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.

April 13, 2009

For Easter Monday

Matthew 28:8-15
Acts 2:14,22-32

When an angel put aside the great stone that had sealed the Lord’s burial, the Lord was already gone.
Newly alive in the Spirit, the Body of Christ in his glory had already passed through the stone.
For forty days, those who had already been his followers before his death saw him appear to them, saw him eat food to prove his body and blood were real, and then they saw him vanish into thin air again and again.
On the fortieth day, they saw him in their midst rise from the earth into the skies and beyond the clouds.
In the week before his death, the whole city of Jerusalem witnessed his messianic entrance procession, his trial before Pontius Pilate, and his crucifixion.
However, after he rose from the dead, he did not ascend in the sight of the city, he did not appear in glory to the High Priest, to Pontius Pilate, to King Herod, to the Council of Elders, to the Pharisees, to the Sadducees, or to the citizens.
Instead, he showed himself only to those who had already believed in him.
The angel at the empty tomb told his followers to meet him in Galilee.
Then Christ himself appeared, and told them the same, to meet him in Galilee.
For forty days he wanted to be with his disciples alone, far from the center of the nation.
The final months, days, and hours of his earthly life and death had been a national event.
However, his resurrection and glory were secret happenings, and for forty days thereafter he gave himself only to his disciples in privacy and intimacy, sometimes alone on a road, sometimes behind locked doors, sometimes far away from Jerusalem, on the shores of a countryside lake in the earliest hours after dawn.
On the fortieth day, he ascended into heaven.
After that, by his direction, his followers spent ten more days in secrecy.
So, for fifty days the Church kept to itself, and told no one outside the Church the Good News about the resurrection and glory of Christ.
Before we dare to shout to the world from the rooftops, we need first to be alone with the empty tomb and the angelic news.
We need first to listen for the risen Christ calling each of our names when no one else is around.
Before we tell the world, we need to fall in worship at the feet of the risen Christ, and sincerely own up that he is our great teacher, “Rabboni,” as Mary Magdalene did and said.
We first need the risen Christ to interrupt our blind dejection on the road to no special place, so that he can tell us we how we still need to learn his truth.
Before we tell the world, we need first to have the risen Christ break into our hiding places, as he did to his cowering apostles.
We first need the risen Christ to overcome the futility of the work we do in the dark, and tell us what to do about our defeated, empty fishing nets by the light of day.
Before we tell the world, we may need to see a miraculous, overwhelming catch of fish happen only because we have obeyed the strange commands of the risen Christ whom we failed to recognize.
Throughout all of our private encounters with the risen Christ, we must face our repeated failures to recognize his presence in our midst.
That was the story of the Church for fifty days after Christ defeated the sealed stone tomb.
“Go to meet the risen Lord in Galilee,” the angel tells us.
“Go to Galilee and meet me there,” Christ himself tells us.
Let us obey him.
Let us each find some sort of Galilee, a place and time far away from the crowded center of attention.
Let us seek to be alone with the risen Lord.
Let us have his resurrection and his presence break our lives in two by the power of the Spirit.
Then we will have something honest to tell the world.

That God Be Glorified in All


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