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.

September 29, 2007

For the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels

John 1:47-51
Revelation 12:7-12 or Daniel 7:9-10,13-14

The first person to tell the Gospel of Jesus Christ on earth was St. Gabriel the Archangel.
The first person on earth to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ from St. Gabriel was the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Whenever we celebrate the Gospel here at Mass, we celebrate what began as the message of an angel.
If we are to live out the blessing and the mission of the Gospel— if we are to ascend into heaven on the Son of Man— we will do so only if we imitate in word and deed the answer the Blessed Virgin gave to the Holy Archangel.
Behold, the slave of the Lord!
Be it done unto me according to your word!

Today in his Gospel, the Lord Jesus Christ tells us that even the angels come and go between heaven and earth through him.
If you and I choose to serve the Lord, choose to obey his word, and thus choose freedom to ascend into the joy of heaven that the Son of Man has opened for us, then we shall have the angels with us on the way.
In fact, even now as we worship God here at this sacrificial table, Jesus tells us that we have angels in heaven who stand for each of us and look always into the face of the Father [Mt. 18:10].
While they behold the face of God for us, our worship here on earth echoes the angelic songs.
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men who have the goodwill of God!

Holy, holy, holy God the Lord of armies!

Our present American translation of the “Holy, Holy, Holy” avoids the Biblical word, “armies,” and says instead, “God of power and might.”
The Word of the Lord challenges our evasive ideas about God and about angels.
Western images of angels are either fat, naked, baby boys, or pretty women wearing enough cloth for at least two wedding dresses.
If we were to draw instead on the Word of the Lord for visions of angels, we would see:
angels strong enough to wrestle with men for hours on end;
angels clad and armed for war;
angels mighty for harvesting the peoples of all times and all places.

Angels are spirits, and do not really have bodies.
Nonetheless, the Word of the Lord reveals them to us in ways that our mind’s eye can grasp.
In order to see the angels as the Lord shows them to us in his Gospel, we must toss out falsehoods that our culture puts before us, and we must take back truths that our culture refuses to acknowledge.
The Lord in his Gospel shows us over and over again a consistent vision of the angels.
Here is what he tells us again and again through his Gospel— four times in Matthew, twice in Mark, and twice in Luke [Mt. 13; Mt. 16; Mt. 24; Mt. 25; Mk. 8; Mk. 13; Lk. 9; Lk. 12].
At the end of time, all the peoples of the earth shall see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, seated on his throne, in the great glory of his Father, with power and with his angels.
He will send out his angels to gather his chosen ones from all times and places.
Then, he will repay each man for what he has done.
Everyone who has acknowledged Christ before men, Christ in turn will acknowledge before the holy angels.
The Son of Man will send his angels also to gather all causes of sin and all evildoers.
Then he will say, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
The holy angels will throw the evildoers into the furnace of fire for eternal punishment.
The righteous will shine forever like the sun in the kingdom of their Father with the holy angels.

That is the real Gospel, in which Jesus is speaking of his angels not by way of parable, but as a foretelling.
It is not the Old Testament.
The reality of the true, angelic Gospel defies today’s false sophistication and the so-called “new age” that is as old as sin.
The angels of Christ stand ready for each of us.
As we worship at the altar of Christ, we have angels in heaven standing for us and looking without cease into the face of God.
At Mass, the ancient Eucharistic Prayer from the city of Rome asks that those angels might uphold in heaven the sacrificial worship we give to God here at this altar, so that we might receive from this altar the sacrosanct Body and Blood of the Son of God, and be filled with every heavenly blessing and grace.
If that is to be so for us, then angels and archangels must see us choosing and living out the answer of the Blessed Virgin to the Archangel.
Behold, the slave of the Lord!
Be it done unto me according to your word!

That God Be Glorified in All

September 25, 2007

Concerning the Parable in Last Sunday's Gospel

LUKE 16:1-13
Jesus said to his disciples,
“A rich man had a stewardwho was reported to him for squandering his property.
He summoned him and said,
‘What is this I hear about you?
Prepare a full account of your stewardship,
because you can no longer be my steward.
’The steward said to himself,
‘What shall I do,
now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me?
I am not strong enough to dig
and I am ashamed to beg.
I know what I shall do so that,
when I am removed from the stewardship,
they may welcome me into their homes.’
He called in his master’s debtors one by one.
To the first he said,
‘How much do you owe my master?’
He replied,
‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’
He said to him,
‘Here is your promissory note.
Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’
Then to another the steward said,
‘And you,
how much do you owe?’
He replied,
‘One hundred kors of wheat.’
The steward said to him,
‘Here is your promissory note;
write one for eighty.’

And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.
“For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.
I tell you,
make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth,
so that when it fails,
you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones;
and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.
If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth,
who will trust you with true wealth?
If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another,
who will give you what is yours?
No servant can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve both God and mammon.”

It seems odd that Jesus positively recommends to us the corrupt, self-serving solution of the steward in the parable.

However, strangely enough, the steward's method does offer an image of what Jesus himself has done for us.

Jesus has taken the debt that we owe to the Father, and has written off a great part of it.

That God Be Glorified in All