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.

September 20, 2009

For the Twenty-Fifth Ordinary Sunday of the Church Year

Mark 9:30-37

The last words of this Gospel reading tell the Christian what he is most truly to seek.
St. Benedict tells monks the same: that a sincere man moves his whole self to “most truly seek God”— whom Jesus today says is “the One who sent me”— God the Father.
Does anyone here today most truly seek God?
The followers of Christ in the Gospel today were not seeking God.
Instead, they were arguing about who among them was the great number one.
This is the Holy Gospel according to Mark.
It brings to the fore that the followers of Christ very often did not understand him or the way on which he was leading.
By now in the Gospel, they have already seen him throw demons out of several persons, heal the sick and disabled, scold the storm and the sea into stillness, turn a few pieces of bread and fish into enough to feed crowds in the thousands.
They have seen him raise the dead.
They knew they were following a man whose mere words had power over life and death, over wind and sea, over demons and disease, a man who dared to take God’s prerogative in forgiving sins.
He has told them they would see the kingdom of God come with power in their own lifetimes.
Now three of his closest followers have just seen him transfigured.
On a mountain they saw heaven shine out of his body and his clothes, with saints of old standing by speaking to him.
Surely the followers thought they were close to God’s chosen king of glory, the anointed one who would lead God’s people to win their rightful place at the head of the world.
Perhaps the temptation came too easily to wonder, even argue, about their places in the line of worldly greatness.
They really did not grasp the three mysterious lessons he gave shortly before and after his Transfiguration: that he was to suffer many things, be rejected by the elders and chief priests, treated with contempt, handed over and killed.
He also told them he would honor them in glory only if for his sake they also would take up their crosses, follow him, and lose their lives for him and his gospel.
He has bounced them off the walls, one wall being transfiguration and glory, and the other wall being suffering, shame, and death.
It was all too much for their understanding yet.
You and I would not have gotten it either.
Even if we know and believe it now, it is still hard to follow the way of Jesus, and we often live as if we still don’t get it.
He promises his way leads us to freedom, joy, glory and greatness.
It most truly leads us to God.
If we most truly seek God and wish to find him, today Jesus says not to seek our own worldly greatness, but to open ourselves to those who are least in the world.
Whoever receives a little one in the name of Jesus, receives Jesus; and whoever receives Jesus, receives God the Father who sent him.
Give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, welcome to the stranger, clothing to the naked, company to the sick and prisoners.
As you do to the least of his brethren, you do to him.
As you neglect the least of his brethren, you neglect him. [Cf. Mt. 25]
God himself freely faces death to be the willing servant of the lowest.
In his Body and Blood, God is committed unto death to be the slave of the least of his brethren.
If you most truly seek God, commit yourself to do the same in memory of him.

That God Be Glorified in All


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