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.

September 23, 2009

For Wednesday of the Twenty-Fifth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Luke 9:1-6

In this Gospel we see the beginning of the mission, of the “apostolate” of the Twelve Apostles.
It is a mysterious beginning because it also shows the end and fulfillment of all things.
As Christ sent his Twelve Apostles out for this beginning, he gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases as they proclaimed the Kingdom of God.
At the end and fulfillment of all things, the Kingdom of God will make our bodies whole and fulfill our souls with freedom from sin and the sway of demons.
This beginning of the apostolate, of the apostolic mission, did not come from the apostles.
It came from the power and authority Christ put into their hands.
He sent them out carrying nothing they could call their own or the world could give them.
“Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic.”
They went with nothing but the power and authority of Christ that freed bodies and souls.
That was the beginning, and so it will be at the end when Christ opens the fullness of his Kingdom in the world through the Apostolic Church.
In the meantime, we are to hold onto nothing except our own obedience to the power and authority that come from Christ.
Without his power and authority, and without our obedience to him, we shall have no beginning and no fulfillment for our bodies and our souls.
Here in his Eucharistic Body and Blood, the King our God is present empty-handed by the measure of the world— empty-handed and poor but for his power and authority, as well as his own obedience to his Father.
In his Body and Blood he hands over to us his dignity, power, authority, and obedience.
His Body and Blood shall be as nothing for us, unless we answer with our own obedience.
Obedience to Christ demands that we leave everything behind.
“Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic.”
It is the same journey— the way of the cross— that Christ undertook in obedience and self-denial.
If we do the same, then at the end all shall be fulfilled.
By empty-handed obedience to his power and authority, we shall come to the freedom of our bodies, the freedom of our joy, our knowledge, and our will, the freedom of our whole being in the Kingdom of God.

That God Be Glorified in All

September 21, 2009

I am grateful to those who donate to my monastery.

That God Be Glorified in All

September 20, 2009

For the Twenty-Fifth Ordinary Sunday of the Church Year

Mark 9:30-37

The last words of this Gospel reading tell the Christian what he is most truly to seek.
St. Benedict tells monks the same: that a sincere man moves his whole self to “most truly seek God”— whom Jesus today says is “the One who sent me”— God the Father.
Does anyone here today most truly seek God?
The followers of Christ in the Gospel today were not seeking God.
Instead, they were arguing about who among them was the great number one.
This is the Holy Gospel according to Mark.
It brings to the fore that the followers of Christ very often did not understand him or the way on which he was leading.
By now in the Gospel, they have already seen him throw demons out of several persons, heal the sick and disabled, scold the storm and the sea into stillness, turn a few pieces of bread and fish into enough to feed crowds in the thousands.
They have seen him raise the dead.
They knew they were following a man whose mere words had power over life and death, over wind and sea, over demons and disease, a man who dared to take God’s prerogative in forgiving sins.
He has told them they would see the kingdom of God come with power in their own lifetimes.
Now three of his closest followers have just seen him transfigured.
On a mountain they saw heaven shine out of his body and his clothes, with saints of old standing by speaking to him.
Surely the followers thought they were close to God’s chosen king of glory, the anointed one who would lead God’s people to win their rightful place at the head of the world.
Perhaps the temptation came too easily to wonder, even argue, about their places in the line of worldly greatness.
They really did not grasp the three mysterious lessons he gave shortly before and after his Transfiguration: that he was to suffer many things, be rejected by the elders and chief priests, treated with contempt, handed over and killed.
He also told them he would honor them in glory only if for his sake they also would take up their crosses, follow him, and lose their lives for him and his gospel.
He has bounced them off the walls, one wall being transfiguration and glory, and the other wall being suffering, shame, and death.
It was all too much for their understanding yet.
You and I would not have gotten it either.
Even if we know and believe it now, it is still hard to follow the way of Jesus, and we often live as if we still don’t get it.
He promises his way leads us to freedom, joy, glory and greatness.
It most truly leads us to God.
If we most truly seek God and wish to find him, today Jesus says not to seek our own worldly greatness, but to open ourselves to those who are least in the world.
Whoever receives a little one in the name of Jesus, receives Jesus; and whoever receives Jesus, receives God the Father who sent him.
Give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, welcome to the stranger, clothing to the naked, company to the sick and prisoners.
As you do to the least of his brethren, you do to him.
As you neglect the least of his brethren, you neglect him. [Cf. Mt. 25]
God himself freely faces death to be the willing servant of the lowest.
In his Body and Blood, God is committed unto death to be the slave of the least of his brethren.
If you most truly seek God, commit yourself to do the same in memory of him.

That God Be Glorified in All