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.

July 12, 2008

For the Fourteenth Ordinary Saturday of the Church Year

Matthew 10:24-33

The complexities of our big and small choices and reasons throughout our lives boil down to two results.
Either we have freely chosen to go to our heavenly Father, or we have freely chosen to go elsewhere.
And there is only one elsewhere.
Today in his Gospel, Jesus calls it by the Hebrew name of “Gehenna.”
To the south and west of ancient Jerusalem, the valley of Gehenna was where men used to sacrifice and burn their sons and daughters to gain some selfish favor from the idol Moloch.
Later, in the time of Jesus, Gehenna was a place to dump and burn trash.
In the teaching of Jesus, God lets us choose Gehenna for ourselves.
Choices always have consequences: either unto life with God, or unto Gehenna.
Depending on our choices, Jesus says today he will deny us before his Father if we deny him before men.
He tells us today to “be afraid” of being destroyed body and soul in Gehenna.
Yet, he also says three times today, “do not be afraid.”
Our reason to stand against fear is that God in Christ has given us both the gift of a new beginning and the gift of a final success story.
Christ is the new beginning of the human race, and Christ is the final success story of the human race.
Christ the Son of God chose to remain faithful to the Father, but he chose to do so as a human being— as one of us, as the head of our race.
He chose to take upon himself the consequences of our sinful choices.
By embracing, entering and swallowing OUR deadly, hell-bound POVERTY, Christ gave us the WEALTH of HIS freedom and faithfulness as Son of God.
God has handed over to us his own freedom in his Son, to save our souls and bodies, even counting the hairs of our heads.
The Moloch worshipers sacrificed their children in Gehenna for selfish gain.
God in Christ has sacrificed his Son on Golgotha not for selfish gain but for us.
Let us not deny him by wasting his Body and Blood through our choices to do anything that is not open to God.
The choices that authentically free us always acknowledge and reveal the Father from whom we came and the Father to whom we are returning.

That God Be Glorified in All


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