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.

June 23, 2009

For Tuesday of the Twelfth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Genesis 13:2,5-18
Matthew 7:6,12-14

Today in the Word of the Lord, we hear the promise of earthly “salvation” to Abram.
God promised to give all the land within Abram’s sight to Abram and his untold offspring forever.
It is EARTHLY salvation, and it is “constricted” [a word from today’s Gospel], and its opening is “narrow” [also a word from today’s Gospel], because it comes to one man alone and to the race of offspring of that man alone.
That is personal, individualistic, and exclusive.
Some might even say “tribal,” “racist,” and “elitist.”
Yes, it is a narrow and constricted promise of salvation.
The good thing about this promise is that it is no mere myth.
This promise happened in real history, in a real land, to a real man, and whose real offspring are throughout the real world.
In one of the offspring of Abram, Christ Jesus, the promise of salvation has died to all limitations of race and land in the real world, and has really risen in the world, and ascended above the bounds of land and race.
However, in real person of Christ Jesus, the gate of salvation is still narrow, and “the road that leads to life” is still constricted.
Christ Jesus is the one gate and the one road.
He says of himself personally, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me” [Jn. 14:6].
By upholding himself to be the one gate and the one road, he gave what was holy to us, and threw his pearls before us.
We, like dogs and swine because of our sins, trampled the holy and precious one, and tore him open on the cross.
We did to him what we would not have done to us.
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows,
and acquainted with grief;
... and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that made us whole,
and with his stripes we are healed.
... and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away
... stricken for the transgression of my people.
... when he makes himself an offering for sin
... he shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one ... make many to be accounted righteous;
and he shall bear their iniquities.
... because he poured out his soul to death,
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors. [See Isaiah 53:3-12]

By the will of the Father and the work of the Holy Spirit, his death brought life to the world.
Still, however, no blanket of general absolution or general salvation is tossed over the anonymous heads of the world.
Though all are called, each person has the name and the dignity to answer personally, and turn personally to the one gate and one road, Christ Jesus, the way and the truth and the life.
Enter through the narrow gate;
for the gate is wide
and the road broad that leads to destruction,
and those who enter through it are many.
How narrow is the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.
And those who find it are few.

As I choose to eat, drink, and live out my own personal share in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, may he free me from all my sins and from every evil, keep me faithful to his teaching, and never let me be parted from him. [See the priest’s private prayer of preparation in the Communion Rite of the Mass.]

That God Be Glorified in All


Blogger ROMVLVS, OBLATVS O.S.B. said...

Dear Reverend Father, Another beautiful sermon.
How can one read Isaiah and not know that Jesus is the Christ?
I once heard Rush Limbaugh describe his meeting with the Blessed Mother Theresa, and Rush, who was at that time very over-weight, said the first words Mother said to him were, "The gates of heaven are narrow."
I remember this, for "fatness" can take many forms in our weak souls.

11:22 PM  

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