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.

January 18, 2009

For the Second Ordinary Sunday of the Church Year

John 1:35-42
1 Samuel 3:3-10,19
1 Corinthians 6:13-15,17-20

Today we begin to follow the Lord’s public work of making known God’s Kingdom and calling men to change their minds and their lives.
In first reading from the Word of the Lord today, the boy Samuel is just beginning his years of serving God in the temple.
The boy Samuel is a token of ourselves today, because we are just beginning a new year of serving God in his temple.
Samuel did not know the voice calling to him in the temple was God’s voice, whereas you and I know that we hear the Word of the Lord in the readings here at worship in his Church.
The priest Eli taught Samuel and teaches us that the right answer to God’s call is to name ourselves his servants and to listen willingly.
“Speak, for your servant is listening.”
Our lives need to give the same answer throughout this new year and all our years of serving God here in the temple of his Church.
In addition to anointed temples, such as this church building, each of us has and is a temple.
The Lord says in the second reading today: “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.”
The body, too, is to be a servant listening to the Lord.
The obedience of our bodies to the Word of God is no mere subservience.
Morality is, rather, communion with God who tells us in the second reading today:
The body is not for immorality,
but for the Lord,
God raised the Lord
and will also raise us by his power.

God in Christ became the servant of our salvation— salvation of body, and not merely salvation of the soul alone.
Knowingly and willingly, he sacrificed his own human body and then raised it to his throne in heaven as the beginning and wellspring of everlasting glory for our bodies and our spirits.
We are to avoid all sins of spirit and of body, because of all the good the Lord has in mind for us both in spirit and in body.
The good that God has in mind ripples throughout the second reading.
The body is... for the Lord,
and the Lord is for the body.
God raised the Lord
and will also raise us by his power.
... your bodies are members of Christ....
... whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one Spirit with him.
... your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you,
whom you have from God....
Therefore glorify God in your body.

God calls us to take hold of and to own the dignity he puts before us.
Our own everlasting joy and freedom both hang on what we freely choose to do now in both body and spirit.
Either we work with the Lord for our true freedom, or we work against our true freedom.
We see men in the Gospel today who choose to follow Christ.
They allow him to take command of their lives, and take command is exactly what he does.
St. John the Baptist tells two of his own followers that Jesus is the Lamb of God.
“Lamb of God”— one who serves as a worthy sacrifice in the temple of the Lord.
Jesus freely chose to serve in the worship of his Father, and thereby gained freedom’s victory in body and spirit in the resurrection.
The two disciples of St. John who chose to follow Jesus did so at first in silence.
It was Jesus first who turned, saw them following, and asked, “What are you looking for.”
They wanted to know where he was staying.
Jesus answered them with a command, “Come.”
One of the two, Andrew, went to bring his own brother Simon to Jesus, so that now three men came to be with Jesus.
As soon as Jesus saw Simon, Jesus chose to step into the roles of father, king, and God for Simon.
In the days of Simon and Jesus, only a man’s father, his king, and God had the right to give a man his name, and that is what Jesus did today at his first meeting with Simon.
Jesus looked at him and said,
“You are Simon the son of John;
you will be called Peter”— which means Rock.

As we choose now, every Sunday, to serve Jesus in the Temple of his Church, he is as father to us, and he is king and God.
He wields paternal, royal and divine authority over us, but he does so as the Lamb of God— a father who sacrifices himself for his children; a king who sacrifices himself for his subjects; God who sacrifices himself for mortal sinners.
The body is... for the Lord,

From beginning to end, the three readings from the Word and Gospel of the Lord are about God and man serving each other.
If we choose to be living temples, faithful and true throughout our lives in service of God’s glory, then we make ourselves available for God to serve and glorify with his Spirit in his everlasting kingdom.
In the Body and Blood of Christ, we feast on the promises, power, and presence of God our King and Father.
This sacrificial banquet becomes an everlasting blessing for us only if our daily choices—our choices in thought, word, and deed—only if our choices build our lives into temples that resound with a sincere “Amen” to the glory of God, glory that he wants to share with us.
Then— to borrow the last words of the first reading— we will grow up, and the Lord will be with us, not permitting any word of ours to be without effect in his everlasting kingdom.

That God Be Glorified in All


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