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.

November 17, 2007

For Saturday of the Thirty-Second Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Luke 18:1-8

Before Jesus begins his parable today, the Gospel says it is about the necessity for disciples to pray always without becoming weary.
At the end of this parable, Jesus asks if he will find faith on earth when he returns.
From all this, we understand that faith prays, and that prayer has faith.
No faith, no prayer.
No prayer, no faith.
When Jesus, the Son of Man, returns, will he find prayer on earth, will he find faith on earth?
He will return as judge.
We say it every Sunday in the Creed: He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.
Will he find us alive in faith and prayer?
And if we are alive in faith and prayer, how does that look?
It looks like disciples of Jesus who know they have a Father in heaven.
It looks like disciples who let the Father be a king in their lives.
It looks like disciples who do the will of God on earth with the standards of heaven.
Disciples who are alive in faith and prayer depend more on God than on bread that fills only for a day.
Disciples who are alive in faith and prayer are always repenting of sin and asking God for mercy.
Disciples who are alive in faith and prayer forgive the sins of others.
Disciples who are alive in faith and prayer obediently follow when God leads them away from temptation.
Though God delivers us from evil, disciples who are alive in faith and prayer also take pains on their own to shun evil.
The poor widow in the Lord’s parable today knew that her pushy, hardheaded, stick-to-itiveness was a matter of life and death.
Are you and I awake to the fact that prayer is a matter of life and death?
In the book that is the final Revelation of the word of the Lord [Rev. 3:15-16], Jesus the Son of Man returns, and he says:
I know your works.
You are neither cold nor hot.
Would that you were cold or hot!
So, because you are lukewarm,
and neither cold nor hot,
I will spew you out of my mouth.

In the Eucharist today and everyday, when God receives us and we receive him, if we choose to remain neither cold nor hot in faith and prayer, then we are the same as if we had spewed the Eucharist out of our mouths.
When Christ the Son of Man comes in his Eucharist and finally in his glory, will he find prayer and faith alive in us?

That God Be Glorified in All

November 12, 2007

For Monday of the Thirty-Second Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Luke 17:1-6

All too often I have heard persons confess being judgmental as a sin.
If that were undoubtedly and always a sin, then what would one do with the command from Jesus in his Gospel today?
If your brother sins,
rebuke him!

Furthermore, Jesus says today that it were better for a man if people drowned him, weighting his body to rot at the bottom of the sea, rather than for that man to cause SCANDAL.
I used the word “scandal” there, rather than the word “sin” that appears in the Lectionary translation, because the original language has the word “scandal” here, not the word “sin.”
Our San Diego Diocese is presently reeling from the monetary punishments the civil court levied for the scandals a small minority of priests perpetrated.
Why are we not reeling instead from today’s Gospel?
Scandals will inevitably occur,
but woe to the PRIEST through whom they occur.
It would be better off for such a priest
if a millstone were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea
to drown, sink, and rot,
than for him to scandalize one of these little ones.

Thank God that the civil courts did not cite today’s Gospel of the Lord, and tell the Church of the Lord:
Hand over those priests!
We are going to chain them to boulders,
and throw them into the sea,
just as your Jesus described.

Harsh though the words of Jesus really are here, he goes right on to
tell the work of mercy.
If your brother sins,
rebuke him!
If he repents,
forgive him!

Jesus tells us to act on our judgment that a deed be good or a sin.
Having judged that a man has sinned, we are to rebuke him.
Out of a loving wish that the sinner repent, find salvation, and in the end be made one with God in glory and joy.
That is the work of mercy.
It is an UN-merciful culture that tells us it is wrong to judge and pronounce right from wrong.
Such is a culture without faith.
The Apostles reeled and recognized the need for faith as they heard the mercilessly harsh and harshly merciful teaching of Jesus in his Gospel today.
The Apostles said to the Lord,
“Increase our faith.”

He answered that with only a speck of faith their words would make trees fly up in the air and stand up in the sea.
I haven’t seen anyone do that around here, so I wonder if there’s not a speck of faith to be found among us.
If we can’t make trees fly and tread water, then we ought to be satisfied with rebuking sinners, and forgiving them when they repent— no matter how often it may be necessary to rebuke sinners and forgive the repentant.
That’s what Jesus wants.
That’s why in his Eucharist he still chooses to be the victim swallowed by our scandals and our sins, yours and mine.

That God Be Glorified in All

November 11, 2007

For the Thirty-Second Ordinary Sunday of the Church Year

[Today it is not my turn to preach at the monastery's Mass. Here is a homily from the past.]

Luke 20:27-40

Even before his own death and resurrection, the Lord pointed to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as living proof of the resurrection.
Today in his Gospel, they are signs of the timeless saving power of the Lord who suffered, died, was buried, and rose from the dead.
In our Profession of Faith at every Sunday Mass we say:
We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.

What will the resurrection be like?
Right now, our bodily life, physical fertility, the conceiving and bearing of children are already spiritual realities, spiritual events.
Our physical fertility and fruitfulness share and reveal the creative power of the Spirit, the Lord the Giver of Life.
The body’s fruitfulness is an essential part of our being images of God the Creator.
Still, our Lord tells us today that in the resurrection we will also go beyond human marriage and childbirth.
All who receive and obey the mission of celibacy in the Church are ambassadors and prophets.
By celibacy they announce the Church’s faith in the resurrection— a faith pointing to a future already present in our lives and guaranteed by God.
The sacrament of marriage also points to future glory in Christ.
The fulfillment that man and woman can give each other becomes in the sacrament a sign and an instrument of a greater fulfillment in Christ.
The sacrament points to God’s love shining on and from the human body of the risen Christ.
Through each other, a husband and wife receive the call to die to their individual selves and to live for God.
Sacramental marriage points to the Eucharist: a pact of communion consummated by death to self and life for another.
Celibacy also points to the Eucharist in which the material world in bread and wine already comes to an end, surrendering itself as powerless before the real risen Body and the real living Blood of Christ.
Neither marriage nor celibacy may “work out”, unless together with Christ in his Eucharist we choose to die to self-centeredness so as to rise living for the good of others and the glory of God.
Each human person is created to say, “Yes,” to more than himself.
The Lord’s final words in his Gospel today are about those who have risen from death:
To [God] all are alive.

When we rise from the dead, everything in us shall come alive for God, just as God is already entirely alive for us.
In his Eucharist he is entirely alive for us.
In giving himself to us in his Eucharist he is already feeding us the life of the world to come.

That God Be Glorified in All