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 08, 2009

For the Second Sunday of Lent

Genesis 22:1-18 passim
Romans 8:31-34
Mark 9:2-10

In the first reading today, the Word of the Lord tells us about an ancient father, Abraham, who obeyed his covenant with God, and raised his knife on Mount Moriah to kill his only-begotten son and burn him to ashes as a sacrifice to God.
That is a foreshadowing of God who so loved the world that he gave his only Son to be offered up in the sacrifice of the cross to cut open and raise up the New and Everlasting Covenant with men.
We eat and drink the Body and Blood of Christ so as to live in communion with the covenant sacrifice of the cross.
At the close of the Lord’s Gospel reading today, we hear a hint of the sacrifice of the cross as Jesus bids Peter, James, and John not to tell others they saw Jesus transfigured until after his death and resurrection.
This is the Holy Gospel according to Mark.
When the Gospel of Luke retells the Transfiguration, it says Jesus, Moses, and Elijah were speaking about the day at Jerusalem, straddling Mount Moriah, when Jesus would go out of this life.
Hundreds of years before Christ, Moses and Elijah had climbed other mountains, and with their own eyes had stared at the mystery of God.
Jesus, Moses, and Elijah— all three men presided over mountains, and all three were involved in killings— killings that had to do with the life-and-death gravity of covenants between God and men.
Twelve hundred years or more before Christ, Moses had come down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments from God, asking the People of Israel to choose the terms of the covenant God offered them.
They did so.
However, right afterwards, at the foot of the same Mount Sinai, Israel turned and made an idol, worshiped it, called the idol lord and god, and credited the idol with saving them from Egyptian slavery.
Moses held the people accountable for sinning against their covenant with the true and living God.
Moses sent the priests with their swords into the camp at the foot of Mount Sinai to kill three thousand of Israel.
About four hundred years after Moses, or about eight hundred years before Christ, Elijah went up Mount Carmel to stand alone against the eight hundred and fifty prophets who led Israel in worshiping the idols Asherah and Baal.
Elijah won from God miraculous intervention on Mount Carmel, and slit the throats of the eight hundred and fifty idol-worshiping prophets, thus turning Israel back to God’s covenant.
Moses and Elijah— two holy mountain men who killed for the sake of God’s covenant, a covenant that spelled out NO forgiveness of sins for breaking it.
Jesus— the Son of God who chose to be killed on Mount Golgotha, next to Mount Moriah, and to rise from the dead as the New and Everlasting Covenant between God and men for the forgiveness of sins.
Today in his Gospel, on the mountain where he is transfigured, the “new” and the “everlasting” shine from the body and the clothing of Jesus.
Moses and Elijah appear there, and speak with Jesus about the killing of Jesus— his death that will give rise to the New and Everlasting Covenant of light and life.
The new and everlasting shines from Jesus and from his clothing.
His clothing.
Like bread and wine, clothing is what earth has given and human hands have made.
What earth has given and human hands have made becomes for us the Bread of Life in the Body of Christ.
What earth has given and human hands have made becomes our Spiritual Drink in the Blood of Christ.
What earth has given and human hands have made shines with Light from Light in the Transfiguration of the Body and Blood of Christ, True God from True God, the Same in Being God with the Father.
The Father— his voice resounds on the mountain of Transfiguration.
His Holy Spirit overshadows the mountain with a cloud.
His Beloved Son shines upon the mountain.
All the mysteries of the New and Everlasting Covenant are veiled and unveiled on the mountain.
Through Baptism, we enter the death and resurrection of Christ, and begin to live in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
We are then sealed and confirmed with the anointing of the Holy Spirit as the royal, priestly, and prophetic sons and daughters of God.
Then we offer the sacrifice of the New and Everlasting Covenant, and take our share of communion with God in the Body and Blood of Christ.
If we do not betray this covenant, there will be no need for Moses and Elijah to kill again.
Even if we mortally betray the New and Everlasting Covenant, we can turn back to God in sacramental repentance, because the New and Everlasting Covenant has come so that sins may be forgiven.
It is as we hear from God in the second reading today.
Christ Jesus... who died... was raised— who also is at the right hand of God... intercedes for us.

Yes, now if we turn back again to God, there is no longer need for Moses and Elijah to kill.
Where the New and Everlasting Covenant is accepted, and listened to, the old covenant fades away.
“This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
Hearing the Father of the New and Everlasting Covenant, the holy mercenaries of his older covenant, Moses and Elijah, disappeared, leaving Jesus alone with Peter, James, and John.
If we are faithful to the New and Everlasting Covenant, we shall rise from the dead to join Peter, James, and John, even Moses and Elijah, to see God face to face.
We shall live and be clothed in perpetual light.
For the sake of that joy, we must listen to God’s Beloved Son.

That God Be Glorified in All


Anonymous les said...

I was struck by your homily Father and it caused me to think, so much so that I posted about it and linked your homily. I hope you don't mind.

10:34 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

I do not mind.

Thank you!

8:44 AM  

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