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.

January 19, 2007

For Friday of the Second Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Mark 3:13-19.

Today the Gospel tells us exactly three things the Lord plans for his apostles.
First: they are to be his companions.
Second: he sends them to preach.
Third: he gives them authority for driving out demons.
With these three intentions, the apostles share in the presence, the mission, and the authority of Christ.
The first apostles handed on what they heard with their own ears, touched with their own hands, and saw with their own eyes.
Because of what the first apostles handed on in the Church, we hold the Church and ourselves in the Church to be “apostolic.”
To be chosen by Christ for communion with him is to enjoy his communion with the Father.
The communion between the Father and the Son is the Holy Spirit.
We receive faith in God— Father, Son and Spirit— from the apostles.
From the Gospel, in all the sacramental mysteries, and from the Eucharistic Altar, we hear, see, and touch the same reality the first apostles heard, saw, and touched.
Christ has chosen each of us as truly as he chose the original twelve apostles.

That God Be Glorified in All

January 17, 2007

For Wednesday of the Second Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Mark 3:1-6

In the Gospel today we see a political party and a religious group plotting together to destroy Jesus.
They are upset that he performs a healing on the Sabbath— that he “works” on that day when the Law of God forbade work.
The Sabbath is made for man, and man is made for God.
The Sabbath is the day for man to give special honor to his maker.
It is also the day that reminds man to honor and obey God’s commandment of love.
So today in the Gospel, a Sabbath day, in a house of worship, we see Christ the Lord honoring God and God’s commandment by showing God’s love in healing the man with the crippled hand.
On that particular Sabbath day, in a house of worship, Christ the Son of God was indeed alive for that poor man.
Whenever we celebrate the Liturgy, God is at work, present for us in his Risen Son and in the sending of the Holy Spirit.
In the Liturgy, God is present and hard at work for us in the words of his Gospel and in the mystery of Christ’s Body and Blood.
In these, God enters this our Christian synagogue, and is present now at this our Christian Sabbath hour.
In his Holy Gospel and in his Blessed Sacrament, he calls out to us, “Come here.”
As we stand before him, he then commands us to stretch out our hands and our hearts to him, so that here in the worship of God, our human nature is restored and made whole.
We are saved here in the worship of God.
Here God’s heart is open to save us.
He is looking to see if our hearts are open like his.
In fact, in the Gospel today, we see Christ our God looking into the hearts of men.
Then, the Gospel testifies to a particular movement in the heart of God—and it is the only time in the four Gospels that we see this particular movement.
When Christ saw that the hearts of the Pharisees were hardened and shut to both his own goodness and the need of the crippled man, Christ was grieved and he looked at them with ANGER.
Here the original language of the Gospel uses a strong word meaning not merely any kind of irritation, but FURY and RAGE.
The real rage, the actual fury, the genuine anger of Jesus has one object in the Gospels: HARDNESS OF HEART.
Hard-heartedness towards the merciful goodness of the Lord, and hard-heartedness towards the misery of a neighbor—hard-heartedness deservedly meets the real, actual, genuine rage, fury and anger of the Lord Jesus.
As we receive God today in his Gospel and his Eucharistic Flesh and Blood, let us pray and work for the ongoing conversion of our hearts, our minds and our actions.

That God Be Glorified in All

January 15, 2007

For Monday of the Second Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Mark 2:18-22

Being God in person and also truly a human being, Christ is the marriage between heaven and earth, between God and humanity.
Today in his Gospel he refers to himself as the Bridegroom.
He speaks of a day when he will be taken away.
That day will be a day for fasting.
Christian fasting is a memorial of the suffering and death of the Lord.
The life of the Church flows out of the death and the resurrection of Christ.
God considers the Church his Bride who gives birth to his children by Baptism.
God teaches us: that Baptism gives us the death of Christ and the resurrection of Christ; that Baptism inserts us into the death of Christ and the resurrection of Christ.
Along with that, God in his word even calls the Church not only his Bride but also his Body.
By giving us the Body and Blood of his Son, God is giving us the power for the same fulfillments that marriage gives—except that he wants to give us those fulfillments forever, not merely “until death do us part.”
This is because Christ the husband of the Church never dies.
As he gives his Body and Blood to his Church, Christ intends to raise his Church from the dead to be with him forever, to fulfill his marriage by giving eternal joy, eternal unity and eternal life.

That God Be Glorified in All

January 14, 2007

For the Second Sunday of the Church Year

John 2:1-11

Today the Gospel tells us that the miracle at the wedding is the beginning of the signs that Jesus did— and that it is also the beginning of the faith of his disciples.
Today we see Jesus join his mother at a wedding celebration in the town of Cana.
Here at Cana he addresses his mother with the formal title of “Woman.”
He does the same later at the Cross.
As he names her “Woman” at both Cana and the Cross, her service goes beyond their private relationship of mother and son.
Today at Cana, Jesus points forward to his Cross by saying to his mother, “My HOUR has not yet come.”
Later, as he comes to the time of his Cross, he announces, “Father, the HOUR has come.”
At Cana, Mary consciously leads the servants to whatever Jesus says, and Jesus makes superior wine flow in plenty out of plain water.
At the Cross, he fulfills his mission in the presence of his mother who sees that there, too, as at Cana, they have no wine.
The Lord is thirsty on the Cross, but receives to drink only wine gone bad— vinegar.
“They have no wine.”
If you and I follow the way of Jesus, then we will go to his Cross as did his mother and one of his disciples.
If we go to the cross of Jesus as his disciple went, then Jesus will give us what he gave his disciple.
The Crucified Lord said to that disciple, “Behold, your mother!”
“And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.”
Today in the Gospel at Cana, Mary tells those who serve the Lord, “Do whatever he tells you.”
If we hear Mary’s words, and we do whatever Jesus tells us, we can experience Jesus at work revealing his glory.
That is what the Gospel tells us today.
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee
and so revealed his glory,
and his disciples began to believe in him.

Before any other disciple believed in Christ, Mary— his First Disciple— already knew his saving glory.
It was she who called his attention to the need to save the bride and groom.
She went among the servants, and with full knowledge she told them how to be servants.
“Do whatever he tells you.”
So, today at Cana, and finally at the Cross, Mary serves as part of a frame and even an instrument of the glory of the Lord.
At Cana, we recognize her as the Lord’s mother, disciple, and servant.
At the Cross, Jesus makes her the mother of his disciple.
“Woman, behold your son!”
“From that hour”— the hour of the Cross— “the disciple took her into his own home.”
Whenever we find that the shadow of the Cross hangs over us, we must hear the Lord say to us, “Behold, your mother.”
As we take her mothering into our lives, we must hear her say how we are to serve Jesus.
“Do whatever he tells you.”
Prompted by Mary to obey her Son, our faith will grow, and we shall be able to see the goodness, the glory, and the joy of Jesus flowing in our lives.

That God Be Glorified in All