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.

December 15, 2009

For Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent

Matthew 21:28-32

Today in his Gospel the Lord holds up five of the thick threads he weaves throughout his teachings.
There is his own use of the word “Amen”— “Amen, I say to you.”
No one in the world had ever used “Amen” that way.
When he says it— “Amen, I say to you”— he then speaks words with more self-knowing boldness and weight than the old prophetic, “Thus says the Lord.”
With his “Amen” today he pulls in a second thread: the Kingdom of God.
Then he stitches in the thread of righteousness.
“Righteousness” is an Anglo-Saxon word that takes turns with the Latin word “justice”.
The fourth thread in today’s Gospel shows up twice.
The naysaying second son “changed his mind,” but the Lord tells the chief priests and elders, “you did not … change your minds.”
“Change of mind”— that is the literal meaning of the ancient Gospel word, “metanoia”— for which English also gives “repentance” and “conversion.”
The last and fifth thread today is belief or faith.
Not the chief priests nor the elders, but well-known sinners have believed John the Baptist, and have repented, converted, changed their minds, and are entering the Kingdom of God.
They have followed John into “the way of righteousness,” the justice of God and his Kingdom, the justice that serves the glory of God and the rights of neighbors.
When, in the fullness of his manhood, the Lord Jesus finally began to preach, he opened his way by telling the people the Kingdom of God was at hand, that they were to repent and to believe in the Gospel [Mt. 4:17; Mk. 1:15].
When he sent out his own followers to preach ahead of him for the first time, he had them tell the same to the people: to repent because God’s Kingdom was near [Mt. 10:7; Mk.6:7-12; Lk. 10:1-11].
On the day he ascended to his kingly throne at the right hand of the Father, he told his apostles “that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations” [Lk. 24:47].
“Now we watch for the day, hoping that the salvation promised us will be ours when Christ our Lord will come again in his glory” [Preface of Advent I].
“He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end” [Nicene Creed].
In his flesh and blood, Christ the King rules in the service of his Father’s glory and so that sins may be forgiven.
“This is my body … given up for you…. This is … my blood … shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven.”
John the Baptist came in the way of righteousness, calling us to stand ready for the justice of Christ the King, the justice that is also freedom to be children in the image and likeness of the Son of God.
We need to repent and believe, if we would live in the Kingdom of God that is at hand in the Body and Blood of Christ.

That God Be Glorified in All


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