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.

July 23, 2009

For Thursday of the Sixteenth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Exodus 19:1-2,9-11,16-20b
Matthew 13:10-17

The Living God wanted the children of Israel to have faith in himself, but he also wanted them to have faith in Moses.
In the first reading he told Moses:
I am coming to you in a dense cloud,
so that when the people hear me speaking with you,
they may always have faith in YOU also.

As God and Moses spoke to each other, the people saw lightning, cloud, smoke and fire atop Mount Sinai; they heard thunder and trumpet blast.
The people trembled before the mystery.
To borrow the words of the Gospel, “they look but do not see ... hear but do not ... understand.”
Only Moses understood what God was saying; and Moses told the people.
To the end of his life, Moses was a zealous, faithful, consistent witness to the Word of God for his people.
In a similar way in the Gospel, Jesus gave open “knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven” to his disciples.
However, he gave the crowd only the parables that were mysterious, like the lightning, cloud, smoke, fire, thunder, and trumpet blast from atop Mount Sinai.
Crowds saw and heard the sights and sounds of Sinai and of Jesus; but only Moses and the disciples of Jesus received understanding of the mysteries.
God wanted the people to have faith in Moses, and to receive understanding through Moses.
Jesus wants people to have faith in the testimony of his disciples, and to receive understanding of Jesus from the testimony of his disciples.
Jesus wants us to testify as Moses testified to the end of his life.
Are we zealous, faithful, consistent, believable, respectable witnesses of Jesus or not?
Here at the Mount of the Mysteries, the Altar of the Eucharist, the Living God comes down.
Together with us, the eyes of the world see only a parabolic bit of bread and wine.
For us disciples who believe, these are really the Body and Blood of Christ, granting us “knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven.”
God gives them to us with his expectation that we will serve as his witnesses before the world.
“Do this in memory of me.”
Can the world recognize a memory of Jesus in the lives we choose to live?
As disciples of Jesus, do we have integrity?
He warns us today:
To anyone who has,
more will be given
and he will grow rich;
from anyone who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.

That God Be Glorified in All

July 21, 2009

For Tuesday of the Sixteenth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Exodus 14:21 to 15:1
Matthew 12:46-50

The first reading answered the question, “On whose side was the Lord?”
The Gospel then answered another question, “Who is on the Lord’s side?”
Consider the first question.
On whose side was the Lord?
He went to war for his chosen people to free them from slavery in Egypt.
However, the Lord has not yet ended all slavery among his chosen people.
Satan still tempts us to enslave ourselves by sin.
At times, the demonic takes possession.
However, we also freely enslave our fellow human beings in many ways.
There are also forms of slavery inside us.
We are still bound by physical and emotional weaknesses, sicknesses, and wounds.
We are still shackled by limitations in our reasoning, understanding and knowledge.
Then, even though we may know what is good and true, our wills are weak.
We can struggle for freedom, but it is never perfect or absolute in the present world.
So, at the end of all things, the Lord will make war one last time to put an everlasting stop to all the enslavements of his chosen people.
Who are his chosen people?
The Gospel recasts that question.
Who is on the Lord’s side?
“Who is my mother?
Who are my brothers?”
And stretching out his hand toward his disciples,
he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father
is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

We are the chosen of the Lord if we choose to be his disciples and to do the will of his heavenly Father.
The relative freedoms we might win in the present world— such as physical and emotional freedoms— all such freedoms will come to an everlasting end, if in the end we have not remained faithful to our greatest freedom and source of freedom: God.
Jesus said [Jn. 8:31-36]:
... If you continue in my word,
you are truly my disciples,
and you will know the truth,
and the truth will make you free....
Every one who commits sin is a slave to sin.
The slave does not continue in the house for ever;
the son continues for ever.
So if the Son makes you free,
you will be free indeed.

If we want freedom, let us eat and drink the truth that God freely breaks open and pours out for us in his Body and Blood so that sins may be forgiven.
However, it shall all be useless, unless we put the power of the Lord’s victorious covenant to use by our own warfare against sin in our own lives.

That God Be Glorified in All