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.

December 02, 2006

For the Last Day of the Church Year, Saturday of the Thirty-Fourth Ordinary Week

Luke 21:34-36

Forty days after rising from the dead, Christ ascended bodily into the invisible glory of heaven.
On Pentecost, ten days after Christ’s ascension, the very first PUBLIC revelation of the Spirit-filled Church took place while the apostles were joined in prayer together with Mary the mother of Jesus.
Ever since then, the Church is still renewed and publicly revealed by the power of the Spirit in the Sacraments— especially here in the Mass, the celebration of the Eucharist, the Flesh and Blood of Christ.
The Eucharist reveals and renews the Church with the power of the Holy Spirit.
It is here that we receive the ability to do what Christ teaches us today in his Gospel.
Today Christ ends the lesson he has been giving us all week— this final week of the Church year.
One day Christ will amaze the universe as he returns with power and glory to gather his Church into the final fulfillment of the Kingdom.
We must cultivate a lively hope for that day by living upright lives, keeping our hearts ready, watchful, sober and steadfast.
Today Christ also tells us to pray for strength— just as the apostles prayed with Mary for Pentecost.
When Christ returns, he wants to find us on the lookout for him— just as the apostles and Mary were on the lookout for the Spirit.
For all these realities, Christ always and already gives us the possibility, the power, the opportunity and the presence— here, as we celebrate, offer up and receive his Flesh and Blood and Spirit in the Church.

That God Be Glorified in All

December 01, 2006

For Friday of the Thirty-Fourth (and Final) Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Luke 21:29-33

Christian faith and baptism meet the end of the world and the coming of the kingdom in EVERY generation— in EVERY person who believes and is baptized.
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 Spirit of God our Father in Christ is given to us.
In the sacraments of Christ in the Church, the end of the world and the definitive coming of God’s kingdom are real, and have already taken place.
Nonetheless, the calendars of world history do not see it.
So, in teaching us to pray, the Lord himself tells us to ask for the coming of the kingdom— the coming that will bring with it the resurrection of the BODY.
Christ himself and his resurrection, as well as 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, 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.
Here in the Eucharist we now celebrate, Christ our King and God has already died for us, and now invincibly lives for us.
We have no need to look for other signs that the world is coming to an end.
Here in the Eucharist, bread and wine and the world already come to an end.
In this sacrament, the kingdom of life and the living flesh and blood of Christ are real and present.
Here in the Eucharist, God is with us until the end of time.

That God Be Glorified in All

November 30, 2006

For the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, 30 November

Matthew 4:18-22

Today in his Gospel, the Lord calls his first four disciples.
His Gospel has already explained that what is taking place is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah.
… the people who sat in darkness have seen a GREAT LIGHT,
and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death
LIGHT has dawned.

Like a great flash of light, the Lord suddenly shows up while Simon and Andrew are fishing, and he says to them, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”
Straightaway they follow him.
A short time later, it is the same with James and John mending fishnets in a boat with their father.
The Lord calls them also.
Straightaway they leave the nets, the boat and their father.
These four men interrupt their lives ON THE SPOT to follow someone who appears to be a complete stranger.
Echoing the words that the Lord spoke through Isaiah, we can say of these four fishermen:
James and John,
Simon and Andrew—
these men who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
and for these men who sat in the region and shadow of death
light has dawned.

In the midst of darkness and death, the dawning of a great light can inspire men to interrupt their lives on the spot to follow the light.
Who is the GREAT LIGHT whom James, John, Simon and Andrew follow?
St. Paul today, by his letter to the Romans, tells us what these men and all the apostles have declared concerning the GREAT LIGHT.
The apostles confess, believe and preach that Jesus is Lord.
The Father of heaven raised him from the dead.
Christ Jesus saves and justifies all who confess and believe in him.
He snatches them from eternal death and makes them holy.
CHRIST THE GREAT LIGHT comes to us through the apostles in the Church and the sacraments.
When we are in darkness, our faith can allow us to receive the GREAT LIGHT OF CHRIST through the sacraments, the Church and the apostles.
When we are lost in the shadow of death, our faith allows the light of Christ to dawn for us through the sacraments, the Church and the apostles.
Here in his Eucharist, Christ still appears as a stranger on the shores of a foreign land.
He still interrupts our work.
Here in his Eucharist he still calls out to us, “Come follow me!”
Here we have the perpetual opportunity to drop everything else in our lives, and immediately follow Christ, the Dawn of Great Light.

That God Be Glorified in All

November 29, 2006

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

Luke 21:12-19

All this week, the Lord in his Gospel speaks of the extraordinary and unusual: persecutions, arrests and trials against believers when the end of the world approaches, and the return of the Lord is imminent.
However, there are two instructions in the Lord’s Gospel today that we must take to heart even in the midst of the ordinary, the usual, the seemingly unimportant or trivial, the daily, the banal, the common, and the regular.
Today the Lord says we are to be “giving testimony.”
He also says today, “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”
We worship God for the utterly free outpouring of his goodness and love in the wonders of creation and redemption.
We are to bear testimony to this worshipful faith not only in the dramas of suffering and martyrdom.
Our faith and grateful worship are most authentic when we invest even the small, ordinary and regular responsibilities and events of our daily lives with a simple and ordinary outpouring of ourselves, so that we become— in this small, simple and ordinary outpouring— the mirror images of God in his utterly free self-outpouring of goodness and love.
If we patiently and unselfconsciously persevere in this, we will secure our lives, take hold of our souls, and become what we are made to be: images and likenesses of God.
Here in the Eucharist, he spends and pours out the Holy Spirit upon our bread and wine so that they become for us the Body and Blood of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who spent and poured out himself for the glory of his Father and for our salvation.
Let us persevere in imitating him in this, by gratefully spending and pouring out ourselves in the ordinariness of daily living, so that we may bear testimony as to WHOSE images, WHOSE sons and daughter we are.

That God Be Glorified in All

November 28, 2006

For Tuesday of the Thirty-Fourth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Luke 21:5-11

Today in his Gospel, the Lord says the Temple of God in Jerusalem will be torn stone from stone.
That is what the Romans did about forty years after the Lord said so.
However, the Lord also used the tearing down of the temple as a symbol of his own death.
In the Scriptures of both the Old and New Testaments, the Temple is the home of God.
Because of that the Temple is also a place of worship.
Christ is the Temple of God, and so he is the place where God is to be worshipped.
He was torn down dead from the cross.
On the third day after, he rose from the dead.
When his stone tomb was torn open— stone from stone— it was already empty.
Christ the Temple of God in Person is no longer present in the same way as before.
When he returns, it will not matter if this building, a church building, a temple— it will not matter if this is still standing when Jesus returns to let us see him face to face.
Every Sunday we profess that he will return to judge the living and the dead.
The Lord tells us in his Gospel today.
Do not be terrified;
for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.

See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
“…. The time has come.”
Do not follow them.

The only one we are to follow is Christ who says:
This is my body.
This is my blood.

In sacrificing himself on the cross, Christ has chosen to shoulder the burden of divine judgment against sin, to carry it to the grave, his own grave.
In the resurrection of Christ from the grave, a new door has opened for all sinners.
To pass through that open door, we shall have to be willing even to be torn stone by stone from sin— torn away from sin.
That is a work Christ has already undergone for us.
Yet, we must freely follow.
He comes now, giving up his body for us, shedding his blood that sins may be forgiven.

That God Be Glorified in All

November 27, 2006

For Monday of the Thirty-Fourth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Luke 21:1-4

The Lord is inside the Temple compound.
He calls our attention to a poor widow who has “offered her whole LIVELIHOOD.”
She is depositing her entire LIFE in the Temple.
As it was with widows in the Lord’s time, she probably survived by begging.
Still, she gave everything she had to the Temple of God.
What did she get out of that kind of sacrifice?
We have no indication that God repaid her with more success at begging.
Also, it seems no one else but Jesus paid any notice to her two small coins; so we cannot say that her generosity brought her a good reputation.
What did she get out of her sacrifice?
Her sacrifice stretched her trust in God.
Her sacrifice strengthened her spiritual freedom to not let any limitation shut her heart to the smallest and the simplest expression of her reverence for God.
You and I are also in “the temple” here and now.
Christ also has come.
Through his Eucharist he is here to drop his entire livelihood, his entire life, into what he considers his temple: us.
The Eucharist— for each of us barely the beginning of a mouthful— yet it is Christ giving us his all, out of both the poverty of his death and the immensity of his resurrection.
All of it.
How will each of us spend the treasure he gives to our souls?
Allowing it to make a difference— that is up to us.

That God Be Glorified in All

November 26, 2006

For the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King, 26 November A.D. 2006

John 18:33-37

In speaking of his being a king, Jesus says:
For this I was born
and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.

Jesus the King is a witness and servant of the truth.
Jesus had already unfolded the truth with the life he lived, the work he did, the message he taught and the prayers he offered.
In fact, the last time Jesus spoke of being a SERVANT OF THE TRUTH was in a prayer he offered at his Last Supper.
Here is what Jesus said about the truth as he prayed for us at the Last Supper [see John 17:21-26].
As you, Father, are in me,
and I am in you,
may they also be in us.
I have given them the glory that you, Father, have given me,
that they may be one
even as you, Father, and I are one,
I in them,
and you, Father, in me.
You, Father, have sent me
and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Father, I desire that they also,
whom you have given me,
may be with me where I am,
to behold my glory that you have given me before the foundation of the world.
I made known to them your name,
and I will make it known,
that the love with which you have loved me may be in them,
and I in them.

The truth is that Jesus wants us to enjoy the same love that he and the heavenly Father have for each other.
So, the TRUTH is that Jesus has come to give us the same love that he receives from his Father.
Jesus who is God has come to give us everything that is his.
Recall carefully what Jesus prayed at his Last Supper.
I have given THEM the glory that YOU have given ME.
YOU, Father, have loved THEM
even as you have loved ME.
Father, I desire that they also,
whom you have given me,
may be with me where I am.
Father, I made known to them your name…
that the love with which YOU have loved ME may be in THEM.

As our King, the greatest concern of Jesus is to share with us the love that the Eternal Father gives him.
When Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan, the Father’s voice came out of heaven and said:
This is my Son,
my beloved,
with whom I am well pleased.

The truth is that when each of us was baptized, God said the same thing of each of us:

In the Body and Blood of Christ Jesus, we eat and drink the Father’s love for his only-begotten eternal Son.
That is exactly what Jesus said to the Father at the first Eucharist— at the Last Supper.
I made known to them your name…
that the love with which you have loved me may be in them,
and I in them.

Christ our King gives himself to us as food for everlasting life.
He wants to bring each of us into his own joy as the beloved of the Father.
God has already given, but we must take care that our hands, our hearts and minds are open to receive.
How do we open up?
He told us in the last words of his Gospel today.
For this I was born
and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth LISTENS TO MY VOICE.

By our obedience to the teaching of Jesus, we open ourselves up to receive the joy he wants to give without end.
Jesus the King gives up his Body and sheds his own Blood so that sinners might rejoice with him forever as the royal sons and daughters of God.

That God Be Glorified in All