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 27, 2006

For the Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Mark 16:15-20
Acts 1:1-11
Ephesians 1:17-23 or 4:1-13

With the words of the Creed at Mass every Sunday of the year, we proclaim our faith that after Christ rose from the dead he:
ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead

Besides sitting at the right hand of his Father in heaven, what is Christ doing until he returns?
What are we to do until he returns?
The Scriptures today give us answers to these two questions.
The Gospel today tells us that until Christ returns in glory as judge, we are to go throughout the whole world proclaiming his Gospel, inviting everyone to believe, to be baptized and saved from condemnation.
As we go about that work, the Gospel today tells us what Christ is doing.
So then the Lord Jesus,
after he spoke to [his disciples],
was taken up into heaven
and took his seat at the right hand of God.
But [the disciples] went forth and preached everywhere,

In other words, our work on earth reaches its goal because Christ has already reached his 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.
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.
The Scriptures today— the Acts of the Apostles, the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians, the Holy Gospel— the Scriptures today weave into a piece of cloth that speaks of the Spirit’s power, Christ’s work and our work.
Looking over the fabric of today’s Scriptures, we can easily review what we celebrate in Christ’s Ascension.
Christ has human flesh and blood together with us.

With him,
you and I have one human nature,
one flesh, one blood and one Spirit.

So we can speak of the Church as the fullness of Christ who fills all things in every way by breathing the Spirit.

Christ who came down to the earth is also the one who ascended to heaven that he might fill all things.

We have power from the Holy Spirit to be the witnesses of Christ.

Christ makes us missionaries, leaders, teachers,
to prepare his people for work and service,
to build the body of Christ,
until we all reach the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God,
until we all reach the fulfillment of our own humanity,
to the extent of the full stature of Christ himself.

In the prayers of the Mass for the Ascension of Christ, we give thanks as we celebrate God’s plan of glory for the human race.
The prayers [Prefaces] for today acknowledge of Christ that:
In his risen body he plainly showed himself to his disciples
and was taken up to heaven …
to claim for us a share in his divine life.

Christ is the beginning, the head of the Church;
where he has gone, we hope to follow.

Christ sits in flesh and blood at the right hand of the Father.
There he breathes the Holy Spirit on our behalf.
As the sign and the presence of this fact, he extends to us his Eucharist by which we eat and drink his flesh, his blood, his glory and his Spirit.
Our final prayer after communion today will declare the whole reality for us.
in this Eucharist we touch the divine life you give to the world.
Help us to follow Christ with love
to eternal life where he is Lord for ever and ever.

That God Be Glorified in All

May 26, 2006

Welcome to first-time visitors!

It appears Gerald at ClosedCafeteria sent a lot of you over.
I devote this blog to preaching the daily Gospels.
My other blog,, wanders into other things.

Click HERE for it.
That God Be Glorified in All

May 25, 2006

For Saturday of the Sixth Week of Easter

John 16:23-28
The Father himself loves you
because you have loved me
and have believed that I came from the Father.

All that was to be seen in the person of Christ during his time on earth reached its culmination in his ascension to the Father in the invisible glory of heaven.
Through the liturgy and our faith we have been— we ARE witnesses of all this.
We are Christ’s witnesses and disciples.
As Christ was preparing his first witnesses for his final departure, he gave them two duties.
Those two duties also belong perpetually to all of Christ’s witnesses and disciples.
Here and now in the liturgy, we are receiving, renewing and celebrating those two duties.
The first duty for all followers of Christ is to wait in prayer for the Spirit.
The Spirit is the driving force for our second duty— the duty to be witnesses of Christ to the whole world.
These two duties, although distinct, also take place simultaneously.
We are obedient witnesses of Christ only as we obey the Spirit in prayer.
In the liturgy, we seek to carry out those two simultaneous duties:
we prayerfully await the coming of the Spirit;
we submit to the Spirit that we might serve as Christ’s witnesses.
We have never physically seen Christ.
We have never physically heard him.
What does the Spirit do to make us Christ’s witnesses?
The Holy Spirit makes us MINDFUL of Christ.
The Spirit makes us NOT FORGET.
The Spirit of God carries out in us what Christ asked of us on the night before he died: namely, that when we offer his Body and Blood in the Eucharist we should be:
mindful of all that Christ did;
mindful of all that he is;
mindful that he will come to us again.
We are here because love calls us to him who has been immeasurably good to us.
The Spirit offers us the power of faith to love Christ God who has loved us first.
Today we heard the Spirit make present Christ’s words in the Gospel.
The Father himself loves you
because you have loved me
and have believed that I came from the Father.

By making us mindful of Christ, by provoking us never to forget Christ, the Spirit of God also calls us to love Christ and to believe that he came from the Father.
In his ascension, Christ has returned to the Father, but he will come to us again.
It is our mission to be mindful of all this, to hope in it, to believe and to serve.
Now in the Eucharist, let us consciously pray and seek to be renewed in our mission.

That God Be Glorified in All

For Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter

John 16:20-23

We know and experience that there is REAL reason in the present world for travail or labor, for sorrow and anguish.
Yet, three times today in his Gospel, the Lord tells us that sorrow, labor and anguish will turn into joy.
He does not tell us to go out and look for sorrow and anguish.
However, if the Spirit is to have room within us wherein to bring joy to birth, then we must— through faith, prayer and worship— prepare a willing and tender hollow within us that can ACCEPT sorrow, labor and anguish if and whenever they come.
In the very same place where sorrow plunges its blade, there joy sinks its root.
The human heart is both the field of sorrow and the seedbed of joy.
The Lord says to us in his Gospel today:
So you also are now in anguish.
But I will see you again,
and your hearts will rejoice

We must let the Spirit of God hollow out its place within us, so that the will of God be done … so that his kingdom come to birth within us— so that we may be ready for joy even now— joy in him— and so that we may be ready as well for the day of Christ’s return.
We have his promise in his Gospel today:
I will see you again,
and your hearts will rejoice,
and no one will take your joy away from you.

On that day of joy, as he goes on to tell us, we shall have nothing further to ask of him.
Even now, he approaches us in his Eucharist wherein he gives everything without being asked.

That God Be Glorified in All

May 24, 2006

For Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter

[I am in a diocese where the Ascension is not observed today, but on the coming Sunday.]

John 16:16-20

In this Gospel, Jesus is speaking at his Last Supper before his death.
A little while and you will NO longer see me,
and again a little while and you WILL see me

The “little while” that they were not to see him was between his death and resurrection.
He counts BOTH his death and his resurrection as “going to the Father.”
Mysteriously, he sees his horrendous death as a triumph, not a defeat.
It is not that his resurrection alone is a triumph that overturns the defeat of death.
His death itself is a triumph of his love for his Father’s glory and for our authentic, eternal welfare.
We celebrate this Gospel today not only for the meaning it gives to Christ’s death.
We celebrate this Gospel today for the meaning it gives also to his departure by way of ascension.
Forty days after his resurrection, “he ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty.”
We have not seen him for most of two-thousand years.
That is not “a little while” as he says in his Gospel today.
However, we still look for him to “come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.”
As we wait, he encourages us in his Gospel today.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will weep and mourn,
while the world rejoices;
you will grieve,
but your grief will become joy.

He first spoke this Gospel at his Last Supper when he first gave his Body and Blood to his Church.
We are here now to receive him in his Body and Blood.
His Eucharist is Viaticum for all of us— accompanying us all the while as we wait for him to return.
As we celebrate his Eucharist, we do well always to recall that he ascended into heaven, and that he will come again.
There is a taste of triumph for us in his Eucharist, because although he has gone to the Father, he is nonetheless here with us, letting us eat and drink the home that he already claims for us at the right hand of the Father.
If we exercise our faith, we know this is what we really want.

That God Be Glorified in All

May 23, 2006

For Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

John 16:12-15

Today in his Gospel, our Lord tells us how he continues to work with the Church and to confirm the message he sends us to announce.
He continues to have many things to say to the Church that he did not say before he ascended from the earth.
These are things he speaks within us— things he speaks through the Holy Spirit that breathes within the Church and within us as members of the Church through the apostles.
Today in his Gospel, Christ explains that he has EVERYTHING that belongs to the Father.
EVERYTHING that the Father has is MINE.

Christ tells us that the Spirit of truth will speak, telling everything that belongs to the Father and Christ.
Christ tells us today that he has many things to say to us, but that we cannot bear them without having the Spirit of truth within us.
In fact, our faith— everything that we believe as Christians— is believable only to those who have the Spirit within them and who work with the Spirit within them.
Without the Spirit— and WITHOUT our cooperation— NOTHING the Lord reveals is bearable, tolerable or believable.
It is only because Christ breathes the Spirit into his faithful— only because of that gift can believers bear the many things— all the things— that belong to the Father and the Son.
All that belongs to the Father and the Son— all their love for each other and for us— all of it is carried within us by the Spirit of truth.
We could not bear it otherwise.
We receive the Father and the Son and the Spirit as a gift in baptism.
The same gift of God reaches out for us in the mystery of the Eucharist.
As he approaches now, let us BEGIN to submit— at LEAST begin— to let the entire mystery of the Father, the Son and the Spirit declare itself to us, within us and through us.
In this way, by our cooperation, the Lord will continue to work with us and confirm his Gospel through the lives we choose to live.
Otherwise we can bear nothing— nothing of God within ourselves, nothing of God for ourselves, nothing of God to give to the world.

That God Be Glorified in All

May 22, 2006

For Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

John 16:5-11

Today in his Gospel, the Lord speaks of going away.
He “went away” through death, Resurrection and Ascension.
He tells us today that his going away is to our advantage.
What he did two thousand years ago, and continues to do is by the power of the Holy Spirit— the power of the Spirit abiding in Christ himself— the power of the Spirit that Christ breathes out upon us and within us.
Though we do not see Christ face to face now, he is present and at work in the power of the Spirit.
What, then, is the work of the Spirit?
Today in his Gospel, Christ uses the language of legal court proceedings.
The Spirit is a paraclete, that is, a legal voice or legal advocate, both for Christ and for us.
The Spirit voices the case that sin is lack of faith in Christ.
The Spirit makes the case that the way of righteousness, justice, holiness, follows Christ going to the Father through death and resurrection.
We do not see Christ’s triumph face to face, nor does the world.
In the eyes of an unbelieving world, our faith is self-deceived foolishness, not righteousness or justice.
If anyone comes to have faith, it is by hearing and obeying the voice of the Spirit.
Finally, Christ tells us the Spirit’s work is to reveal God’s judgment against the evil that rules in the world.
We must keep in mind that the Lord says he sends the Spirit not to the world but to us.
This means that the work of the Spirit is done through us, with us and in us.
Christ CALLS us to BE Christ in the world, to be his body given for the life of the world.
The same Spirit abiding in all its fullness in the still incarnate Son of God— the same Spirit is sent upon us by Christ.
As we approach the risen and ascended Son of God today in his flesh and blood, we approach also the fullness of the Spirit.
Our eyes, for now, cannot see the Father, the Son and the Spirit, though they are really with us— in the Son’s flesh and blood humanity that sits already at the right hand of the Father and bears the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
Christ and the Spirit— two divine paracletes, two divine advocates— divinely invoking “Abba— Father” on behalf of the human children of God!

That God Be Glorified in All

May 21, 2006

For Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter

John 15:26 to 16:4

Together with the Son of God we have two things in common: the human body and the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes we can hardly bear up beneath bodily illnesses, aches and pains.
Then comes death itself.
We can easily forget and doubt what Jesus has shown us about the body: that God empowers it to rise from the dead and sit beside his throne in glory.
For the time being the body suffers much.
Nonetheless, God holds it— he holds us— in high esteem, dignity and love.
For this reason, in the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, God has already begun to raise all human bodies to their surpassing dignity.
The body is one thing we have in common with Jesus.
The other is the Holy Spirit.
The Father and the Son are in communion with each other IN the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit is their unity.
The Spirit is their intimacy.
God pours the Spirit upon us, into us, through us.
If we choose to open up and hand ourselves over to God’s gift of the Spirit, we will speak willingly of Jesus to the world.
Jesus told us in his Gospel today:
When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father,
he will testify to me.
And you also testify….

As Jesus gives himself to us today in his Body and Blood, he is as he forever is.
He and the Father are intimately one in the Holy Spirit.
In the Body and Blood of Christ we receive God’s own intimacy with himself.
May our lives testify to that intimacy and to the dignity it has already given us in the eyes of God.

That God Be Glorified in All