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.

June 05, 2009

For Friday of the Ninth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Mark 12:35-37

In the days of King Saul, David was the youngest son of a family of the tribe of Judah.
While David was still a mere shepherd boy, and King Saul was still alive, God chose David to be the next king of Israel.
God sent a prophet to anoint David, literally making the boy a MESSIAH, a “christ,” an ANOINTED man.
Scripture [1 Sam. 16:13] says: “the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward.”
Today Christ says David was “inspired by the Holy Spirit.”
David became the mightiest warrior, defeating all the enemies of Israel.
When King Saul died, the tribe of Judah anointed David as king of Judah.
After defeating the other tribes, David received the third anointing of his life to become king of Israel’s twelve tribes.
He wrote psalms, and the tradition of Israel credits him for all the Psalms.
The Psalms became the national prayer book of Israel, the flesh and bones of worship in God’s Temple and the synagogues, on festivals and all other days, at all hours of the day.
Whenever Christ or anyone else in the New Testament quotes the prophecies of the Word of God, most often the prophecies come from the Psalms.
David God’s Choice, David Messiah, David Full of the Spirit, David Warrior, David King, David Author of Prayer, David Prophet!
How many men in history had the manifold greatness of David?
The crowd in the Gospel today is delighted to hear the Lord Jesus teach that the coming Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed King and Savior of Israel is to be a greater Messiah than David, and that David knew it by the Holy Spirit.
Today in the Gospel is about two days after Palm Sunday, when the crowd had welcomed the Lord Jesus as Messiah.
They have already seen him take command of the Temple by clearing out the buyers and sellers.
He has stood up to the nation’s chief priests and scribal lawyers.
Christ has raised high the messianic hopes of the many, and they are delighted to hear him.
Would he now bring to an end the Roman humiliation of God’s people?
Not yet.
Christ the King will conquer the political world only at the end of time.
He will do what King David can never do.
He will put an end to all suffering, all death, all ignorance, and all sin.
He will open fully the Kingdom of Heaven upon Earth, where God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit will be all in all the loyal faithful.
Without the crowd understanding, Christ today upholds that David’s words told of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Christ says the Holy Spirit inspired David.
The Trinitarian truth that is present in David’s words as Christ uses them can be spelled out thusly.
God the Father said to his Son my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand
until I place your enemies under your feet.”

Christ “ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father; he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.” [Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed]
Baptized into the life and name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and confirmed by anointing for Eucharistic Communion in Christ, we have received the powers of Faith, Hope and Love for God.
We have more reason and more power than today’s Jerusalem crowd to take delight in hearing Christ.
For the sake of that delight, let us take hold of knowing our reasons and using our powers.

That God Be Glorified in All

June 01, 2009

For Monday of the Ninth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Tobit 1:3; 2:1a-8
Mark 12:1-12

In the first reading today, the Book of Tobit tells of a murder on Pentecost.
Yesterday Fr. Abbot reminded us Pentecost is a feast of the ancient people of God, the Jews.
Among other things, Pentecost commemorates God making his covenant with his people at Mount Sinai.
The people of the Sinai Covenant saw the fire of God’s presence atop the mountain.
On the feast of the Sinai Covenant, the apostles of Christ received God’s fire from on high, and so the mission of the Church fired up in public for the first time since the resurrection of Christ.
That very day, three thousand men received the New and Everlasting Covenant in Baptism at the hands of the apostles of Christ.
Christ made the New Everlasting Covenant in his Blood.
Covenants were always in blood.
In the Sinai Covenant, the blood of cattle was thrown to God upon his altar was thrown upon the people who agreed to accept in blood the Covenant from God.
In the Gospel today, the parable Jesus tells us is a reminder for us of his own personal blood that was shed for us “and for the many so that sins may be forgiven.”
The New Everlasting Covenant from the Lord Jesus is different from all the others that came before.
It is different in that its blood is that of Christ, rather than of cattle.
His New Everlasting Covenant is different also in that is “so that sins may be forgiven.”
Before Christ, no covenant was for the forgiveness of sins.
This is my body... given up for you.
This is... my blood...
... shed for you and for the many
so that sins may be forgiven.

Sin was the first origin of all disorder and death in human history.
We need to turn from sin to heed the call of the covenant and receive its forgiveness.
We eat and drink it, but then we need to hold honestly to its strength by fighting sin.
The life of the covenant comes to us, but we live it only by choosing.
We first step up for this covenant when “we acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins” and the Holy Spirit anoints us for Eucharistic Communion as sons and daughters in the Anointed One Son of God.
Baptism and Anointed Confirmation are once and for all.
Baptism and Anointed Confirmation are like bodily birth in that one is born the child of another only once.
However, if we do not eat food throughout natural life, we shall die sooner than nature would have it.
In the same way, Jesus says, “If you do not eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you.”
Baptism and the Anointing of Confirmation are the first two sacraments of our initiation into the life of Christ.
Holy Communion in the Eucharistic Body and Blood of Christ is the sacrament of ONGOING Christian initiation throughout our lives.
To echo today’s Gospel: we kill the Father’s Heir, and trample his Covenant if we are not ONGOING in turning the harvest of our lives over to God who first turned himself over to us in his Son.
We shall gain everlasting joy by handing ourselves over to Christ.

That God Be Glorified in All