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.

November 04, 2006

For Saturday of the Thirtieth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Luke 14:1,7-11

Jesus offers what we might see as a banal lesson on how to avoid direct humiliation when choosing a seat at a banquet.
However, he ends the lesson today by stating a universal principle.
Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.

Everyone including Jesus!
He came into our world first of all as a servant of his Father’s glory.
“Glory to God in the highest!”
That is what the angels sang at his birth.
Christ was born to give glory to God in the highest.
Secondly, Jesus made himself the servant of the human race.
Jesus is peace on earth to us— he is God’s good favor resting upon us, among us and within us.
For the sake of the Father’s glory, and for the sake of bringing us into peace with the Father, Jesus humbled himself, obeying the demands of justice, obeying for our sakes, obeying even unto death, death on the cross.
For humbling himself as a man, the Son of God received exaltation as a man: he rose from the dead.
By his cross, the Son of God fulfills honest humility in the name of the human race.
By his resurrection, he begins the exaltation of the human race.
His body and blood that died on the cross, his body and blood that rose from the grave, his body and blood that ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father— in all of that he is at the service of his Father’s glory and our welfare.
His body and blood!
Ever in his Eucharist, he humbles himself and exalts others.
He glorifies the Father.
He brings peace and favor to us.

That God Be Glorified in All

November 03, 2006

For Friday of the Thirtieth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Luke 14:1-6

There were many occasions when Jesus healed on the Sabbath day.
The problem was that people regarded healing as work, and God had forbidden his people to work on the Sabbath day.
Today Jesus asks those who silently accuse him of breaking God’s law:
Who among you,
if your son or ox falls into a cistern,
would not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?

On a similar occasion, Jesus asked his accusers:
Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath
rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?

On that occasion, and also today, no one gave him an answer.
What was the Sabbath day for?
After making the human race, God altered the created world by making an ordered garden in it to serve as the home of man and woman.
Then, oddly, God made an extra day, the Sabbath day, and gave it as a gift to the human race: a day to rest together with God, a day for communion with God.
Later, God positively commanded that the gift of the Sabbath day be kept and enjoyed.
People forgot God’s intention.
They had come to think of it as a “dead” day, a day for nothing.
They forgot that in the beginning God made the Sabbath day as a gift of communion.
As Jesus put it, the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
Today in the Gospel, it is the Sabbath, and Jesus wants to give a gift to a sick man.
Here in the Eucharist, Jesus wants to give certain gifts to those whose sickness is sin.

In his Body and Blood, Jesus wants to give us a new, everlasting covenant and the forgiveness of sins.
He wants to give us “covenant”— to be in communion with him; and when we sin against the union, he wants to give us forgiveness.
As we receive the gifts of his covenant and forgiveness today, let us carry them into all our moments of work and rest.

That God Be Glorified in All

November 02, 2006

For All Souls Day, 2 November

A newborn baby is not yet able to walk or run, not yet able to chew, not yet able to speak or read, not yet able to understand a joke.
Newborn babies are alive, but not all their built-in abilities are working yet.
When we sinners die, we are like newborn babies: we are not instantly able to enjoy heaven.
Until the moment of death we remain free and able to sin— even if we might be the holiest persons alive.
Until the moment of death we continue to have sinful tendencies.
When we die, God must remove sin and its effects from us so that we are completely free and able to enjoy heaven
That process is purgatory.
As a negative process, purgatory means God is purifying us of sin and its effects so that we enter heaven free and clean.
As a positive process, purgatory means God is waking up our souls, turning on all the lights inside us, making us fully able to run in heaven, fully able to see heaven, fully able to hear heaven, fully able to enjoy and celebrate in heaven.
When we pray and sacrifice on behalf of the dead— as we do especially today— we are helping those souls who died still needing purification before they can enter heaven.
Christ gave his Church— ON EARTH— authority and power IN HEAVEN.
Truly, I say to you,
whatever you bind ON EARTH
shall be bound IN HEAVEN,
and whatever you loose ON EARTH
shall be loosed IN HEAVEN. [Mt. 18:18]

Christ gave his Church— ON EARTH— authority and power IN HEAVEN.
Some might say that when persons die they go either straight to hell or straight to heaven, because there is no such thing as purgatory.
Do you remember that Jesus raised from the dead a 12-year old girl, his own friend Lazarus and the son of a widow?
If those three persons were already in the eternal glory of heaven, why would God bring them back to earthly life to suffer again and die again?
On the other hand, if they were already in hell, Jesus consistently taught that being in hell is everlasting.
Those three persons whom Jesus brought back to life on earth were neither in eternal damnation nor in eternal glory.
The Church specially devotes the second day of November to prayer and penance on behalf of those Christians who have died serving the Lord but still needing to be purified of the effects of sin.
The Church has authority from the Son of God to set those persons free for heaven.
Since Christ gave the Church authority to bind and to release on earth and in heaven, the Church authorizes each one of us to participate in helping souls enter heaven.
One way each of us can do that is to visit a cemetery each day from today through November ninth and pray for the faithful departed.
A second way is to come to church today and pray here for the faithful departed.
What we are doing today here in church, I hope someone will do for me when I die.
I hope the same for each one of you.
The souls that we help to enter heaven will join all the angels and saints in helping us by their prayers.
May the souls of the faithful departed
through the mercy of God rest in peace.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.

That God Be Glorified in All

November 01, 2006

For the Solemnity of All the Saints, 1 November

Matthew 5:1-12
Revelation 7:2-4,9-14
1 John 3:1-3

Not all of us have biological siblings.
Not all of us have biological children.
However, every single one of us has a biological father and a biological mother.
Through them, each of us has a physical connection to the entire past history of the human race.
The Word of the Lord names Adam and Eve as the father and mother of the whole human race.
However, God who created us has come in the person of Christ to enter and join the human race.
Because he is God who made each of us, Christ who has personally entered the human race takes over the place of Adam and Eve as the beginning of the human race.
Christ is the New Beginning of the human race.
He is our new beginning spiritually.
He is also our new beginning physically.
When he lived and died entirely for the glory of the Father, Christ gave a new beginning of spiritual glory to the human race.
When Christ rose physically from the dead, he became a new beginning for our human bodies and spirits.
In his Eucharistic Flesh and Blood, Christ feeds us our own new beginning.
In his Eucharist, Christ is the new beginning of our bodies, our minds and our spirits.
We are baptized into God through the life, death and resurrection of Christ.
We are anointed with the Father’s same Holy Spirit that he shares with Christ his Son.
Together with the saints, you and I are children of God and children of Mother Church.
We have one faith, one Lord, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all.
As God sees it, the angels in heaven and the holy men and women who have gone to him before us— they are truly our siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts, parents and ancestors.
The saints are family— family in heaven, and we are their family on earth.
One family of God— the Church Militant, the Church Suffering, the Church in Glory!
In Christ, the saints have the same new beginning that you and I have.
They live with the Lord in glory.
They are concerned to help and save us.
In the lives they lived on earth, the saints were mirrors of the glory of God— as you and I are also called to be.
The saints each had different gifts and missions on earth, as you and I do— but together with the saints we all have one reward in heaven.
Now in heaven, they already live with the Lord in glory— a glory that they pray we will see and enjoy for ourselves together with them.
We trust and celebrate that the saints are concerned for our salvation.
They pray for us to receive the forgiveness and love of God.
They pray that we might live the glory of God even now on earth.
The glory of God— we eat and drink it in the Body and Blood of Christ.

That God Be Glorified in All

October 31, 2006

For Tuesday of the Thirtieth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Luke 13:18-21

A mustard seed is smaller than the capital letter “O” in the ordinary text of a newspaper article.
Spores of yeast are even smaller.
However, after planting a mustard seed and mixing yeast into dough we get results far above and beyond the original size of the seed and the spore.
We receive Christ the King as we hear his Gospel, and within a fraction of a second the sound that we hear is gone.
We receive Christ the King in his Eucharist as a bit of food and drink that would normally not keep anyone physically alive for even one day.
However, the effect of Christ the King who comes to us in his Gospel and in his Eucharist can far outstrip all the power in the created universe.
It is up to you and me to let Christ the King spread his kingdom within us and through the lives we choose to live.
But then, it is NOT up to us to measure the results in our own lives or the lives of others.
We may see the results, but then again, we might not.
Surely we see results in the lives of the saints, and the Church publishes her awareness of the kingdom that has grown in the lives of her saints.
Yet God alone sees everything, even when no one else can or does.
God our King only asks us to be as available as food and drink set down on the table ready for eating and drinking.
He does so himself— truly and really— in his Eucharist.
The Great and Good King subordinate to rebels!
God All-Holy subordinate to sinners!

That God Be Glorified in All

October 30, 2006

For Monday of the Thirtieth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Luke 13:10-17

Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath.

The Gospel says it was the regular custom of Jesus to worship in the synagogue on the Sabbath.
The Son of God regularly joined the people of God in the worship of his own eternal Father.
In the Gospel today, Christ is not only at worship in the synagogue.
He’s not sitting “in the pews.”
Rather, they have even invited him to teach during their worship of God.
He is “in the pulpit” as it were.
Here at Mass, we worship Christ not only on the Sabbath, but everyday.
Christ is present at Mass not only as the Divine Teacher and Savior that the Father sent to us.
Christ at Mass teaches and saves us by making present the eternal worship he has always given his Father.
Christ is also one of the worshipers at Mass.
In fact, he is the main worshiper.
You and I merely “insert” our IMPERFECT worship of the Father into Christ’s PERFECT worship of the Father.
Christ’s way of relating to his Father is simply worship— worship from all eternity without beginning, worship into eternity without end.
When he came to earth, he began to join in with the worship that human beings gave his Father.
However, his eternal worship did not intensify or fluctuate in any way during his lifetime on earth.
Rather, his life on earth simply made his eternal worship visible and present in flesh and blood.
St. Paul the apostle says:
Christ loved us and handed himself over for us
as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.

Christ is our savior precisely because as a member of our race, at the head of our race, in the flesh and blood of our race and in the name of our race, he entirely offered himself up for the glory of the Father.
In his very own self, Christ turned our sinful humanity into a total gift for the Father.
At the same time, he made himself into a total gift for us.
So, we can understand him as a “two-way” gift.
He is the human race’s perfect gift to the Father.
He is the Father’s perfect gift to the human race.
Through Christ, the human race, in all the glory God planned for it from all eternity, is present in the Eucharist as a gift for us and for the Father.
Our entire human nature is standing upright— whole, glorified and glorious in the person of Christ in his Eucharist.

That God Be Glorified in All

October 29, 2006

For the Thirtieth Ordinary Sunday of the Church Year

Mark 10:46-52

Today in the Gospel, we witness what appears to be the last public incident in Christ’s life before his final entry into Jerusalem.
This last incident outside Jerusalem also contains a first incident— a first instance.
Today as Bartimaeus the blind man calls out to Jesus, it is the first time anyone publicly addresses Jesus by the title “Son of David”.
Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!

What does that choice of words mean—
“Son of David”?
It means that the blind beggar Bartimaeus believes Jesus to be more than worthy to be king.
It means Bartimaeus believes Jesus to be the Messiah, the Christ:
chosen and anointed by God to be prophet, priest, king and savior.
Upon hearing the voice of Bartimaeus and recognizing the faith contained in his words, Jesus stops, calls for him and asks,
“What do you want me to do for you?”
Bartimaeus does not ask Christ for a donation of mere loose change.
He asks for something much more precious:
“Master, let me receive my sight.”
And Jesus said to him,
“Go your way;
your faith has made you well.”
And immediately he received his sight

Bartimaeus is now no longer blind.
He now has the ability to go his way and begin an independent life for himself.
Instead, the Gospel tells us he followed Christ “on the way”.
Bartimaeus chooses to follow Jesus.
The fact that the name of Bartimaeus is in the text of the Gospel shows that Bartimaeus was well known in the Church even after Jesus ascended into heaven.
Bartimaeus was the first person in the Gospel to publicly call Jesus “Son of David”.
After receiving his sight and following Christ into Jerusalem, perhaps Bartimaeus was also the first person to gather branches and begin shouting:
Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!
Hosanna in the highest!

Perhaps he joined the other disciples at the final Passover Supper, the Last Supper of the Lord.
Perhaps, unlike the others, Bartimaeus followed Jesus on the way of the cross.
Perhaps Bartimaeus wept on the Hill of Golgotha at the sight of his Savior’s suffering and death.
Perhaps Bartimaeus had the privilege of seeing with his own eyes his Savior risen from the dead on the third day.
Perhaps Bartimaeus got to see it all as an eyewitness—
just perhaps!
For you and me, however, there is no “perhaps”.
You and I share with Bartimaeus the faith to recognize the true identity of Christ.
However, we have the advantage over Bartimaeus in that we meet Jesus on the road into Jerusalem already knowing the outcome of the life and mission of Jesus as it unfolded and reached its climax in Jerusalem.
However, though we know the Resurrection is ahead, we must still each decide to follow Christ even through darkness and death.
Through faith, and the power of the Spirit at work in the Gospel, the Liturgy and the Sacraments, we are witnesses of Christ who is God at work for us and for our salvation.
Through faith, and the power of the Spirit at work in the Gospel, the Liturgy and the Sacraments, we see the Son of God come down from heaven, suffer, die, rise from the dead and ascend into heaven again.
The two-thousand year old suffering and death of Christ, God’s eternal love and his self-sacrifice on the cross in Jerusalem, the Body and Blood, the person of Christ who is risen now—
all these are present and real now in the Eucharist.
Of all this we are believers, eyewitnesses and beneficiaries.
In his Sacraments, in his Eucharist, Jesus says to us what he said to Bartimaeus,
“Go your way—
your faith has given you everything—
your faith has made you well.”
In a few moments, we will all stand to announce that we are believers.
To believe as Christians means we already see Jesus for who he really is: chosen and anointed by God to be prophet, priest, king and savior.
If we are going to stand and announce that faith, then we must be ready to follow the way of Jesus, the way of the cross; and we must be ready to eat and drink suffering and death as Jesus did.
Christ gave up his body for us.
Christ shed his blood for us.

That God Be Glorified in All