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 31, 2008

For Thursday of the Seventeenth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Matthew 13:47-53

Jesus has now called his disciples “scribes” who have “been instructed in the Kingdom of heaven.”
They are to store, bring out, and use both what is new and what is old.
In the days of Jesus, a scribe among God’s people was a man learned both in Scripture and in tradition.
Scribes served as teachers, lawyers, counselors, and judges.
For some days now in the daily Gospel, Jesus has been telling us about the teachings, the laws, the counsels or wisdom, and the judgments or standards of the Kingdom of heaven.
So Jesus himself is the “Scribe of the Kingdom of Heaven.”
He brought out both old and new— old Scripture and new Scripture, old tradition and new tradition.
He did not throw out the old, but gave it new depth, fullness, and meaning.
He also brought what was utterly new.
He brought the news that all men shall rise from the dead.
That was news to the scribes of old.
Jesus brought the news that the resurrection will not be on earth as it has been, but to a new heaven and earth.
That was news to the scribes of old.
Jesus brought the news that those who are good shall rise from the dead to enjoy the new heaven and earth face to face with God in intimacy.
That was news to the scribes of old.
Jesus brought the news that those who are bad shall rise to suffer the unending sadness of their own self-imposed shutting out from God’s presence.
That was news to the scribes of old.
Then, Jesus brought the news to life in flesh and blood.
Never had God in person been a man of flesh and blood.
He came into the human race to uphold the old and original goodness of creation and man.
He came to break the Fall.
He came to begin the resurrection of man, give man new dignity, and glorify man.
In flesh and blood, the Son of God revealed his everlastingly old worship of the Father and his everlastingly new worship of the Father.
Jesus is the Scribe of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Scripture and Tradition, the teachings, laws, counsels, wisdom, judgments, standards, flesh and blood, dignity, glory and worship of the Kingdom of heaven— the whole of it comes to us in the Gospel and the Eucharist.
“Regarding the whole of it”— that is the literal meaning of the Greek word katholikos, “catholic”: “regarding the whole.”
All or nothing, that is what the Gospel and the Eucharist offer us and demand from us.

That God Be Glorified in All

July 27, 2008

For the Seventeenth Ordinary Sunday of the Church Year

Matthew 13:44-52
1 Kings 3:5,7-12
Romans 8:28-30

Today in his Gospel, Jesus gives four sayings or short teachings about the “kingdom of heaven.”
He starts by speaking of the kingdom of heaven as something personal and hidden.
Then he goes on to say it is something public and worldwide at the end of history.
He ends up saying the kingdom of heaven is about things both old and new that one hides in a storeroom, but also brings out of the storeroom.
So the kingdom of heaven is hidden, personal, stored away, intimate, but it is also public and worldwide.
Either way, Jesus makes clear the kingdom of heaven is worth more for us than anything else, and that we could lose it forever.
In the blunt and even UGLY words of Jesus today— at the end of time the angels are to take the good into the kingdom of heaven, but “separate the wicked from the righteous,” and: “What is bad they THROW AWAY.”
That’s ugly, frightening, and sad.
It is nonetheless “The Gospel of the Lord”— to which you replied a moment ago, “Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.”
None of us wants to end up a throwaway.
Then, how do we find the pearl of great price, how do we get into the kingdom of heaven, and what shall we find there?
We hear the answer in the second reading from the Word of the Lord today.
We know that all things work for good for those who love God,
who are called according to his purpose.

those he called he also justified;
and those he justified he also glorified.

to be conformed to the image of his Son.

“Glorified”: overtaken and overfilled with beauty, truth, joy, peace, life, completeness, unity, goodness!
Glorified— and without end— in the kingdom of heaven!
That is God wants for us.
Do we want that?
Do we want the kingdom of heaven, or do we settle for less?
We settle for less if we never get around to what God wants for us.
God wants glory for us in his kingdom.
The Word of the Lord in the second reading today says “all things work for good for those who love God.”
However, do WE work with all things for our own good, for the glory of heaven, for love of God?
Today Jesus tells us to work for the kingdom of heaven like a man who happily sells all that he has so he can buy a field that holds a buried treasure.
The Son of God sold his life to the cross, so that he could buy the field of the resurrection, and dig out of it a buried treasure: our humanity that in him is ascended into the kingdom of heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father in glory.
For God, each of us is a pearl of great price.
From the tomb God in Christ has called, justified, and glorified our humanity: our joy, our mind, our will, our body and blood.
He gives us the choice to work by his side.
He calls us to the work, and leaves it to us to answer or not.
those he CALLED he also justified

and ... also glorified.

The Lord called Solomon.
God said,
“Ask something of me and I will give it to you.”
Solomon answered:
“Give your servant ... understanding ...
to judge ... and to distinguish right from wrong.”

God gave him wisdom, understanding, and knowledge of what is right.
In Christ, God gives us much “greater than Solomon” [Mt. 12:42].
God gives us his own wisdom and glory to eat and drink in the Body and Blood of Christ so that his wisdom and glory become ours.
To choose this treasure is to choose responsibility for it.
What shall we do with it?
Each of us inside the kingdom of his own life needs to do what the angels will do for the kingdom at the end of time.
I need to throw a net deeply into the sea of my life and collect everything.
I need to haul ashore the net of my life, sit down, and pick through it.
I need to keep what is good.
What is bad I need to throw away.
If I do not do the work, then I am simply throwing away the powerful treasure of glory I receive in the Eucharistic Body and Blood of Christ.
Then, in the end, my own choices make me into a “throwaway.”
As I choose to treat the kingdom of heaven, so I choose to treat myself.
Heaven and its king want you and me.
He wants to glorify you.
He wants to justify you.
God calls you.
What is your answer, and does it show up in your life?

That God Be Glorified in All

Yesterday: the Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, July 26

Matthew 13:16-17
Sirach 44:1,10-15
A man came up to Jesus, saying,
“Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?"
And Jesus said to him,
"If you would enter eternal life,
keep the commandments.
Honor your father and mother.”
[Mt. 19]

Jesus taught the commandments, and he obeyed them.
His Gospel tells us he went with Mary and Joseph to Nazareth, and was OBEDIENTLY SUBJECT to them. [Lk. 2:51]
Mary, whom God through an angel called “full of grace,” would have obeyed the commandment of eternal life, honoring her father and mother.
If her parents had lived to meet their grandson, Jesus, they would have received from him the same honor he commanded as a condition for entering eternal life.
Today the Church’s calendar honors the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, having called them by the names “Joachim” and “Anne” since the second century.
The Church also honors them, but less specifically, on December 24, the Memorial of All the Holy Forefathers of Jesus Christ.
As a son and a grandson, Jesus is truly God who has become truly a member of the human race.
To celebrate Saints Joachim and Anne is to celebrate the historical fact that God has taken Holy Communion in the flesh and blood of the human race.
God in Christ has honored not only his parents and grandparent.
He has honored us also, offering us the eternal life of heavenly joy even for our flesh and blood, and not just for our spiritual souls.
Christ, True God and True Man, is the happy ending and the “happily ever after” of the human race.
He makes the offer.
However, he leaves to us the honor of freely saying “Yes” or “No” by the lives we choose to live.

That God Be Glorified in All