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.

April 03, 2009

For Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent

John 10:31-42

Today in the Gospel, it is the Anniversary Feast of the Dedication of the Temple of God.
The Gospel opens today inside the Temple, in the land of Judea, and it ends outside the land of Judea.
Inside the Temple, Jesus had just spoken what seemed to be a hint at the “Creed” of Israel, but with a blasphemous twist.
The “Creed” of God’s Chosen People is:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God!
The Lord is one!

Instead of saying, “The Lord our God is one,” Jesus had dared to say, “I and the Father are one.”
So, men have taken stones to kill him for the blasphemy of calling himself the Son of God.
A “holy week” from today, we shall worshipfully recall the day Jesus died not under a hail of stones, but by crucifixion.
He is God the Son.
The wonder of his death is that he undertook it so that sins may be forgiven— sins that all began with men wanting to be like God [Gen. 3:5].
Today in the Gospel, Jesus escapes death for the time being, and leaves the land of Judea.
Both before and after his death and resurrection, he told his followers to meet him outside Judea.
Judea and its Temple dedicated to the True God would see him no more.
Now men everywhere would be temples of his resurrection.
Beyond the ancient lie of Satan and the false dream of Adam and Eve, Christ makes men and women to be like God.
In baptism, the power of the Holy Spirit joins us to the anointed flesh and blood of the Son of God in his death, resurrection, and ascent to the throne of his Father and ours.
At our coming Night Vigil of his Resurrection, and on the morning after, we shall again forswear Satan and our sins.
We shall again claim our baptismal faith and inheritance to live and die for God and as the sons and daughters of God in Christ.
Increasingly in the United States of America, to fit in with the feelings, thoughts, opinions, and choices of our society and culture is to be disloyal to God in Christ.
Said in another way: to be loyal to Christ means more and more to commit blasphemy in the eyes of our society and culture.
Then let us do so, and risk death by stoning or otherwise, that we may be honest in celebrating the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
If fear drives us back, if we fall into sin, Christ is always ready to welcome us back by way of our repentance.
No one else has the words of everlasting life.

That God Be Glorified in All

March 30, 2009

For Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Daniel 13:1-62 passim
John 8:1-11

Because Susanna bore unjustly the sins of others for which they tried to blame and kill her, she offers some likeness to the mission of Christ.
She, however, was saved from an unjust death; whereas Christ truly died for the sins of others.
In the Gospel today, a woman, unlike Susanna, was caught in the very act of adultery, and, by the law God gave through Moses, she was to die for that sin.
The witnesses of her crime were to be the first to throw stones at her.
Some scribes and Pharisees dragged her into the Temple compound to use her case as a trap for Jesus in the Temple.
They wanted him to do or say something for which they could condemn him.
Perhaps he would contradict God’s law, or perhaps he would presume to forgive her sin.
Then the scribes and Pharisees would have had legal reason to stone him to death together with the adulterous woman.
We can see the answer of Jesus as calling upon God himself in his Temple.
“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
In God’s Temple, the one without sin among them is God himself.
If any of the eyewitnesses of the woman’s adultery had claimed to be “The One without Sin” inside God’s Temple, that man would be guilty of blasphemy and worthy of stoning to death.
Then, Jesus as the witness would have had the legal right to be the first to throw a stone.
The scribes and Pharisees then began to go away.
Jesus, alone with the guilty woman, said he did not condemn her for her sin.
Nonetheless, he accused— he acknowledged her sin.
“Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”
Jesus had already taken her sin upon himself.
He would go on to take it for to his death on his cross.
Who is to blame for the death of Jesus?
Every sinner— you and I!
It is easy and obvious to say that Judas Iscariot gave up Jesus to the heads of state and worship.
Yet, there is a greater one among us than Judas Iscariot.
“God did not spare his own Son but GAVE HIM UP [Greek, “parédoken”] for us all.” [Rm. 8:32]
The Word of the Lord uses the same word [parédoken] for the act of Judas Iscariot and for the act of God.
Both the Iscariot and the heavenly Father HANDED OVER, DELIVERED, BETRAYED, GAVE UP Christ to an unjust death.
Judas Iscariot acted out your sin and mine.
Yet, the heavenly Father is the sinless one among us, and he threw the first stone at his own sinless Son.
“God did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all.”
That same Word of the Lord [Rm. 8:32] goes on: “Will God not also give us all things with his Son?”
When the Church hands over, delivers, gives up the Body and Blood of Christ to us, it is a betrayal.
It is the love of the Father who is one with his Son in the Holy Spirit betraying all things into our hands and mouths.
How shall we answer that?
He tells us the least we can do— the least: “Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”

That God Be Glorified in All