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 18, 2008

For Friday of the Fifteenth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Matthew 12:1-8
Isaiah 38:1-6,21-22,7-8

In the first reading we see God move heaven and earth so that sunlight and shadow dance backwards for ten steps of the day.
In the beginning, the Lord God moved heaven and earth to make man on the sixth day of the week that English calls “Friday.”
Seeing “everything that he had made” in six days, the Lord God passed judgment; and his judgment was that “it was very good” [Gn. 1:31].
Then God made the seventh day, and he “blessed the seventh day and hallowed it” [Gn. 2:3] to be shabbát— his day of “rest”— the Sabbath.
For six days God was “useful.”
On his day of rest, we are not to treat him as “useful”— as if his purpose is to do things for us.
Instead we do well to thank and worship him for all that he has already done.
Furthermore, God also wants man to rest on the Sabbath.
So the Sabbath is the day of mindfulness that God has not made us to be useful to him.
It is also the day to be mindful that our fellow men do not exist to be useful to us.
Sabbath is for appreciation and thanksgiving all around, a day of dignity, God’s dignity and man’s.
In the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s dignity moved heaven, earth and the Sabbath for the sake of remaking man’s dignity and joining it to God.
After a Sabbath rest, the united dignity of God and man rose from the dead in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the risen Flesh and Blood of Christ, creation is no longer merely “very good,” but has risen from the dead and sits at the right hand of the Father.
God now entitles us kings like David, to eat and drink even from his altar where the Sabbath is always real.
We are not useful to God.
Rather, we are dignified in his sight.
Let us live up to it with thanksgiving and virtue, lest we forever trample God’s dignity and our own.

That God Be Glorified in All

July 17, 2008

For the Solemnity of Our Lady of Einsiedeln, 16 July

John 19:25-27
Zephaniah 3:14-18a
Galatians 4:4-8

Some of our guests today may be surprised to find us celebrating our Lady under the title of “Einsiedeln” instead of Mount Carmel.
Our Lady’s chapel at Mount Carmel in the Holy Land goes back to the late eleven hundreds.
However, devotion to our Lady at Einsiedeln, Switzerland, is older than that by about two and half centuries.
The monastery at Einsiedeln, Switzerland was founded in the year 934.
Monks from Einsiedeln came to Indiana, U.S.A., in 1854, and built the monastery of St. Meinrad with a church that they named “Our Lady of Einsiedeln.”
In 1958, the monks of St. Meinrad started our monastery here, Prince of Peace Abbey.
This church in which we now worship at Prince of Peace Abbey is named after our Lady of Einsiedeln and enshrines a copy of her darkened image.
In Einsiedeln, Switzerland, the original monastic sanctuary and altar housed a relic of our Lord’s True Cross.
The founding monks of the year 934 in Einsiedeln also honored our Lord’s blessed Mother in their sanctuary of the Cross, so that her statue stands at the altar of the Cross.
So, today in the Gospel, we monastic disciples in the tradition of Einsiedeln return to the Cross to witness the Lord entrusting Mary and his disciple to each other as new mother and new son.
In the Church we become disciples of Christ, witnesses of his Gospel and participants in his Eucharistic pact with humanity, offering worship to the Father in heaven, and receiving our own salvation in that worship.
Mary, at the Cross in the Gospel today, receives the disciple as her new son from Christ her Divine Son.
Mary is the mother of all who obey Christ and take up their crosses to follow him.
Practically two thousand years before any Christian on earth today, Mary was already standing at the foot of the cross of Christ.
If we obey Christ and take up our crosses to follow him, Mary as mother will always be the sign that we are headed in the right direction.
At the beginning of the Lord’s public earthly mission, Mary told the servants of her Son, “Do whatever he tells you.”
At the consummation of the Lord’s public earthly mission, that is, at his cross, the Lord’s only and last words to his Disciple Church were about his mother: “Behold, YOUR mother.”
In the communion of the saints, at the consummation of the Lord’s earthly mission, Mary stands as Mother at the side of her Son’s beloved disciples.
She joins us in the Eucharist just as she stood with the disciple at the foot of the cross on Golgotha.
By being with us for the redemptive sacrifice of her Son, Mary accompanies us to witness his victory over sin and death.
She leads us here to be overshadowed in body and Spirit by her Son’s redeeming Eucharistic Sacrifice of the Cross.
Here God gives us his flesh and blood as food and drink.
Here in his Eucharist, God calls out to the Church as the angel Gabriel called out to Mary:
Hail, full of grace!
The Lord is with Thee.

In our monastery churches, in the Eucharistic House of the Son of Mary, we monks in the tradition of Einsiedeln, have borrowed the Gospel song of Mary in proclaiming every evening for more than a thousand years:
He who is mighty has done great things for me.
Holy is his name!

That God Be Glorified in All

For Tuesday of the Fifteenth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Matthew 11:20-24

The townsfolk of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum were Galilean.
As such, they believed in true God.
Jesus did most of his mighty deeds in those three towns.
He gave sight to their blind.
He made their lame walk again.
He freed their lepers of disease.
He gave hearing to their deaf.
He even raised their dead.
To their poor he preached his Gospel— which for him, earlier in this same chapter [Mt. 11:4-5], is the culmination of his list of mighty deeds.
After all that, and since they believed in true God, Jesus expected them all the more to repent.
Jesus expects people of God to repent.
He speaks today of repentance “in sackcloth and ashes”— repentance serious enough to make even the body uncomfortable.
If we fail to repent, he says today in his Gospel:
Woe to you on the day of judgment!
Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the netherworld.

We have received Christ’s mighty deed of Baptism— Baptism into his death and resurrection.
We bear the name of Christ.
We come here daily to meet him in his mighty Gospel.
Everyday here we eat and drink the mightiest deed of his Eucharistic Body and Blood.
His Body and Blood in which he took on more than sackcloth and ashes!
In which he took on our sins, our lack of repentance, our suffering, our death, our punishment, the cross and the nails!
To expect the mighty deed of the Body and Blood of Christ here is to expect the deadly repentance of Jesus in our place and the atonement of Jesus in our place.
Today in his Gospel he harshly warns that he expects repentance from us who benefit from his mighty deeds.
All the more from us who dare to expect his Eucharist!
Repentance from us, or woe to us, says Jesus today.
We have come here, at least in part, to get what we want from God.
Are we going to give him the repentance he expects?
In the end, God’s expectation of our repentance is not for him, but for us.
He hints at that today.
Will you be exalted to heaven?

Exaltation to heaven is what repentance FINALLY gets.
Exaltation to heaven is what ONLY repentance gets.

That God Be Glorified in All