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.

November 11, 2009

For the Feast of Saint Martin of Tours, 11 November

Matthew 25:31-40

Two Sundays from now is the Solemn Sunday of Christ the King.
Today in his Gospel, the King says he will return to separate all men into two groups: the “sheep” to his right and the “goats” to his left.
The blessed sheep shall be those who chose to serve the real needs of their fellow men.
Christ the King will make them heirs of a kingdom God prepared for them from the beginning of the world.
He brought us into being out of nothing.
He has been good to us who were nothing.
So, he expects us to imitate him and serve him by serving those who have nothing or less than ourselves.
If we do so, he will give us a share in his glory as his sons and daughters.
We were nothing, and he would make us his royal heirs.
We were nothing, and he gives us himself as our food and drink.
We were nothing, and he welcomes us as his children.
We were nothing, and he clothes us in his own image and dignity.
We were nothing, and he has given us life, salvation and holiness.
We were nothing, and he has visited us with his mercy.
For us, then, to give food and drink to the hungry and welcome to strangers is nothing compared to what he has done for us.
To clothe the naked, comfort the sick and visit prisoners is nothing compared to what he has done for us.
For us to do any of these things is a bare reflection of the light of his goodness shining upon our own nothingness.
St. Martin knew this and practiced it.
While still a young soldier, and preparing for Baptism, he cut in half his uniform, his military cape, to share it with a freezing beggar.
After Baptism, he went on to become a monk by helping to start the first monastery north of the Alps.
He founded other monasteries and also became a bishop.
In the year 397, he died already famous for his great goodness to everyone.
The old cape that St. Martin had split with a beggar years before became a cause of many miracles after his death.
In the centuries that followed, kings would take the cape of St. Martin on their travels, and set up a temporary shrine to house the cape wherever they were.
Such a shrine came to be called a “little cape”— in Latin, cappella, which gave us the word “chapel.”
All because St. Martin split his little cape, his cappella, with a beggar!
Here in the Eucharist, in the mystery of a tiny bit of food and drink, it is no torn, secondhand garment that God bestows on us.
It is God himself, the Body and Blood of the King.
We, who were nothing, now have God himself as our food and drink and our unending royal inheritance.
As he commits himself to us here in this covenant, he expects us to commit ourselves to his glory in serving the real need of the least of his brothers.

That God Be Glorified in All


Anonymous Anonymous said...

ah, after Rome, back in stride to your old form--an inspiring and enlightening sermon.

2:03 AM  

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