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 03, 2008

For January 3 in the Christmas Season before Epiphany

1 John 2:29 to 3:6
John 1:29-34

The Word of the Lord in the first reading today is about us, while the Gospel today has St. John the Baptist telling about Jesus.
The Word of the Lord in the first reading says we are the children of God, that one day we shall see him as he is, and seeing him will change us in a way yet to be revealed.
The first reading spells out in black and white that we are to leave behind sin and lawlessness, to act in righteousness, and to make ourselves pure in hope of seeing God as he is.
To make ourselves black-and-white pure seems to us impossible, but the first reading says Christ “was revealed to take away sins.”
The Gospel repeats that, saying Christ is “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”
How was Christ revealed, and how does he take away sins?
St. John the Baptist tells us.
The reason John came baptizing with water was so that Christ might be made known.
Were it not for John’s baptizing, it seems Christ would not have been made known.
Baptizing with water, John made it possible for the people to know the Lamb of God.
John baptized them in their own repentance.
Repentance made them ready for knowledge of Christ.
That is still the true way to know Christ.
As the first reading puts it today, “no one who sins has seen him or known him.”
Repentance opens, clears, straightens, smoothes, prepares the way of the Lord.
Once he arrives, Christ, the Lamb of God, baptizes with the Holy Spirit, burning away sin with the power of God, burning up sin in the sacrificial fire of the Cross.
By the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ takes away the sin of the world on his own shoulders and into the fiery sacrifice of the cross.
As the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ is a covenant sacrifice, a communion sacrifice, a whole-burnt offering, and a sin offering.
Take... eat....
This is my body... given up for you.
Take... drink....
This is the cup of my blood...
the blood of the new and everlasting covenant...
shed... so that sins may be forgiven.

As a whole-burnt offering or holocaust, the Lamb of God rises to heaven not in fire and smoke as of old, but in his resurrection and ascension, his flesh and blood glorified with the fiery power of the Holy Spirit.
Because the Holy Spirit in his flesh and blood, Jesus still baptizes with the Holy Spirit all who eat and drink his sacrifice, making them children of the Father, and giving them hope to see God as he is.
The first reading affirms:
Everyone who has this hope based on [God] makes himself pure,
as he is pure.
Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness,
for sin is lawlessness.
You know that he was revealed to take away sins,
and in him there is no sin.
No one who remains in him sins;
no one who sins has seen him or known him.

Those words are black and white, because in the end the truth is black and white: either we shall look on God forever because of our repentance, or we shall not forever because of our sin.
Beloved, we are God’s children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.

Lord, I am not worthy.
Make me ready!
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world.
Have mercy!
By the will of the Father and the work of the Holy Spirit, your death brought life to the world.
By your holy Body and Blood, free me from all my sins, and from every evil!
Keep me faithful to your teaching, and never let me be parted from you!

That God Be Glorified in All


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