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.

March 28, 2009

For Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent

John 7:40-53

Today the Gospel opened saying some in a crowd heard words of Jesus, but it did not say what words.
Backing up, we find today in the Gospel was the grand finale of the seven-day Jewish festival of “Tabernacles” or “Tents.”
Every adult male in Israel was expected to be in Jerusalem for the festival where he would live out of a tent for the seven days.
The festival recalled that after escaping Egypt the Israelites lived in tents in the desert, where they would have died of thirst, but God made water come out of rock.
During the festival’s grand finale, in the presence of all the men of Israel, Jesus shouted out to them words that meant he himself was as good as God [7:37-38].
If any one thirst,
let him come to ME and drink.
He who believes in ME,
as the scripture has said,
‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.’

Out loud and in their faces, despite knowing the chief priests and Pharisees were already seeking to kill him!
Some who heard it said he was the Prophet that Moses had foretold, or that he was the Messiah.
Then, the rest of the Gospel today is peppered with questions.
Where was he from?
Did he fit the prophecies or not?
Why did the guards not take him?
Had they been deceived?
Was he to be condemned?
Was he to receive a hearing?
What did the law say about this?
None of the questions got answered.
The thing just closes suddenly with all the men packing up and going back to their own homes throughout the land.
It was not yet time for rivers of living water to flow out of their hearts for believing in Jesus.
According to the Gospel [7:39], the words of Jesus about “living water” were:
about the Spirit,
which those who believed in him were to receive;
for as yet the Spirit had not been given,
because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Crossing into glory, Jesus turned the world upside down.
He, the Word that is God, underwent betrayal at the hands of men, death on a cross, and burial.
Yet, like a grain of wheat he rose as a rich harvest [Jn. 12:23-24].
The glory of the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus is the living water of the Spirit flowing from the hearts of those who believe in Jesus.
He has said this elsewhere [Jn. 4:14].
whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him
will never thirst;
the water that I shall give him
will become in him a spring of water
welling up to eternal life.

Christ offered his body and blood in pure holiness to the Father with whom he has unity in the Holy Spirit [Heb. 9:14].
Christ is King and alive with his Father in the oneness of the Holy Spirit.
The Father sent Christ out of death into the resurrection with his flesh and blood breathing the Spirit of their oneness.
If we believe and live for all of that, then the Body and Blood of Christ breathe and gush the Holy Spirit within us.
That truth is one we might or might not feel.
What matters is that we believe it and work to live it.
If we hold faithful to it, then one day from within us it will forever overwhelm every thirst for health, joy, knowledge, and freedom.
If any one thirst,
let him come to me and drink.
He who believes in me,
as the scripture has said,
‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.’

That God Be Glorified in All


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