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.

February 25, 2008

For Monday of the Third Week of Lent

Luke 4:24-30
2 Kings 5:1-15ab

Today in the first reading we find a heathen, Naaman, the leper from Syria, ending up saying “there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.”
Yesterday in the Gospel, we saw a Samaritan— a half-breed and a heretic in the eyes of the people of God— a Samaritan woman shacking up, but she nonetheless led the way for her native townsfolk to join her in believing and saying that Jesus is the Savior of the world.
A heathen, half-breeds, heretics, a hussy— all of them hallowing the name of the Saving God!
In his Gospel today, he is with the people of God in his own hometown at worship on the Sabbath, having received their invitation to read the Scripture to them and to speak about it [Lk. 4:16-20].
They openly marveled at his grace-filled words [Lk. 4:22], but questioned his right to be different from the mere neighbor they thought they knew him to be.
A heathen, a hussy, half-breeds, and heretics would hallow his name, but his homies would not, and he told them off for it.
So to speak:
Amen, I say to you—
thus says the Lord:
through my prophets,
heaven opened to help heathens but ignore you,
for you have ignored my prophets.

Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing [Lk. 4:21].

All his hearers tried to throw him down from the top of their hill.
King Herod had been the first to threaten his life.
Nazareth became the second.
The long way of the cross has begun.
When we come here to the house of the Lord, we need to take pains not to be like the gang of Nazareth, discounting what has long been familiar to us.
You and I are more in danger of this than Nazareth ever was, for we believe and know and eat and drink far more than did Nazareth.
When we come here to worship Christ the Lord, we must take extra pains not to deal with him as if he were like any other hometown neighbor.
Nazareth did not realize or tolerate that their neighbor deserved their reverence, and from their house of worship they took him to throw him off the top of their hill.
You and I must take extra pains to stand in awe of him, his grace, instructions, and teaching, here in his house of prayer.
We must take extra pains to carry him with reverence up to the hilltops, with reverence down into the valleys, and with reverence out onto the plains of our daily lives.
St. Benedict writes about a monk:
He will regard all utensils and goods of the monastery as sacred vessels of the altar.
Nothing is to be neglected.

Daily life is where our worship of Christ is seen to be either honest or dishonest.
Daily life is where Nazareth has the opportunity to welcome its Divine Neighbor, his grace, instructions and teaching— or daily life is where Nazareth tries to kill him.
Daily life is where we walk the way of the cross and the resurrection with Jesus of Nazareth.
Daily life, as St. Benedict says in other words:
Let us never let go of God’s instructions,
but rather hold fast to his teaching in the monastery until death
and share in patience in Christ’s sufferings
so that we may also merit to have a share in his kingdom.
[Prologue 50]

That God Be Glorified in All