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 25, 2007

For Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter

John 21:15-19

Among God's ancient people, the only ones who gave or changed a man's name were a man's father or God himself.
The Lord Jesus, acting as God and as father to Simon son of John, had changed his name to "Rock" -- "Peter."
However, today in the Gospel, the Lord drops the name of "Rock," and goes back to calling the man "Simon."
Underscoring the old name,
the Lord calls him by both his former first name and his Hebrew last name: "Simon son of John."
The man the Lord had called to be "Rock" had not stood firm.
When the wolves had come to snatch Christ the Good Shepherd, Simon the hireling ran away.
Simon ran away despite having said, "Lord ... I will lay down my life for you."
Three times today, the Lord sets aside the name of "Rock," and goes back to the former "Simon son of John," as if to say each of the three times, "You have not been a rock."
Addressing Simon son of John three times, the Lord asks him a question three times, and Simon gives an answer three times.
Each time Simon gives an answer, the Lord gives him a command.
First: "Feed my lambs!"
Second: "Tend my sheep!"
Third: "Feed my sheep!"
The last time before today that the Lord spoke of sheep, he said, "I am the Good Shepherd."
The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
He who is a hireling and not a shepherd,
whose own the sheep are not,
sees the wolf coming
and leaves the sheep
and flees....
He flees because he is a hireling
and cares nothing for the sheep.

Today, the Lord commands Simon three times to feed and tend his lambs and sheep, to be a good shepherd of the Lord's flock, to lay down his life for the Lord and the Lord's flock.
Then the Lord prophesies that Simon will eventually be a Rock and a Good Shepherd.
Amen, amen,
I say to you,
when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself
and go where you wanted;
but when you grow old,
you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go.

The Gospel then adds that the Lord said this to show how Peter would finally give glory to God.
Every time Christ the Good Shepherd speaks from his altar, he declares and really presents himself as the Lamb of God who gives up his body for us -- though we only sometimes flock as sheep to him, but other times we rip into him as wolves, or run away like cowardly hirelings.
However, from his altar he also invites us into a covenant in his blood.
In the Word of the Lord, a covenant is always two parties making life and death vows to each other.
The New and Everlasting Covenant of the Good Shepherd and Lamb of God commands us in his memory to give up our bodies for him and shed our blood for him, because he has already given up his body for us and shed his blood for us.

That God Be Glorified in All


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