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 27, 2007

For Pentecost Sunday

[In the monastery on Pentecost Sunday, the superior presides at all the Divine Offices and the Mass. Since I am not the superior, here is the homily I preached in a parish last year.]


John 20:19-23

Today in the Gospel, we return with the apostles, the Church, and the Spirit to the day of the Resurrection itself, the first Easter Sunday.
On the day of his resurrection, our Lord shows us HIMSELF and the power of the Holy Spirit.
First: he shows us his BODY— with his pierced hands and his side stabbed open.
It is his real BODY, risen from the dead.
Second: the Risen Lord BREATHES on us, and says, “Receive the Holy SPIRIT.”
Third he says:
If you FORGIVE the SINS of any,
they are forgiven....

Three important things:
one, his BODY;
two, the Holy BREATH or SPIRIT of God;
three, the FORGIVENESS OF SINS.

Something similar or parallel to these three things took place at the beginning of human life on earth:
BODY,
BREATH,
SIN.

In the first book of Sacred Scripture, “The Book of Genesis,” we see the Lord create the universe and humanity.
In creating us, the Lord God formed us of dust from the earth: a BODY.
So, the first important sign the Risen Lord gives in his Resurrection Gospel is the BODY.
In his Resurrection, the Lord shows us his real BODY— raised from the dead and now eternally glorified— but a real human body nonetheless.
The Book of Genesis tells us that after God shaped the body of the first man from the clay of the earth, the Lord then BREATHED his own BREATH, the SPIRIT of Life, into the earthly BODY of man.
So, in the resurrection of Christ, the second important event is the BREATH of God, the giving of the SPIRIT.
In his Resurrection, the Lord BREATHES out the Holy BREATH— God’s Holy SPIRIT— upon the first members of his Church which is his BODY—just as long ago the Creator had BREATHED his Holy SPIRIT of Life into the earthen BODY of Adam.
After the Lord God formed Adam’s BODY and BREATHED into it his own SPIRIT, Scripture tells us that living man later went on to SIN against God.
So, the third signal event in the resurrection of Christ is the giving of authority and power to FORGIVE SINS.
In the Resurrection of Christ, God creates our humanity all over in a new way:
a BODY;
the BREATH or SPIRIT of God;
the FORGIVENESS OF SINS.

The apostles were the first to know these truths and pass them on.
On the first Pentecost Sunday, fifty days after Christ rose from the dead, God publicly revealed these truths and their power in the midst of the apostles, publicly in the midst of the Church.
The Resurrection of Christ together with the Power of the Spirit is the New and Final Truth of the Human Race— the New Beginning of the human race.
The New Beginning is handed over to us.
It is planted in us— and we are planted in it— by the sacraments, especially Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist.
Most especially in the Eucharist, our real BODIES receive the promise and the beginning of resurrection, and God’s Spirit BREATHES within us.
In the Eucharist, the present world of bread and wine comes to an end.
In the Eucharist, there is only the reality of Christ in his Real Body and Real Blood— with the unity, truth, and power of the Holy Spirit.
We eat and drink the glory that God offers to his sons and daughters.
What will we do with our bodily lives, what will we do with the Holy Spirit and the glory that God has already given us— the glory that we eat and drink and celebrate this day?
What will we do?

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All