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.

May 07, 2009

For Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter

John 13:16-20

Easter Week 4, Thursday
During the forty days between his resurrection and ascension, our Lord undertook a kind of lectio divina (“divine reading”) for his followers.
He unfolded for them who he is and what his mission is, as well as who his followers are and what their mission is.
As we celebrate these forty days, we do especially well to come to the daily Gospel and Eucharist as the Lord’s “divine lessons” about himself, about us, and about his mission that he shares with us.
Today in his Gospel, he points to himself as God.
I am telling you... so that... you may believe that I AM.

Twice today, he upholds the oneness between who we are and who he is.
He also upholds the oneness between his mission and ours.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
no slave is greater than his master
nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.

Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever receives the one I send
receives me,
and whoever receives me
receives the one who sent me.

He gave his apostles the same truth on the day he rose from the dead.
“As the Father has sent me,
even so I send you.”
And when he had said this,
he breathed on them,
and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit....”

Christ sends us to be his apostles— emissaries, envoys, missionaries, or spokesmen.
Christ and the Holy Spirit are also apostles, emissaries, envoys, missionaries, or spokesmen the Father sends to us.
Our oneness with Christ is the Spirit who is also the oneness of the Father with Christ.
By the will of his Father, Christ breathes their Spirit of oneness for us and upon us.
The Spirit moves us to be one with Christ as obedient sons of God, and to be one with Christ in undertaking
his mission.
The deepest, highest, and greatest way to fulfill this mission is in the Liturgy of the Eucharist and the other sacraments.
The Liturgy is also the power source for all other ways of fulfilling the mission of Christ.
As the Second Vatican Council put it [The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 10]:
the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed;
it is also the fount from which all her power flows.

The real PRESENCE, the real WORK, the real WORD and SPIRIT of God in Christ are all here in the Liturgy.
Here in the Liturgy, through the Gospel and through the Body and Blood of Christ, we witness and become one with Christ, with who he is, what he is, and what he does.
As monks, we stretch out the Liturgy not only by undertaking the Church’s public prayers throughout the hours of the day, but also by our personal, private work of lectio divina, “divine reading.”
Each monk privately reads the Word of God; and allows God to read him, to judge, teach, and send him.
A monk’s private lectio divina and his partaking in the public liturgy both call him to mindfulness, faithfulness, reverence, worship, humility, and honesty.
Here we acknowledge, worship and receive Christ whom Father sends in his Gospel and his Eucharist.
It is here that we can begin to fulfill the mission of Christ by the work of simplicity, mindfulness, daily faithfulness, reverence, worship, humility, and honesty.
Christ and the Spirit come to us here.
Here, through, with, and in Christ, in the oneness of the Holy Spirit, the Father receives us and sends us for his own glory, for the good of the world, and for the joy of all in heaven and earth.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







May 03, 2009

For the Fourth Sunday of Easter

Acts 4:8-12
1 John 3:1-2
John 10:11-18

Today in his Gospel Jesus says:
I am the good shepherd....
... they will hear my voice,
and there will be ONE flock,
ONE shepherd.

God’s Word in the first reading upholds that more strongly.
Jesus Christ the Nazarene...
... has become the cornerstone.
There is no salvation through anyone else,
nor is there any other name under heaven
given to the human race
by which we are to be saved.

This may be the most politically incorrect teaching of Christ.
He has one flock only.
He is the only Good Shepherd and the only Cornerstone of all salvation.
Apart from Christ there is no salvation.
Furthermore, by the Word of God, his Church is his Body and his fullness [Eph. 1:22-23].
So then: apart from Christ and “Outside the Church there is no salvation” [Catechism of the Catholic Church, 846-848].
That is a Church teaching, but with a specific understanding.
It has a narrow, exclusive meaning that is true.
It also has a broader, more inclusive meaning that is also true.
On the one hand, if a man actually knew Christ to be the only Savior and the Church to be his Body, but that man refused Christ and his Church, that man could not be saved.
On the other hand, the Word of God our Savior says he “desires ALL men to be saved” [1 Tim. 2:4], and “with God all things are possible” [Mt. 19:26].
So, we must reverently leave open that God works for the salvation of all, even if we do not see it happen in the way he commanded us to follow.
Here is how the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” [1260] says it.
Since Christ died for all,
and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny,
which is divine,
we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all
the possibility of being made partakers,
in a way known to God,
of the Paschal mystery.
Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church,
but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it,
can be saved.

So, “in a way known to God,” and not necessarily known to us, “the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made” to share in Christ’s death and resurrection.
Christ says he is the one shepherd, and there will be but one flock.
Even so, shortly before he ascended into heaven, the Lord three times told his apostle Simon to take the Lord’s role as shepherd of the Lord’s flock [Jn. 21].
Feed my lambs!
Tend my sheep!
Feed my sheep!

Jesus put his own shepherd’s mantle on the shoulders of his apostle.
I am the good shepherd....
... they will hear my voice,
and there will be ONE flock,
ONE shepherd. [Jn. 10]

Simon....
Feed my lambs!
Tend my sheep!
Feed my sheep! [Jn. 21]

He who hears you hears me,
and he who rejects you rejects me,
and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me. [Lk. 10:16]

Because of Christ: “Outside the Church there is no salvation” [Catechism of the Catholic Church, 846-848].
I am the good shepherd....
... they will hear my voice,
and there will be ONE flock,
ONE shepherd. [Jn. 10]

Jesus sees to the tending, feeding, life, and growth of his sheep.
However, he chooses to do so by the flesh and blood work of men who are his apostles in his Church on earth.
God in Christ scandalizes the world by having his apostolic Church as his all-inclusive mouthpiece.
He who hears you hears me,
and he who rejects you rejects me,
and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me. [Lk. 10:16]

We enter the flock of Christ through faith and baptism at the flesh and blood hands of his apostolic Church.
Jesus ascended into heaven in his real flesh and blood, but he left us in the flesh and blood care of real men, because we are flesh and blood, and not only spirit.
These flesh and blood ways demand more out of us than would a purely spiritual relationship with Jesus alone.
Because they demand more, they can also open us up more.
We may suffer for the Church, and even because of the Church.
Jesus suffered for his Church, and because of his Church.
That is how he both takes and gives more and even all through his Church.
That is how we, his sheep, may both give and take more and even all from our shepherd.
The more and the all from our shepherd is the power of his Body and Blood that he gives us through the hands of his apostolic Church.
Today in his Gospel, he tells us how to receive and live by that power.
This is why the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life
in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me,
but I lay it down on my own.
I have power to lay it down,
and power to take it up again.
This command I have received from my Father.

By the command of our Father, we are sheep of Christ through his Church by which he tends and feeds us.
He may have us lay down our lives, but always with power to take them up again.
What awaits us once we take up our lives in the resurrection?
God’s answer comes through the Church in the second reading today.
Beloved,
we are God’s children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
We do know that when it is revealed
we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All