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.

July 22, 2006

For the Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene

John 20:1-2,11-18

As the Gospel of John mulls over the event of Christ, it points backwards to the Book of Genesis, recognizing that Christ is the New Creation, the New Adam, the New Genesis— new beginning— of the human race and human history.
Certain details from the original creation are repeated but transfigured in Christ.
In Genesis, God made Adam’s body out of the ground, and then God breathed into it his own breath.
Then, God himself became a gardener, planting a garden, and settling Adam in it.
In the Gospel, Christ, who is himself both the Lord God and the New Adam, breathes forth the Spirit from his own body, and is settled, buried, in a garden too.
In Genesis, the Lord God, the gardener, goes looking for man and woman who have sinfully underestimated the gifts of God.
In the Gospel, a woman, St. Mary Magdalene, is searching in the garden for a man whom she also has underestimated.
In Genesis, the man and woman knew who the gardener was.
In the Gospel, St. Mary Magdalene mistakenly believes she has found a mere gardener, whom she likewise underestimates.
In the Garden of Genesis, the Lord God goes searching for man and woman.
In the Garden of Resurrection, the Lord God and New Adam lets a woman, St. Mary Magdalene, search for him.
He lets her discover INFINITELY and ETERNALLY MORE than she was anticipating.
He sets her up for it.
He knows who she is, but first addresses her merely by the title, “Woman”.
Whom do you seek?

She tells him she wants her Lord.
Now he makes himself known to her.
Whereas Eve received her own name only after the spiritual death of sin, and only after the Lord God told her she would bear pain, and that in her pain she would desire her husband, now Christ speaks St. Mary Magdalene’s proper name for the first and only time in the whole Gospel.
But then….
Whereas the Lord God turned Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden burdened with pain and toil, struggling to survive, Christ sends St. Mary Madgalene out of the Garden of Resurrection with a holy mission to tell good news to the men-folk who are, like herself, followers of the one who has planted the Garden of Resurrection.
Whereas the first man and woman were banished from face-to-face communion with God, the woman St. Mary Magdalene is sent to the men-folk with joyful tidings of a new and everlasting COVENANT from Christ.
my Father
your Father
my God
your God

St. Mary Magdalene is herald of the newness Christ gives us in his resurrection and his Eucharist.
As we receive the Lord here today in the Garden of the Eucharist, each of us can say with St. Mary Magdalene, “I have seen the Lord.”
But let our actions and our lives also speak faithfully and with integrity.
My Great One,
My Teacher!
By your grace,
I also am ascending
to my Father
and your Father,
to my God
and your God.

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An invitation from the Pope for this Sunday, July 23: DAY OF PRAYER AND PENANCE FOR PEACE IN MIDDLE EAST

Click HERE for it.
That God Be Glorified in All

July 21, 2006

For Friday of the Fifteenth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Matthew 12:1-8

From beyond memory, we have marked the passing of days in a repeating rhythm of seven, following the biblical book of Genesis.
Today is the sixth day.
It is the day on which the Lord God made the human race.
The second chapter of Genesis tells us that, after— AFTER— making man, the Lord God planted a garden.
“Paradise” is the Greek word for “garden.”
AFTER making man on the sixth day, God changed the world by planting a garden as a home for man.
Then, God changed the world a second time for man.
The first chapter of Genesis tells us that after making the human race on the sixth day, God changed the world again by making the SEVENTH day.
There did not have to be a SEVENTH day.
Yet, God made it, and gave it as a gift to the human race.
That is what Jesus reveals to us.
The Sabbath was made for man.

The Sabbath, the seventh day, was a day of rest on which God made nothing else, having completed the work of creating the universe and all life.
Yet, as the Son of God tells us, the Sabbath is also God’s gift to the human race.
The Sabbath was made for man.

The Sabbath is a sign that God intends all of time and the universe as gifts for humanity.
The Sabbath is a sign of God’s love for us.
Adam and Eve’s original sin trampled upon the universe of God’s gifts and God’s love.
In the death of Christ, the trampling is both consummated and undone.
In the resurrection of Christ, God has renewed, re-created and glorified the whole of creation and humanity.
Providentially, the resurrection was also in a paradise, in a garden.
However, it was not on the sixth day, not on the Sabbath, the seventh day, but on the first day of the week.
Yet, that is the most fitting day for creation to be re-made.
So, we celebrate no longer the Sabbath, not the seventh day, but the new creation, the resurrection, the Lord’s Day.
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice in it and be glad.

Today in his Gospel, Christ affirms that he himself, the Son of man, is both Lord of the Sabbath and Lord of the very Temple of God himself.
I tell you,
ONE GREATER than the temple is here.

For the Son of man is LORD….

Here at the altar, we are in the Temple of the Lord.
Here, the earth and time both stand still and live for ever.
Here, the earth and time are consummated, fulfilled, renewed— and yet also step aside, giving way to Christ risen in flesh and blood.
The Eucharist is everything.
Source and summit,
death and resurrection,
new creation,
God and man.

No matter what day of the week today may be, here in the Eucharist, we may always affirm:
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice in it and be glad.

The Eucharist, surpassing the former Sabbath, is also made for man.

Click HERE for it.
That God Be Glorified in All

July 19, 2006

For Thursday of the Fifteenth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Matthew 11:28-30

The three verses of today’s Gospel are among the most appealing in the whole Gospel.
Christ invites us to rest and ease.
However, we hear the words of Christ today out of context.
As it is, today we have only the second half of the Lord’s explanation of his “yoke”.
We heard the first half of his explanation yesterday.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.

The restful, easy and light “yoke” that Christ invites us to receive is Christ’s own intimate knowledge of the Father, Christ’s own intimate communion with the Father.
The word “yoke” both in English and in the original language of the Gospel goes back to the ancient mother-language of India and Europe.
Its root meaning is UNION, UNITY, COMMUNION.
A yoke is a collar that UNITES or JOINS one or more animals to a plow or a wagon.
It is strange that our Lord invites us to labor under a yoke in order to find rest.
Come to me,
all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.

We readily understand that we can find rest and ease in intimate knowledge of the Father and intimate communion with him.
However, getting there is labor.
Coming to the Father through Christ is work.
Our temptations, our sins and our sinfulness make for labor and a heavy burden.
Temptation and our sins make war against our knowledge of the Father and against our union with the Father.
Today Christ offers us a yoke that he says is easy and light.
Yesterday he told us that knowledge of the Father is that yoke.
The day before yesterday, he told us that repentance opens the way for us to know the Father Christ.
Christ’s own knowledge of the Father and Christ’s own communion with the Father brought him to the yoke, plow and wagon of suffering, crucifixion and death.
Only after having labored under such a heavy burden did he arrive at the lightsome glory of the resurrection.
Even then he spoke of knowledge and communion with the Father.
I am ascending to my Father and your Father.

In the end the yoke of Christ gives ease, rest and light.
The way there is the way of the cross.
Today Christ tells us how to suffer the labor of the cross.
Learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart.

Christ’s meekness and humble heart, his self-sacrificing labor, the forgiveness of our sins, knowledge of Christ’s Father, communion with Christ’s Father, reconciliation with Christ’s Father— we receive this yoke in the Eucharist.
my body
my blood
given up for you
shed for you
that sins may be forgiven

That God Be Glorified in All

For Wednesday of the Fifteenth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Matthew 11:25-27

Today Christ gives thanks for what the Father has revealed to childlike spirits.
The childlike have received knowledge of God our Father and God his Son whom he has sent.
Throughout the Lord’s Gospel, the childlike are the same as the poor in spirit, the sick and the sinful who await their healer, or the tired sheep without a shepherd.
Such persons are opened up and ready for what can come from God.
God reveals himself to them, and makes them into a living revelation of himself.
Jesus, Son of God in flesh and blood, is the deepest and truest example of this.
He is perfectly open to the Father, and he perfectly reveals the Father.
Jesus is the one in whom and from whom we can receive the full depth and reality and knowledge of God.
As Son of God, Jesus alone has full knowledge of the Father.
God in Christ completely and perfectly gives himself to us.
This takes place in an extremely concrete manner.
The Father himself sends his Holy Spirit upon bread and wine, making them into the body and blood of his Son to be our food and drink.
In the Eucharist, God breaks himself open for us, and pours out his own Spirit upon us to cleanse us, to save us, to complete us to, make us holy, to give us glory.
We are images and likenesses of God.
For our part, we have only to open and lift up our hearts to the Lord in childlike simplicity, humility, sincerity and truth.

That God Be Glorified in All

July 17, 2006

For Tuesday of the Fifteenth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Matthew 11:20-24

If we are attentive as our Lord comes to us each day in his Gospel, we notice he says things we might prefer to avoid discussing or acknowledging.
Today is one of those days.
Today in his Gospel our Lord compares two groups of towns.
One group— consisting of the towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum— is in Galilee, a territory whose people believe in the one, true God.
The other towns are in pagan territory.
These are the towns of Tyre, Sidon and the infamous Sodom.
The Galilean towns had the benefit of faith in the true God.
The Lord did most of his mighty works in these towns.
He gave sight to the blind of these towns.
He made their lame citizens walk again.
He cleansed their lepers of disease.
There he gave hearing to the deaf.
He raised up their dead.
He preached good news to the poor of these towns.
The Lord did all these mighty works in these towns whose people had the true faith.
As he speaks today, we realize that he expected repentance out of these people.
When Lord works his wonders and announces his good news, he expects people of faith to repent.
Since they do not, he says today:
Woe to you…
…on the day of judgment….
Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the nether world.

We are people of faith, even the true faith, and it is not a pleasure to hear this or talk of it.
Our Lord says of pagan and sinful cities that had they seen his mighty works, they would have repented in sackcloth and ashes.
Even infamous Sodom would have survived.
He tells us that the day of judgment will go better for PENITENT PAGANS than for UNrepentant BELIEVERS.
There will be condemnation for unrepentant BELIEVERS— but it will go easier for pagans who repent.
We don’t ordinarily speak much of judgment day, hell and damnation.
Some may even go so far as to dismiss these realities.
However, if we are going to face our Lord and his Gospel with any honesty, we must acknowledge what he says of these realities today and throughout his Gospel.
We are his believers, and daily we hear his good news.
Daily we see his mighty work, the Eucharist, wherein his flesh and blood are our food and drink.
The Gospel and the Eucharist are the mighty words and mighty works of the Lord.
We are believers, and we acknowledge these words and works to be true.
Our Lord does these things for us today and everyday.
Then let us also acknowledge his expectation that people of true faith are also to be people of repentance.
Soon this hour, standing before the Lord in his Flesh and Blood, we shall echo words from a pagan Roman in the Gospel:
I am not worthy to receive you,,
but only say the word,
and I shall be healed.

That God Be Glorified in All

July 16, 2006

For Monday of the Fifteenth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Matthew 10:34 to 11:1
Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth.
I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
Christ’s suffering and death on the cross bring to the world division, not peace.
Faith in our Lord can divide the closest relationships, splitting even families.
Too many of us who call ourselves Christians fit right in with the sensitivities, preferences and agendas of our present culture.
Too many of us want what our culture falsely proposes as “rights”.
We end up on fire with ideologies, instead of on fire with the Sacrificial Theology of the Cross.
The scandal of the Cross is that we must suffer.
It is the scandal that God who is love has become flesh and blood, and did not erase suffering and injustice from our world, but threw himself into them and burned himself up.
Only so has he shown that love has no conditions or limits neither in the spirit nor in the flesh.
He scandalizes us.
Do we believe in him and follow him even if it means suffering?
Our shame is that we let lesser things than martyrdom scare us away from imitating Christ’s zealous love.
Because of that, we blend right in with the rest of our godless culture.
Thankfully, there are some zealous Christians to be found and seen.
Zealous Christians put no limit on the obedience of love— whether in their spiritual intentions or the way they actually live in the material world.
No limit on the obedience of love!
Some zealous Christians come to honor the resurrection of the Lord in his Body and Blood every Sunday at Mass, and do not think twice about sacrificing every other activity on that day, to remain free to worship publicly and testify publicly to the Lord in the midst of his Church.
The Church has always and still does teach that to intentionally fail in this regard is a grave sin that mortally wounds the soul.
A zealous Christian simply practices both charity and justice.
Our risen Lord is no disembodied spirit and neither are we.
Our faith in him must divide us both spiritually and bodily from whatever is godless in our culture.
The hardest part, however, is that the division must take place within us as well.
That is because we are born with a tendency to sin.
Though our Lord had no tendency to sin, nonetheless he also suffered temptation.
However, he was also driven by the Holy Spirit, and has poured out the same Spirit into us by baptism.
The sacraments will bear their fruit in us if we freely cooperate.
Our divisive Christian zeal must be known by the virtues and by the gifts and fruits of the Spirit:
prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance…
wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, piety, fear of the Lord…
charity, generosity, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity.

Our Lord had these in all their fullness.
They burned in him and brought him a baptism in blood.
Here now in the Body of Christ— and in daily life— let us also burn with zeal.
Here now in the Blood of Christ— and in daily life— let us also be baptized.
Only so shall we rise to him in body and in Spirit.

That God Be Glorified in All