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.

March 28, 2008

For Friday within the Octave of Easter, the Passover of Our Lord Jesus Christ

John 21:1-14
Acts 4:1-12

Today is the second of only two times the name of Nathanael shows up in the Gospel of John.
The first time was just before the wedding at Cana in Galilee.
Today the Gospel tells us for the only time that Nathanael was from Cana in Galilee.
So, Nathanael is one of the clues that today’s last miracle of Jesus before his ascension is to be understood like his first miracle, the one at Cana.
At Cana, newlywed husband and wife had no wine for their wedding day.
Today, seven children, as Jesus calls the seven disciples today, have no fish after an entire night of work.
At Cana, his first miracle, Jesus changed water of ritual purification into a huge overflow of top-notch wine.
Today, his last miracle, he changes the empty nightlong failure of his children into an overflowing catch of fish, and specifically large fish at that.
At both Cana and today, the miracles happen by Jesus giving orders and by men obeying him.
Today, his last miracle both began and ended by saying Jesus revealed himself to his disciples.
Cana his first miracle ended the same way.
This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee,
and revealed his glory;
and his disciples believed in him.

Jesus reveals his boundless glory to his disciples.
His is the glory of a father, because in his Gospel today Jesus calls his disciples “children.”
Children, have you caught anything to eat?

JESUS OUR GLORIOUS FATHER provides for his needy children far more and far better than we can measure, use, or need, because what the risen Jesus gives us is the Holy Spirit from his own Father.
As the Father to me,
even so I to you:
Receive the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit has no measure, no end, no beginning.
Nonetheless, the gift is no oppressive superimposition that massively overcomes the needy with its eternity and infinity.
The outsized gift in the Gospel today doesn’t tear the net.
Mysteriously, by a command of Jesus, the Church really handles the Holy Gift that is too much for men.
The seven disciples in the boat today could not pull the overabundant gift into the boat.
Nonetheless, once all the disciples are standing on the shore with the Lord, Jesus gives another command, and Simon Peter is able to drag the whole gift ashore by himself.
Right after the last words in today’s Gospel, Jesus takes Simon Peter aside, and charges him three times with feeding the eternal, infinite gift to the children of Jesus.
Simon, son of John, feed my lambs!

Simon, son of John, shepherd my little sheep!

Simon, son of John, feed my little sheep!

Follow me!

It was Simon Peter today who told the other disciples, “I am going fishing.”
Hearing his initiative, the others said to him, “We also will come with you.”
If we want to receive and eat the gift of the Father’s Spirit that Jesus gives, then we must get into the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic boat of Simon Peter.
Together with Peter, the humanly futile Church working through the night of this world will accomplish nothing unless it hears and obeys the command of the Lord who has risen on the shore before dawn and is ready with fire and food.
As Peter and John proclaim in the first reading today, we shall receive:

Today in the final words of the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we joined the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church in saying:



That God Be Glorified in All

March 25, 2008

For Tuesday within the Octave of Easter, the Passover of Our Lord Jesus Christ

John 20:11-18
Acts 2:36-41

In the place where Jesus had been crucified there was a garden with a new tomb that had never held a body, and that was where Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus buried the body of Jesus: a virginal tomb in a garden.
In the beginning, after the Lord God made man’s body, and breathed into his body the Spirit of Life, the Lord God then took up gardening, changing the order of his creation by planting a garden; and that garden was where the Lord God put the living being called “man”: a virginal garden.
The burial of the Lord Jesus in a garden’s virginal tomb and his new life in that garden are signs that our Lord and God has made for us a new “In the Beginning.”
“In the Beginning,” the Lord God was a gardener, and now Mary Magdalene takes the Lord God for a gardener.
Mary does not yet know that all things are again “In the Beginning,” that the Lord God is a gardener, and that the gardener is the Lord God.
Mary is looking for a dead body, not a living being.
“Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.”
She’s ready, all alone, to take on the dead weight of a corpse with her own hands.
The Holy Gardener suddenly opens her mind to know who he really is, but she immediately closes her hands upon the body of him who is no longer dead.
He commands her to let go, but he puts something else in her hands.
She is to carry news for the brethren that the human body ascends in Jesus to his Father who is their Father and their God.
That is what we are to grab onto and carry to others—
— that for us men and for our salvation, he has risen from the dead with a living body that Mary Magdalene actually held with her own two hands—
— that in him our once-defeated, but everlastingly victorious flesh and blood shows itself off from the throne of God—
— that this is our new “In the Beginning.”
Stop holding onto me,
for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and tell them,
“I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.”

How is this new beginning to take shape in our lives?
What are we to do?
Fifty days after Mary Magdalene grabbed the resurrection, the apostle Peter told us what to do.
Repent and be baptized,
every one of you,
in [Greek, “epi”] the name of Jesus Christ,
for [Greek, “eis”] the forgiveness of your sins;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Repent: to turn over our feelings, thoughts, and choices in light of the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus.
Be baptized: to hand over our real bodies to be dunked INTO [Greek, “eis”] the forgiveness of our sins, the forgiveness that stands UPON [Greek, “epi”] Jesus himself— to hand over our real bodies in Baptism through which God hands over his Holy Spirit to us.
Mary Magdalene held the resurrection in her own two hands.
With her, we are to let go of the dead past of sin in our thoughts, words, and deeds, and, through repentance and Baptism, to carry instead the new beginning, the resurrection, in our thoughts words, deeds.
As surely as the water of Baptism did actually wet our heads bodily, our bodies shall rise as real as the one Mary Magdalene took hold of in the garden.
If we have truly repented, then by the Holy Spirit we shall ascend in flesh and blood to join Jesus with his Father who is our Father and God.
This shall be so, as surely as the flesh and blood he gives us to eat and drink.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God,
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.
[The private prayer of preparation before a priest receives Holy Communion]

That God Be Glorified in All