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.

May 19, 2006

For the Sixth Sunday of Easter

John 15:9-17

We again hear Christ command us to practice a kind of love that can kill us, a love that does not feel good, a love that might cause us fear and sadness.
This is my commandment:
love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

You and I may feel at times that we’re never going to be saints.
When we feel like that, reading the life of St. Augustine can give us courage and hope.
St. Augustine took a long time just to turn in God’s direction.
Not only that!
Even after he had turned to God, he dragged his feet, and asked God not to work too quickly on him.
Augustine’s road to conversion and holiness was long, slow and hesitating.
Later in his life, he wrote a letter to God, and expressed regret for having taken so long.
That letter to God has some of the most famous words of St. Augustine.
Late have I loved you,
O Beauty ever ancient, ever new,
late have I loved you!

In his Gospel today, our Lord speaks of the self-sacrificing love that he commands us to have for him and for each other.
He is explaining and describing the shape that our lives will have if we do love him and are faithful to him.
He says we are to remain in him.
He says we will remain in him if we keep his commandments.
He has also set a standard for keeping his commandments.
He is the standard.
In his teaching and example, he reveals that the greatest measure of love and fidelity is death.
His sacrifice of himself on the Cross is for us and for our salvation.
His self-sacrifice on the Cross is also for the Father.
It is Christ’s flesh and blood fulfillment of his own eternal, loving and obedient self-surrender to the Father.
The Father, for his part, also eternally opens and gives all that he is to the Son.
Their abiding, mutual self-giving is revealed to us as the Cross and the Resurrection.
That is what Christ means as he tells us in his Gospel today, “I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.”
That same revelation on the Cross— the revealing of “God-who-hands-himself-over”— that revelation is present in the Eucharist also: the same Son of God ¬still in his human flesh and blood— laying down himself for us and for the Father.
In the resurrection, the Father shows that the love and the life he gives to his Son are everlasting.
In the resurrection, the Father hands over his eternal life to be the eternal life of his Son’s own humanity— our humanity.
Greater love has no one— and no other LIFE has God— than this: that he give his life for those he loves.
In the Mysteries of the Cross, the Resurrection and the Eucharist, even death and consumption give testimony to God’s abiding life and love.
As the Father loves me,
so I also love you.

I have told you this
so that my joy—
my joy in the Father’s love—
that my joy may be in you
and your joy might be complete.

These are mysteries that God has planted within us— mysteries that he gives us even to eat and drink.
We do not even begin to grasp the fullness of it all.
St. Augustine, in writing to God, said of himself before his conversion something that remains true for all of us, converted or not.
You, God, were within me,
but I was outside,
and it was there that I searched for you.
In my unloveliness
I plunged into the lovely things that you created.
You were with me,
but I was not with you.

Whether we are ready or not, aware or not, faithful or not, God is always ready and always present entirely for us.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







May 18, 2006

For Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter

John 15:18-21

Today our risen Lord tells us that those who hate and reject him will hate and reject us because we belong to him.
Perhaps that will happen only if we remind them of him.
We belong to him.
He has chosen us.
He wants us to live our lives from inside his life.
If we do, then the world can recognize him in us.
If that happens, some may also choose to belong to Christ.
Some might not, because they recognize that Christ might ask more than they want to give.
For example.
Mother Teresa attracted many persons because she gave so much of herself to God, to the Church and to the poor.
On the other hand, some persons disliked her precisely because she gave more than they would ever want to give to God, to the poor, to the Church or to anyone.
Today Christ tells us, “I chose you out of the world.”
We are to live in him and remain in him.
As he hands himself over for us to eat and drink his own flesh and blood, he shows his own intention to live in us and remain in us.
In his Eucharistic Flesh and Blood, he still speaks to us the words of his Gospel today: OUT OF THE WHOLE WORLD I CHOSE YOU.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







For Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter

John 15:12-17

In our Lord today, we witness an intimacy of tender, mighty depth.
I have TOLD you everything I have HEARD from my Father.

The Father has spoken.
He has spoken his WORD.
The Father has given his WORD: his SON— the WORD that IS God.
The Son— GOD THE WORD— also has spoken.
God, Christ the Word, has spoken.
Christ has given his WORD— his SELF— to his disciples.
He has given them the WORD— the SELF— his Father gave him.
Because of this— as he tells them today— his disciples know what he is doing.
They know WHAT and WHO he says he IS.
So, now they are his friends— his intimates— not just disciples, and not merely servants.
They are his friends because he has chosen to give them his intimate truth, the intimate truth of his being.
Indeed, he has already told all his disciples that he is the Bridegroom.
He has given them the intimate truth of his being— the same intimate truth he received from the Father.
Out of this truth and intimacy that make them his chosen friends— within the gift of his own intimate truth— he chooses them to go and bear fruit.
Intimacy is fruitful, as the intimacy of husband and wife is fruitful in their bearing children.
You are my chosen friends.
I chose you to bear fruit.
I have told you—
I have given you—
every WORD,
every gift,
everything I have from my Father.
I have given you my SELF.
Whatever you ask the Father in my NAME
he shall give,
for I have given you everything he gave me.
I have given you my SELF.

The love of the Father and the Son for each other— that is the WORD that Christ speaks and the WORD that Christ IS.
The love of the Father and the Son for each other— that MUTUAL LOVE is now Christ’s command to us.
This I command you:
love one another.

In doing so, we do no less than reveal the love the Father and the Son have for each other and have revealed to us in the WORD that is Christ.
Christ is the WORD that is God.
He chooses us to hear him.
He chooses us to obey him.
He chooses us to eat and drink him.
Because of his choice, we are his friends and his collective Bride, the Church.
I have given you my WORD.
I have given you my BODY and my BLOOD.
I have given you my SELF.
I have given you ALL that I have received from my Father.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







May 17, 2006

For Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter

John 15:9-11

Here in his Gospel, Christ our Lord assures us that his love for us is the same as the love that the Father in heaven has for him.
We have some understanding of the love that a man and a woman can have for one another.
However, the fact that GOD loves US is a mystery.
God has created us and loved us; but God did not NEED to— he did not HAVE to.
God loves us for no reason at all that could be found in ourselves.
There is nothing in US that COULD give God a reason, an attraction, a motive or an obligation to love us.
A love that we could DESERVE would not come from God.
God’s love is totally free, and ONLY GOD can love this way.
THIS is the love that Scripture means when it says GOD IS LOVE.
Human love, that is, the love that human persons have for one another is normally “love for a reason.”
This is natural, normal and human.
Something in the other person attracts us; or something within ourselves pushes us.
However, our faith in God who IS Love gives us another reason to love on another besides natural and human reasons.
The God of Love in whom we believe has revealed himself most fully in the person of Jesus Christ.
The overflowing and bottomless pit of God’s love, a love beyond all merely human reason and understanding, is shouted out to us in the insanity of God’s dying for us on the cross in the person of Christ Jesus.
Love beyond reason has died for us to reveal itself in all its fullness.
GOD’S love goes beyond reasons.
GOD’S love has no needs.
GOD’S love has no likes or dislikes.
For this reason, GOD’S love is absolutely able and free to be faithful forever— even in the face of our sinfulness and infidelity.
To love like this is nearly impossible for human beings … except that we have believed in God— God who has revealed himself in the Lord Jesus Christ.
When each of us was baptized, we were received by God into Christ whose death destroyed our human sinfulness and destroyed our human impossibilities.
When we were baptized, we were received into Christ whose resurrection has given us a share in GOD’S possibilities.
In the Eucharist today, as always, we eat and drink the possibilities— the power— of the Almighty in the Body and Blood of Christ.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







May 16, 2006

For Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

John 15:1-8

Today Christ tells us that his words, his teachings, are the Father’s tools for cutting out of our lives whatever is unclean, ungenerous, unproductive.
If we have never felt the Gospel cutting away at us, perhaps we have not been listening honestly.
If we do listen honestly, perhaps we feel that the Gospel surpasses entirely our natural abilities.
Our Lord knows that.
For that reason, he tells us today:
ask what you will—
it will be done for you.

We need to ask the Father to give us the fruitfulness that he wants:
ask what you will—
it will be done for you.
My Father has been glorified in your bearing much fruit

The fruit that we are to bear is really God’s own glory shining from our human weakness.
Remember: on the day of his resurrection, the signs he gave to confirm his identity were signs of weakness and brokenness.
The self-identifying sign the Risen One gave in Emmaus was BROKEN bread.
Later that same day, the self-identifying sign the Glorified One gave was to show himself WOUNDED in his hands, feet and side.
So it must be for us, his disciples.
We must let the Gospel make its pruning marks in our lives.
In his Eucharist, the Lord’s Body is present as broken for us, and his Blood is present as poured out for us.
Though he is risen from the dead in Flesh and Blood, he gives himself perpetually wounded by his own forgiveness of our sins.
Though we may be wounded for a time, let us dare to ask— as Christ tells us to ask— to be marked forever by his glory, the glory of the Father.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







May 15, 2006

For Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter

John 14:27-31

We are approaching the celebration of our Lord’s Ascension into the glory of heaven forty days after his Resurrection from the dead.
Today he says:
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.

That unfolds the meaning of the words he spoke to Mary Magdalene on the morning of his Resurrection:
Do not cling to me,
for I have not yet ascended to my Father.

In his Gospel today he declares “Peace” as his farewell and “Peace” as his gift to us.
He gives us himself as the means and model for pursuing and receiving this peace.
He says:
I love the Father
and … do just as the Father has commanded me.

In his suffering and death, he reveals his love for the Father and their shared love for us and for our salvation.
The “Peace” he offers us has cost him his Flesh and Blood offered in obedience and love.
We approach him now in the sacrament of his Body and Blood.
This mystery is cause for rejoicing.
While we receive him in his self-sacrifice, at the same time he stands with the Father in the same Body and Blood raised and ascended in eternal victory over sin and death.
If we choose to love him in truth and to have the peace he wants for us, then we must follow his example, as he says of himself:
I love the Father
and … do just as the Father has commanded me.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







May 14, 2006

For Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter

John 14:21-26

Christ has drawn a full circle for us in the Gospel today.
God is inside the circle and so are we.
The circle starts with the teaching of Christ, the Gospel.
If we obey the teaching of Christ, he and his Father will live within us.
Then the Father will give us the Holy Spirit in the name of Christ.
Then the Spirit will teach us everything and remind us of all that Christ has told us.
As the Spirit teaches and makes present to us all that Christ has taught, we are back at the circle’s beginning: the teaching of Christ, the Gospel.
We have the same circle in the Eucharist.
In giving us his Eucharist, he tells us to obey it.
Do this in memory of me.

Do what?
Give up our own bodies and shed our own blood for the glory of the Father and for the authentic welfare of humanity.
If we obey the Eucharist, then Christ and his Father will live within us.
Then the Father will give us the Holy Spirit in the name of Christ.
Then the Spirit will teach us everything and remind us of all that Christ has told us.
As the Spirit teaches and makes present to us all that Christ has taught, we are back at the circle’s beginning.
Do this in memory of me.

In his Eucharist and his Gospel, Christ gives us himself as the means and the model for being obedient and becoming a dwelling place for the Father and for the Spirit.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All