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 24, 2007

For Wednesday of the Third Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Mark 4:1-20

With this parable the Lord is teaching us his expectations.
God has planted a seed in each of us.
The seed is both his Spirit and his Word.
He expects us to be “good soil”, freely receiving the seed, and working actively so that the seed grows, flowers and bears fruit.
He expects us to yield profit thirty, sixty or even a hundred times over.
God is looking for results.
He expects our lives to be fruitful for his kingdom.
In his grace he makes himself into the possibility of our meeting his expectations.
Both the possibility and the power come from God, yet “good soil” is not just passive.
Good soil freely works with what God has given.
God wrote his ways and laws into the nature of man’s mind and heart.
In the book of Genesis, God reveals that in creating us he breathes his own Spirit into us.
Moreover, by his own Holy Spirit, he became flesh and blood as a member of humanity.
Then, through his death on the cross, through his flesh and blood resurrection to glory, and through his Eucharist, God breathes, plows and buries himself ever more deeply into our hearts and minds, our bodies and our lives.
It is God that we bear like a seed within us; and if we freely choose to work with what God has given, then it is God himself who grows and blossoms and yields a hundred-fold in us.
However, by a wonderful exchange, it is our human nature that rose and blossomed divine in Christ’s Resurrection.
In the end, our salvation and our resurrection are the hundred-fold yield of fruit the Lord expects from us and for us.
The Eucharist is the real presence of all this.
It is Christ himself: Son of God, Son of man, Son of Resurrection—truly in flesh and blood.
As the risen bearer of the Spirit, Christ is the seed planted in our humanity, and Christ is the beginning of the ripe harvest that is our own glorified humanity— a destiny we take, eat, and drink in the Eucharistic humanity of Christ.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







January 23, 2007

For Tuesday of the Third Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Mark 3:31-35.

Christ counts as his family those whom he points out in two ways.
First, his family consists in those who are sitting around him at his feet.
Second, he considers his family to be those who do the will of God.
To sit at the feet of Christ is to do the will of God, because Christ is God.
Christ does not deny that Mary is his mother.
Nor does he deny that Mary does the will of God.
Rather, today’s Gospel simply continues yesterday’s (Mark 3:22-30) , in which Christ asserts that he bears the Holy Spirit.
Amen, I say to you,
all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them.
But whoever blasphemes against the holy Spirit will never have forgiveness,
but is guilty of an everlasting sin."
For [the scribes from Jerusalem] had said,
"[Jesus] has an unclean spirit."

In his Gospel today, taken together with the final words of his Gospel yesterday, Christ lays a beefy, “in-your-face” claim to being GOD HIMSELF.
He is saying in effect:
To call me demon-possessed
is to commit an eternally unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit who is at work in me,
because I am God.
To sit at my feet is to do the will of God,
because I am God.

So today’s Gospel is not just about who the people OUTSIDE the house are or are not.
Today’s Gospel and yesterday’s are about who CHRIST is.
Some people may not understand who he really is.
Some may misunderstand or even discredit what he says and what he does.
There is no doubt or hesitation in his mind, in his words or in his actions.
He is the Eternal One.
He is the Holy One.
We have come to him in his Eucharist, to sit at his feet, for he is God.
Let take us every pain and care in our daily living to do his will for he is God.
Between Christ and the demons, there is no neutral ground.
… whoever blasphemes against the holy Spirit will never have forgiveness,
but is guilty of an everlasting sin.

Let us do his will, and so receive an eternal home with the angels, the saints and his mother in the house of God, there to be counted forever as his brothers and sisters.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







January 22, 2007

For Monday of the Third Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Mark 3:22-30

Not even the religious authorities doubt that Jesus has been driving out demons.
However, the authorities attempt to discredit him, saying that the power of Jesus as an exorcist is because Jesus is under the possession of the prince of demons.
Jesus simply points out it is nonsensical to say that the devil plunders the devil.
Then, Jesus presses his own personal claims, and presses charges against the scribes.
Amen, I say to you,
all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them.
But whoever blasphemes against the holy Spirit will never have forgiveness,
but is guilty of an everlasting sin."
For they had said,
"He has an unclean spirit."

Jesus asserts that the Holy Spirit is the force for driving out demons.
The scribes would not disagree with that.
However, Jesus has now put before the scribes the fact that they themselves blaspheme to call the obvious work of the Holy Spirit the devil’s work.
To condemn God with such blasphemy is to close the possibility of accepting forgiveness from God, because forgiveness is also the work of the Holy Spirit.
As Jesus said it, “whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.”
The scribes, being the record-keepers and interpreters of the law, know that such blasphemy is punishable by death.
Having attempted to discredit Jesus, they have brought on themselves danger of both bodily death and everlasting damnation.
Here… now… with the Gospel and the altar, we are in the presence of the Holy Spirit at work in the words, the flesh and the blood of Christ.
Here is the power to drive out evil and sin from our lives, and so to retake the kingdom of the Father who has sent his Son to ransom and his Spirit to mark his royal sons and daughters.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







January 21, 2007

For the Third Ordinary Sunday of the Church Year

Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21

In the holy gospel according to Luke, today is the first time that Jesus publicly calls himself the ANOINTED, which is the meaning of both “christ” and “messiah.”
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has ANOINTED me.

We are here today in the name of the Anointed One, Christ, who promised to be with us when we gather in his name.
Today in his Gospel, he says he is here with us:
to bring glad tidings to the poor…
liberty to captives…
sight to the blind…
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Then he adds:
Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.

Do you believe— can you believe— that you personally are fulfilled in Christ with gladness, liberty, sight, acceptance from God, and freedom from oppression,?
That kind of faith is not a matter of pretending you have no problems or suffering.
Rather, God really is here right now, and he really offers each person acceptance, sight, liberty, gladness and freedom from oppression.
The QUESTION— the PROBLEM— the WORK of our faith is to keep in mind and put into practice the acceptance, sight, liberty, gladness and freedom that God is really offering us.
It would be nice if God would just make every problem and all suffering disappear.
As Christians, we acknowledge that when Christ returns at the end of time, he will end all sin, suffering and death.
The scandal is that, until then, we suffer problems, pain, sickness, mistakes, confusion and sin.
These scandals lead some persons to say there is no such thing as an all-powerful and perfectly good being called “God.”
Christ did not come to prove the existence of God.
Christ came to show how God TRULY IS— and what we TRULY ARE.
Christ came to give us TRUTH.
He tells us:
If you continue in my word…
… you will know the TRUTH,
and the truth will make you FREE.

Amen, amen, I say to you,
every one who commits sin is a SLAVE.

Christ sets truth and freedom against sin and slavery.
He tells us that truth will make us free.
There is no freedom without the truth.
Without the truth there is sin and slavery.
Then what is truth?
God is love— but Love that is absolutely free of self-concern: Love that gives everything away— Love that does not need anyone to give love back.
We see the Truth, Love, and Freedom on the cross of Jesus who is both God and man.
The man who suffered and died on the cross is God freely giving himself up and giving himself away in person in human flesh and blood.
The cross shows and gives to the world God’s Truth, God’s Freedom and God’s Love.
The cross shows and gives to the world God’s Goodness, Beauty, Communion, and Solidarity with the human race.
In the flesh and blood of Christ, the whole world and the whole history of flesh and blood is set free from slavery, sin, suffering, and death by being raised from the dead, filled with all the majesty, power and presence of God’s Holy Spirit of Truth, Freedom, Love, Goodness, Beauty and Communion.
The truth is that we human beings are made for happiness and freedom in knowing and loving God— AND IN LOVING AS GOD LOVES.
God wants to fill our entire being with his Spirit of Truth, Freedom, Love, Goodness, Beauty and Communion.
He gives us that Spirit in the same flesh and blood that received birth, death and resurrection in the person of Christ.
That is why he says to us in his Gospel:
If you continue in my word…
… you will know the truth,
and the truth will make you free.

Scripture [1 Tim. 2:4-6] tells us:
God our savior desires all men to be saved
and to come to the knowledge of the truth:
[that] there is one God
and one mediator between God and men…
Christ Jesus who gave himself as a ransom for all.

Right now and right here, we celebrate the presence of our ransom, gladness, and freedom… in person… in the Eucharist of the real Body and real Blood of Christ.
Today in our presence the Scripture is fulfilled.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All