by hanging him on a tree.
God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior,
to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins.
We are witnesses of these things,
and is THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM GOD HAS GIVEN to those who obey him.


Then the Lord’s Gospel echoes the testimony on the divine dignity of Jesus and on the giving of the Holy Spirit.

THE ONE WHO COMES FROM ABOVE IS ABOVE ALL.

… the one who comes from heaven is above all.
He testifies to what he has seen and heard….

For the one whom God sent
speaks the words of God.
HE DOES NOT RATION HIS GIFT OF THE SPIRIT.
THE FATHER LOVES THE SON
AND HAS GIVEN EVERYTHING OVER TO HIM.


This fact— THE FATHER LOVES THE SON AND HAS GIVEN EVERYTHING OVER TO HIM— this fact is the new light in which the disciples now know Jesus during the forty days after his resurrection and ever since.
Jesus is the Son of God.
He is the beloved of the Father.
He possesses everything that belongs to God.
Because of this, his Gospel asserts today that whoever believes in the Son and obeys him has eternal life.
What the risen Son of God has received without measure or ration from his Father, he gives in turn without measure or ration to those who believe in him.
We— by sin or virtue— we give measure or ration to the fruit of our own receiving.
Without measure or ration the Son gives to his believers the Father’s immeasurable life through the unmeasured power of the Holy Spirit.
Whoever believes that and obeys the Son has eternal life— life without measure or ration.
When God the Son came into this world as a member of humanity, he gave himself without measure or ration, not withholding himself from the human lot of suffering and death.
The death of Christ is the consummating sign that God is love unmeasured, unrationed.
The human death of God the Son is the confirming sign that he is “God-with-Us” even unto death.
By his resurrection as man of flesh and blood, he has taken our humanity even into his glory, into his eternity, into his divinity— beyond measure, beyond ration.
There is no limit to the communion of God with man.
Even sin is not the limit or measure of that communion; sin is its contradiction.
Here in his Eucharistic Communion with the flesh and blood of humanity, God our Savior is still and always “God-with-Us”— not by measure, not by ration, but in fullness and reality.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







April 25, 2006

For Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter

John 3:16-21

We hear today in the Gospel one of the most beloved oaths of God’s doting on the children of men.
God loves the world so much he gave his Son to die on the cross so that those who believe in the crucified Son of God may have eternal life.
The cross is condemnation that the Son of God takes on his own back so that the world may live forever rather than die from the condemnation that sin itself always contains.
The Son of God, his cross and his Gospel today warn us about our works, our chosen actions … whether they are wicked or they are for God.
We are the works of God.
He created us.
He has prepared good works in advance for us to live in as in a house [see Ephesians 2:4-10].
God alone gives the entire possibility and the entire ability to live inside the home of grace that he has built for us.
Yet he leaves entirely to us the choice of living there or not.
This home of grace that God offers to us is Christ himself.
Christ is the place, the event and the person in whom both God and the human race live.
Christ is both God and humanity living in one place, one event, one life, one person … one house.
Does the death of Christ on the cross represent a murderous divide between God and the human race, a collapsed marriage, a ruined home?
No.
Christ’s death and resurrection are the event of God and humanity remaining faithful to each other even unto the sharing of death and into the sharing of resurrection.
The resurrection of Christ from the dead is God and humanity united to each other in a fidelity that both conquers death and cannot ever die.
THAT is the good work that God has prepared in advance as a home to share with us.
The resurrection is the house of grace that God has built in advance for us to inhabit with him.
That house— all the grace of the resurrection and the immortal communion of God with humanity— is present in the Eucharist.
Every possibility and every ability to live in communion with God belongs to us, because the True God who is also the True Man lived and made it so in his life, death and resurrection.
In his Eucharist, Christ lets us eat and drink all possibilities and all abilities for living in communion with God.
It’s up to us to use or refuse.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







April 24, 2006

For the Feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist, April 25

Mark 16:15-20

As the followers of Christ, our work on earth reaches its goal because Christ has already reached our goal of being at the right hand of the Father in heaven.
What is the connection between Christ in heaven and us on earth?
The connection is as straight, unbroken, direct and immediate as flesh and blood.
When the Son of God rose from the dead, he kept his full share in our human nature, flesh and blood.
As he sits this very moment in the presence of the Father in heaven, Christ has our human nature, flesh and blood.
His glory in heaven lives within our human nature, flesh and blood; and our human nature, flesh and blood all live within his glory in heaven.
The Gospel tells us that on the day he rose from the dead, he gave the Holy Spirit to his disciples by breathing the Spirit right out of his own human lungs.
That is the work of Christ as he sits in heaven until he returns: Christ breathes the Spirit on behalf of all human nature, flesh and blood.
In the person of Christ himself, the Spirit of God fills our human nature, flesh and blood
This is not magic.
We remain free either to work with the Spirit or to refuse.
God will not do it without us.
Christ sits in flesh and blood at the right hand of the Father.
There he breathes the Holy Spirit on our behalf.
In his Eucharistic Body and Blood, Christ gives us the Spirit that he breathes.
We have in the Eucharist every reason and every power to go forward evangelizing in hope and without fear, announcing the news of Christ to the world with our words and our daily living.
The Gospel itself assures us today that the disciples…
went forth and preached everywhere, WHILE THE LORD WORKED WITH THEM

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







April 23, 2006

For Monday of the Second Week of Easter

John 3:7-15

The Gospel tells us that to have eternal life in the kingdom of God the Father we must be born of water and Spirit through the death and resurrection of the Son of God who was lifted up on the cross.
Our daily celebration, offering, worship and reception of the Eucharist are a daily festival of giving testimony to the death and resurrection of Christ.
The Eucharist is Christ lifted up on the cross and raised up into glory from the tomb.
By faith in him who is the Eucharist we may have eternal life in the kingdom of God the Father.
However, the door to the Eucharist is baptism of water and anointing of the Spirit.
We understand that the Father, the Son and the Spirit give us eternal life.
However, Christ puts water on a level with God the Spirit.
Amen, amen, I say to you, unless one is born of WATER AND SPIRIT, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.

Water— a thing made by God!
God has fashioned our bodies from the elements of land and water.
He has breathed from himself into us the spirit of life.
However, Christ still tells us:
Amen, amen, I say to you, unless one is born of WATER AND SPIRIT, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.

God loves not just our souls.
He loves us entirely, and for that reason he came to take communion with us entirely— body and soul communion in all things but sin.
Though he also entered into communion with us through the suffering and death of the body, his resurrection in flesh and blood shows us that he counts our bodies as “very good.”
Washed by water in Baptism, our bodies are not so much made clean of earthly dirt as honored by God.
By the incarnation and resurrection of Christ God pays divine honor to the human body.
It is his wish and plan to save the entire human person: not just the soul, but also the mind, the feelings, the will, the body and all its senses.
We already know this.
Every Sunday and whenever we proclaim the creed, we say that we believe in the resurrection of the dead, the resurrection of the body, the life of the world to come and life everlasting.
Eternal life by Baptism is for the entire human person, soul and body— not for the soul without the body, and not for the body without the soul.
Amen, amen, I say to you, unless one is born of WATER AND SPIRIT, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.

Water is on a par with God the Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, not because water is equal to God, but because God loves the human soul and body equally and entirely.
Why else, then, does he daily and lovingly give even to our bodies his own flesh and blood as our real food and our real drink?
In all things and in all that we are God is with us and God is for us.

- - - -

[The Easter season has several prefaces. The first one must be used from the Vigil Mass on Easter Saturday through the Second Sunday of Easter. After that, any of the prefaces of Easter may be used. Here is the second one.]

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.
He has made us children of the light, rising to new and everlasting life. He has opened the gates of heaven to receive his faithful people. His death is our ransom from death; his resurrection is our rising to life. The joy of the resurrection renews the whole world, while the choirs of heaven sing for ever to your glory: Holy, holy, holy....

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All