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.

February 06, 2009

For Friday of the Fourth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Mark 6:14-29
Hebrews 13:1-8

The Gospel tells us “Herod feared John”; that Herod knew John was “righteous and holy”; that Herod “was very much perplexed” when he listened to John speak.
John denounced the lawlessness of Herod.
Yet, the Gospel today also says Herod LIKED to listen to John.
Maybe Herod’s enjoyment of John’s words was just another of Herod’s perversions.
Herod was committing public adultery and incest, because he had married Herodias who was his niece and the wife of his living half-brother.
In the Gospel of Luke [3:7], when the repentant crowds came to John for baptism, he called them “brood of vipers.”
Since those were John’s words for everybody, even the repentant, I wonder what kind of fire came out of his mouth for Herod?
Yet Herod “liked to listen to him.”
The story of John’s death today is a flashback
Herod has heard that “mighty powers are at work in” Jesus, so Herod says Jesus must be John back from the dead.
“It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up.”
We have more of John’s history from his birth to his death than we have of any other person in the Gospels and New Testament except for Jesus.
Even Jesus called John the greatest man ever born.
John scolded the crowds for their wrongdoing, demanded their personal reformation, and upheld they would burn in fire otherwise.
Even many Christians reject John’s kind of preaching today.
In so doing, they are out of touch with both John and Jesus.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” [First reading, Hebrews 13:8]
Yet, in the days of Christ the crowds listened willingly to John’s scolding, and Christ called him the greatest man ever born.
The Gospel [Lk. 1:15] tells us John was filled with the Holy Spirit even before he was born.
Jesus [Jn. 16:8] says the Holy Spirit comes to convince the world concerning sin.
Once convinced of sin, we are ready to repent for God in Christ, and to be born into the kingdom of God.
To be the least-born of God in his Kingdom is more than to be the greatest born of woman on earth.
Again, in the words of Jesus [Lk. 7:28]: “among those born of women none is greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
The Holy Spirit that filled John before he was born, that filled John’s preaching, that made John the greatest man on earth— the Holy Spirit also convinces us of sin.
Once convinced of sin, we are ready to be conceived by the Holy Spirit as the sons and daughters of God.
Even King Herod liked to listen to John’s HOLY and SPIRITED denunciations.
It would be good for us also to enjoy them, and to do much more.
Jesus [Mk. 1:14] tells us we must “repent, and believe in the Gospel”.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” [First reading, Hebrews 13:8]

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







February 04, 2009

For Wednesday of the Fourth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Mark 6:1-6
Hebrews 12:4-7,11-15

The first reading from the Word of the Lord today tells us to “struggle against sin” and to “Strive for ... holiness.”
The Lord’s Word says the struggle against sin and the striving for holiness can take a heavy toll on us, but they are the way to see the bliss of heaven.
In your struggle against sin
you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.

Strive for ... holiness
without which no one will see the Lord.

Without holiness “no one will see the Lord.”
In the Gospel today, the Nazarenes see and hear the Lord, but there is no holiness or bliss for them.
They have now heard the wisdom of his teaching in their own meetinghouse.
They know of mighty deeds he has worked elsewhere.
They know he cast out numberless demons more than once, and that he even raised the dead.
Every time he faced down the demons, they openly acknowledged who he truly is.
“I know who you are— the Holy One of God!” [Mk. 1:24]
“You are the Son of God.” [Mk. 3:11]
“What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” [Mk. 5:7]
The demons know who he truly is.
He grew up among the men and women of Nazareth.
They believe they know everything about him.
Now he returns as a teacher of astonishing wisdom and as a worker of mighty wonders.
Demons rightly knew and openly said who he truly is: the Holy Son of the Most High God.
However, the Nazarene men and women will not allow that he might be anything more than a town craftsman, son of so-and-so, and kin to so-and-so.
“And they took offense at him.”
Mysteriously, this Holy One wielding authority to throw out demons is “not able to perform any might deed there” in Nazareth because of the town’s lack of faith.
The only ones he was able to serve were those few that sickness had humbled.
His wisdom and the news of his mighty deeds elsewhere had astonished the Nazarenes.
Now it is his turn to be amazed at their lack of faith.
Years after this particular Gospel day in Nazareth, the Word of the Lord in our first reading today said things that could be thrown backwards in time to encourage Jesus in Nazareth.
In your struggle against sin
you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.

Strive for ... holiness
without which no one will see the Lord.

The day was to come when Jesus of Nazareth would struggle against sin, resisting to the point of shedding blood, striving fully in holiness of flesh and blood, so that even his flesh and blood, our flesh and blood, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven to see the Lord, the Father Almighty.
Here in the Body and Blood of Christ, we eat and drink his struggle against sin, his resistance to the point of shedding blood, his holiness, and his seeing the Father face to face.
If we want to enjoy the Lord and everlasting gladness, then we need to let faith drive us also to struggle against sin and to strive for holiness.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All