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 25, 2006

For Saturday of the Thirty-Third Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Lk. 20:27-40

Even before his own death and resurrection, the Lord pointed to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as living proof of the resurrection.
Today in his Gospel, they are signs of the timeless saving power of the Lord who suffered, died, was buried, and rose from the dead.
In our Profession of Faith at every Sunday Mass we say:
We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.

What will the resurrection be like?
Right now, our bodily life, physical fertility, the conceiving and bearing of children are already spiritual realities, spiritual events.
Our physical fertility and fruitfulness share and reveal the creative power of the Spirit, the Lord the Giver of Life.
The body’s fruitfulness is an essential part of our being images of God the Creator.
Still, our Lord tells us today that in the resurrection we will also go beyond human marriage and childbirth.
All who receive and obey the mission of celibacy in the Church are ambassadors and prophets.
By celibacy they announce the Church’s faith in the resurrection— a faith pointing to a future already present in our lives and guaranteed by God.
The sacrament of marriage also points to future glory in Christ.
The fulfillment that man and woman can give each other becomes in the sacrament a sign and an instrument of a greater fulfillment in Christ.
The sacrament points to God’s love shining on and from the human body of the risen Christ.
Through each other, a husband and wife receive the call to die to their individual selves and to live for God.
Sacramental marriage points to the Eucharist: a pact of communion consummated by death to self and life for another.
Celibacy also points to the Eucharist in which the material world in bread and wine already comes to an end, surrendering itself as powerless before the real risen Body and the real living Blood of Christ.
Neither marriage nor celibacy may “work out”, unless together with Christ in his Eucharist we choose to die to self-centeredness so as to rise living for the good of others and the glory of God.
Each human person is created to say, “Yes,” to more than himself.
The Lord’s final words in his Gospel today are about those who have risen from death:
To [God] all are alive.

When we rise from the dead, everything in us shall come alive for God, just as God is already entirely alive for us.
In his Eucharist he is entirely alive for us.
In giving himself to us in his Eucharist he is already feeding us the life of the world to come.

That God Be Glorified in All

November 24, 2006

For Friday of the Thirty-Third Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Luke 19:45-48

Right before entering Jerusalem and its Temple today, Jesus was weeping over the city’s blindness to the peace he wanted to bring it.
Now, he goes to the temple, takes it upon himself to drive out the salesmen, and dares to speak for God in the Temple of God.
My house shall be a house of prayer,
but you have made it a den of thieves.

Then, having purged the Temple of commerce, Jesus goes on to set himself up in the Temple every day by teaching the people and announcing his Gospel to them.
He is trying one last time to invite the people to receive true peace from him.
He proposes some things about the way to peace.
Prayer is one: “My house shall be a house of prayer.”
Another thing about the way to peace is the teaching of Jesus about the kingdom of God.
God’s kingdom is the final, peaceful reunion between God and humanity— in our thinking, feelings and choices.
God announces, makes possible and invites that final, peaceful reunion.
He enables and ennobles us for collaboration toward that goal.
The collaboration is both work and surrender.
God makes it all possible, but we labor to surrender ourselves to the possibility— to surrender our thinking, feelings and choices to peace with God.
Here in the Eucharist, Jesus who is God surrenders his personal flesh and blood to our flesh and blood.
This holy communion of mutual surrender is the Truth and Gospel that he wants to give us.
Furthermore, this holy communion of mutual surrender is also the Way to itself.
Finally, this holy communion of mutual surrender between God and us is eternal Life itself.
This holy communion of mutual surrender between God and us in the person of Christ— this mutual surrender is the truth, the way and the life.

That God Be Glorified in All

November 23, 2006

For Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.A.

Luke 1:39-55
Sirach 50:22-24

On Mother’s Day and Father’s Day we honor and thank those who gave us life.
For us citizens and Christians of the United States of America, our national Thanksgiving Day is a day to honor and thank our Father who is in heaven, God the Creator of heaven and earth, the Lord and Giver of life.
We heard the Book of Sirach today put it this way.
Bless the God of all,
who has done wondrous things on earth;
who fosters our growth from the womb.

Throughout the holy Gospels, whenever we have the privilege of witnessing Christ at prayer, we often hear him begin his prayer with the words, “Father, I thank you.”
The first thing that the Son of God teaches us to pray to his and our Father in heaven is, “Hallowed be thy Name.”
Thanksgiving Day is a kind of Father’s Day to honor and thank our Father who is in heaven.
However, let us bear well in mind that every Sunday is a day to honor and thank our Father.
Every holy Mass that we celebrate on any day of the year and for any occasion— every holy Mass is itself a Thanksgiving to the Father.
If we do not bear that in mind, then we are in danger of celebrating the holy Mass as a reinforcement of self-centeredness.
It is worship first of all and above all, and that is what saves us from our sin, self-centeredness and self-pity.
To be thankful, grateful, to live gratefully, with grateful intentions, grateful giving, grateful service, with grateful heart and mind— to live thankfully is simply and already living a life of grace.
“A life of grace”— full of grace: would that we all were full of grace like the Blessed Virgin Mary!
Today the holy Gospel itself testifies that her soul was a soul of graceful, gracious, grace-filled gratitude.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked upon his lowly servant.

… the Almighty has done great things for me….

Here in southern California we all know how to say “thanks” in Spanish: ¡Gracias!
Even the English language calls grateful prayer before or after a meal, “saying grace.”
At holy Mass we join the Son of God in giving thanks to his Father.
At his Last Supper before he died, he took up wine and unleavened bread, and he gave thanks.
At his FIRST Supper after he rose from the dead, unrecognized at table by two Christians in Emmaus Village, he again took up bread and blessed God his Father.
If not in his voice, at least in his heart and mind, we can be sure the newly risen Son of God echoed his virgin mother’s song.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord

the Almighty has done great things for me,
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.

Christ giving thanks at Emmaus over simple bread, a staff of life, shows himself to be the ever-thankful Son of God.
Today as at every Mass, we gratefully bring to the altar of our Creator the fruits of the earth represented in bread and wine.
Bread and wine, however, are fruits of the earth that have been cultivated, harvested and refashioned by the work human hands, by the intelligence of the human mind and the desires of the human heart.
The earth is God’s handiwork, but bread and wine are the further work of humanity.
So, as we bring bread and wine to the altar of our Creator, we lay down upon his altar in gratitude also ourselves and our own humanity as gifts from God.
Then the will of the Father, the work of the Spirit, Christ himself and the obedience of the Church intervene, so that what we later take up from the altar is the Eucharist— the Greek word for “Thanksgiving”— the Thanksgiving of Christ in his Flesh and Blood.
The Son of God is eternal and perfect Thanksgiving in Person offering himself to his Father.
By eating, drinking and living Christ, he who is Thanksgiving to the Father is also Salvation for us.
Thanks be to God!

That God Be Glorified in All

November 22, 2006

For Wednesday of the Thirty-Third Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Luke 19:11-28

One basic investment God has given each of us is our own selves.
Our bodies, our feelings, our free choices, our thinking minds— all these— we need to train and cultivate them for the glory of God who made us.
We need give back to him all that we have and are.
He made us that way, even though our own sins wound, hide, contradict and distort that truth.
Nonetheless, in the beginning and in the end, giving glory to God is what opens us to our own authentic, greatest joy.
We cannot and will not be satisfied and completely happy with anything less than God and the honor of God.
There is another investment that God gives to each of us.
God invests HIMSELF in each of us.
He wants to show himself IN us and THROUGH us— to the world, to each other, to our own selves.
We are made to reveal God whose love only gives itself away in total freedom and goodness.
When we do nothing but take and take, we have no time for goodness, freedom or love.
When we do nothing but take and take, we just get empty and emptier.
When we give ourselves away and give ourselves up— especially when we give ourselves up to God— then we really come into goodness, freedom and love.
Goodness, freedom and love are the work of God in us.
That is the accountability God asks for: that we transcend ourselves— go beyond ourselves— because we are God’s image.
Freely chosen self-sacrifice for the glory of God and the good of others … that is love.
Love calls for the effort and cooperation of our bodies, our feelings, our free choices, and our thinking.
If God did not think that our human efforts mattered, then the human suffering of Christ was a mockery of our humanity, and not an act of love.
In the suffering of Christ, human commitment and human suffering are invested with the love and power of God himself.
In the resurrection of CHRIST STILL HUMAN, God shows the esteem, the investment and the glory of our humanity.
In his Eucharist, God renews his promise and investment of himself IN US by his Flesh and Blood to enrich even our flesh and blood.
In his Eucharist, he is food, drink and wealth to invest our bodies, our sentiments, our wills and our minds with his own fullness and divinity.
From his Eucharistic investment, the Lord asks for profit, but not profit that he will take away for himself.
He doesn’t need it.
His Gospel today teaches that he reckons his accounts with us only so that he can give us more.
When Christ the King returns in glory at the end of time, he will pour into each of us the eternal MORE of his own Resurrection.
We shall hunger no more, search no more and die no more.
We shall be like God in all his fullness … seeing him as he is … face to face.

That God Be Glorified in All

November 20, 2006

For Monday of the Thirty-Third Ordinary Sunday of the Church Year

Luke 18:35-43

Someone has told the blind man that Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.
“Jesus of Nazareth.”
However, the blind man calls out to him by a different title.
Jesus, Son of David,
have pity on me!

Son of David,
have pity on me!

The blind man’s choice of words show that he has faith— faith that Jesus of Nazareth is the fulfillment of God’s promises: the Messiah, the One whom God has anointed to be the greatest prophet, priest, king and savior.
The blind man already has the sight of faith.
When he asks the Messiah to have mercy and let him see, the Messiah acknowledges his faith, and shows him mercy.
Have sight;
your faith has saved you.

Now able to see, the man follows Jesus and gives glory to God.
In this simple telling of a miracle, we have all the ingredients for our spiritual lives, a map for salvation, and a map for living in holiness.
Putting faith in the Son of God.
Turning to him to ask for mercy.
Receiving the salvation he offers.
Following him as his disciple.
Giving glory to God with our words and our lives.
As we come before the Son of God, Christ in his Body and Blood, we do as the formerly blind man did.
We put our faith in Christ.
We ask him for mercy.
We follow him as our disciples.
We make our words and our lives give glory to God.

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See also my homily on the parallel passage in Mark 10:46-52.

Click HERE for it.
That God Be Glorified in All

November 19, 2006

For the Thirty-Third Ordinary Sunday of the Church Year

Mark 13:24-32
Daniel 12:1-3
Hebrews 10:11-14,18

Today, we hear an ancient prophecy to the Hebrew people, as well as a less ancient letter to the same people.
The Old Testament prophecy and the New Testament letter both speak of the final and everlasting triumph of those whom God has consecrated to himself and freed from sin.
Then, in the Gospel today, the Lord gives us part of a longer lesson about the end of the world and the coming of the kingdom of God.
In the Gospel today, we hear the Lord say to those persons who were with him nearly two thousand years ago:
Amen, I say to you,
this generation will not pass away
until all these things have taken place.

THAT generation passed away nearly two thousand years ago.
THAT generation saw the end of the world and the coming of the kingdom of God.
The world’s LAST “day” began when the Final and Everlasting Word of God was born in Bethlehem of Judea.
The world’s LAST “day” ended when the Son of Man died on a cross.
The kingdom of God came to human birth in Christ some two thousand years ago.
The kingdom of God rose from the dead, clothed in undying human flesh in the Resurrection of Christ.
However, the generation that saw the birth, death and resurrection of Christ in Palestine is not the only generation that has seen the end of the world and the coming of the kingdom of God.
Christian faith and baptism see the end of the world and the coming of God’s kingdom in EVERY generation— in EVERY person who believes and is baptized.
When Christ was born, and died and rose from the dead, our human race was RE created and reborn in HIM.
Christ is the New Adam— HE is now the head of the human race.
By our baptism, we were amputated from the first Adam, and were reborn as descendants and members of Christ.
Whenever any person is baptized, the world of old Adam comes to an end, and the kingdom of God in Christ receives a newborn citizen.
In baptism, the guilt of Adam’s original sin is cancelled in us, while the holiness of the Spirit of God our Father in Christ is given to us.
In the sacraments of Christ, the end of the world and the definitive coming of God’s kingdom are real and already present.
The end of the world and the coming of God’s kingdom are already real in Christ, in the sacraments and in the spirits of the baptized faithful.
Nonetheless, the eyes of our bodies and the textbooks and calendars of world history have not yet seen it.
So, in teaching us to pray, the Lord himself has told us to ask for the coming of the kingdom— the coming that will bring with it the resurrection of the BODY.
Christ himself, his resurrection and our salvation in him are not only SPIRITUAL realities.
Christ himself, his resurrection and our salvation in him are also BODILY realities.
When we proclaim our faith with the words of the Creed, we not only acknowledge baptism for the forgiveness of sins: we also look for the resurrection of the DEAD— and the life of the world to come.
Until that takes place, what are we to do, and how are we to live?
We are to pray and keep vigil, living as those who have already died to the world.
We are to live for God and his kingdom— God who lives for us.
In the sacrament of the Eucharist, to which we flock until the end of time— in the sacrament of the Eucharist, Christ our King and God has died for us, and lives for us.
We have no need to look for other signs that the world is coming to an end.
Here in the Eucharist, the bread and wine of the world— and even the world itself— already come to an end.
In the Eucharist, Christ is already returning and always present.
Receiving him in his Eucharist, we bear within us both the judgment of God and communion with God.
Because he comes to us and is within us through his Eucharist, we are to live both as those already subject to judgment and as those already in communion with God.
Judgment and communion!
After the Eucharist and beyond the Eucharist, there really is nothing else in world history.

That God Be Glorified in All