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 25, 2008

The Feast of St. James the Apostle

Matthew 20:20-28
2 Corinthians 4:7-15

Bearing in mind that St. James would be the first apostle to undertake the glory of martyrdom for Christ, we can hear and feel more sharply the foretelling in the Lord’s question to the brothers James and John today.
“Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”
They said to him,
“We can.”
He replied,
“My chalice you will indeed drink”

The first apostle to drink it was St. James.
Palestine’s King Agrippa I beheaded him about ten years after the Lord Jesus Christ conquered the cross.
How fitting the apostolic Word of the Lord in today’s first reading for the feast of St. James!
We are ... struck down, but not destroyed;
always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.
For we who live are constantly being given up to death
for the sake of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

St. James drank the chalice of “the dying of Jesus” in order “that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”
Since it is a share in the chalice of Jesus, the martyrdom of St. James shares in bringing the life of Jesus to us.
Again, the apostolic Word of the Lord says so in today’s first reading.
... the one who raised the Lord Jesus
will raise us also with Jesus
and place us with you in his presence.
Everything indeed is for you,
so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people
may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.

The “THANKSGIVING to overflow for the glory of God”— the word “thanksgiving” being an English stand-in for the Greek of “Eucharist.”
The New and Everlasting Eucharistic Covenant in the Blood of Christ is the chalice that St. James drank both as Blessed Sacrament and Blessed Martyrdom.
Like the apostles, we may be lowly “earthen vessels” [2 Cor. 4:7].
Nonetheless, if in thanksgiving we willingly take up the chalice of giving blameless witness to Christ, then we already bear the treasure of God’s surpassing power, “grace bestowed in abundance” [2 Cor. 4:15].

That God Be Glorified in All

July 22, 2008

For the Memorial of Saint Mary Magdalene, July 22

John 20:1-2,11-18

The four Gospels introduce St. Mary Magdalene as one whom Jesus freed from the possession of seven demons.
The second thing the Gospels say of her is that she used her own wealth to provide for Jesus and his twelve apostles as he preached news of the kingdom of God to cities and villages throughout the land.
The time the apostles worried about buying food for thousands and thousands, it was not their own money that was at stake, but the Magdalene’s.
Fortunately, the Lord miraculously made a few loaves and fish grow into more than thousands could eat.
It’s possible that the money for the first loaves and fish came from St. Mary Magdalene.
Indeed, she helped pay for and she followed the mission of Jesus all the way to Jerusalem.
There, when the nation’s religious and civil powers took him to kill him, she loyally followed him to his cross and stood by him until he died.
Then she bought and prepared spices and sweet oils for his burial.
St. Mary sacrificed her own well-being and wealth for Jesus and his apostles.
Without a doubt she continued to provide for the apostolic church after Jesus ascended into heaven.
After spending on the mission of Jesus, only to see him die on the cross, the Magdalene surely did not say anything like, “What a waste of my money!”
Surely not!
Instead, she bought supplies for his burial.
St. Mary’s personal sacrifices had helped feed, clothe and lodge Jesus as he prepared to sacrifice himself.
It is likely she helped pay for the Last Supper, for its foodstuffs, its bread and wine.
Materially and willingly, the Magdalene sacrificed to help fulfill the mission of Jesus to give up his Body and shed his Blood.
She sacrificed, and helped make it possible for us to be here today for the Body and Blood of Christ.
As bread and wine are readied and borne forth to the altar, the Church already sees in them the Church’s own self-offering in sacrifice to God.
Not speaking of the Eucharist, which has not yet taken place, the Church speaks of her own self-sacrifice through the words of priest and believers.
Pray, brethren, that my SACRIFICE and yours may be acceptable to God the almighty Father.

May the Lord accept the SACRIFICE at your hands, for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his Church.

Even before the Eucharistic Sacrifice of Christ in his Body and Blood really overtakes the altar, the Church’s INTENTIONAL SELF-SACRIFICE is already waiting there, ready to be overtaken and changed into the Sacrifice of Christ.
Let us set ourselves in mindfulness of joining St. Mary Magdalene and all the saints of the Church in following the mission of Jesus, in sacrificing for his mission, in offering ourselves at his altar, and in telling the world that because of the Body and Blood of Christ, “I have seen the Lord.”

That God Be Glorified in All