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.

June 16, 2008

For Monday of the Eleventh Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Matthew 5:38-42
1 Kings 21:1-16

The Word of God today dishes up things we might greet with sadness, anger and fear.
First, Jezebel arranges a man’s murder so her husband can take the innocent man’s vineyard.
Then, Christ the Lord tells us, “offer no resistance to one who is evil.”
If a man hits you on one side, give him the other side to hit also.
If he wants to take away your shirt, hand him your coat also.
If he uses you for one mile, go along for two.
By taking the Word of God, especially today’s Gospel, out of context, we could make a bad lesson from it:
“Even if it kills you, be a doormat; let men use, rob, and hurt you; be a doormat, even if it kills you.”
Christ goes on, leading up to the end of this chapter tomorrow (5:48):
“So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
The chapter began a week ago.
From beginning to end, Christ the Lord is mapping out the blessed way of God’s children, the perfect children of the perfect Father, the Father of heaven.
[5:10-12] Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of justice,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when men revile you, persecute you, and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

[5:48] So be perfect,
just as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Today’s Gospel, in the context of its whole chapter, does not command us to be mere victim doormats.
Rather, it tells us to expect and even welcome suffering if we are sincere in following, imitating, and serving Christ as sons and daughters of his heavenly Father who is perfect.
In the Body and Blood of Christ, God binds himself to us men and to our salvation in an everlasting covenant.
God is the one who offers us his left cheek after we have hit his right.
In the Body and Blood of Christ, we sue God for his tunic, and he hands us his cloak as well.
In the Body and Blood of Christ, we expect God to serve our needs; we press him into service for at least a mile, but he goes much more than twice that.
Jezebel murdered a man, so that her husband could eat up the man’s property.
In his Body and Blood, Christ suffered murder, so that we— for whose sins he died— could eat and drink his resurrection.
His all is for the glory of his Father and for the everlasting, joyous welfare of humanity.
If we are to be in “Holy Communion” with Christ, then we must risk our all and offer our all to be available to serve the glory of the Father and the authentic welfare of humanity.

That God Be Glorified in All