One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

+ + +

The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

November 27, 2009

For Friday of the Thirty-Fourth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Luke 21:29-33

The Lord Jesus has already told us [in yesterday’s Gospel]:
they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
... when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your REDEMPTION is at hand.

Today he continues right from there:
when you see these things happening,
know that the Kingdom of God is near.

Heaven and earth will pass away....

The Kingdom of God— Christ the King!
In her Catechism, the Church teaches that:
When he comes at the end of time to judge the living and the dead,
the glorious Christ will reveal the secret disposition of hearts
and will render to each man according to his works
and according to his acceptance or refusal of grace. [CCC, 682]

Then the just will reign with Christ for ever,
glorified in body and soul,
and the material universe itself will be transformed.
God will then be “all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28),
in eternal life. [CCC, 1060]

This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity—
this communion of life and love with the Trinity,
with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed....
... is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings,
the state of supreme, definitive happiness. [CCC, 1024]

There is a price for all of this.
The Lord Jesus calls it our REDEMPTION.
We let sin overtake us; we let sin enslave us.
The Lord Jesus REDEEMED— he BOUGHT BACK our freedom.
However, he did so by letting the slavery of our freely chosen sin impose its full mastery and exact its price.
He let the slavery of our freely chosen sin kill us.
He himself— “Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity”— freely chose to enter into “Holy Communion” with our enslavement and our death.
He let the enslavement run its course and spend itself on him until he died.
In the death of Christ True God and True Man, both heaven and earth passed away.
So was paid the greatest ransom possible.
The Lord then rose with the invincible freedom of God in Holy Communion with a new creation: God alive as King in man’s resurrection to life and freedom forever impervious to sin and death.
Heaven and earth have already passed away in the death of Christ True God and True Man.
He said it in today’s Gospel before he died.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
His words remain.
“This is my body... given up for you.”
“This is... my blood... of the new and everlasting covenant.”
His “new and everlasting covenant,” his “words will not pass away”.
Let us take him at his word, let us honor the untold price he has paid, and let us work to remain faithful, whether the days left us be few or the years many.
The “fulfillment of the deepest human longings” and “supreme, definitive happiness” [CCC, 1024, as above] are at stake.

That God Be Glorified in All

November 25, 2009

For Wednesday of the Thirty-Fourth Ordinary Week of the Church Year— the Last Week of the Church Year

Luke 21:12-19

The Lord foretold his followers would suffer much before his second coming.
In the United States, we have had some persecution of Catholicism throughout our history.
In the 1600’s, in the founding of the English colonies in North America, many wanted to ban Catholicism.
From 1835 to 1855 in the city of New York, it was necessary to post armed guards at the Catholic cathedral and parishes because anti-Catholic organizations and demonstrators were numerous, powerful and violent.
In 1844 in the city of Philadelphia, more than a dozen persons died when anti-Catholic rioters burned down two Catholic churches and more than 50 Catholic homes.
In that same century, U.S. Protestant missionaries convinced the monarchy of Hawaii to ban Catholicism, exile Catholic priests, and to imprison, enslave, work and starve to death Catholic Hawaiians.
In 1928, Alfred Smith ran for U.S. president, and lost, denounced publicly because he was a Catholic.
In 1961, John F. Kennedy won the U.S. presidency only after publicly stating that his Catholic faith would have no impact on his integrity as president.
In the year 2000, the U.S. House of Representatives erupted in quarreling over the appointing of the first Catholic chaplain in its history.
Last year, 2008, many in the country raised the alarm that there were too many Catholics on the Supreme Court.
Prejudice, discrimination, destruction, violence, murder— the Church has always known persecution.
Things will get much worse before Christ returns.
Today in his Gospel, he tells us we will secure our lives— even the hairs of our heads— by our perseverance in giving public testimony to his name.
The Word of the Lord tells us that before he returns the Church will undergo one last test that will upset the faith of many.
[See 675-677 in the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” concerning the final testing of the Church.]
Evil will launch a crafty last attack on the Church.
Yesterday, the Lord told us, “See that you not be deceived.”
A pseudo-religion will deceive men with an offer that will seem to solve all difficulties.
It will take men away from the truth, away from God, away from Christ, away from the Church.
Some of our fellow Catholics, family and friends in the Church, will fall to the deception, and, as the Lord tells it in his Gospel today, they will hand us over even unto death.
The fullness of the Kingdom of God will come NOT with the earthly Church gradually rising in triumph, but with the Church suffering.
Everlasting victory will come only because Christ the King will return, he will break in, he will judge the living and the dead, and he will banish evil forever.
He will throw back the bridal veil, to reveal to the naked eyes of the world that the Church is his own Flesh and Blood.
The battle-weary, earthbound Church will rise in peace to join the Church Triumphant of saints descending from heaven.
The mystery of Christ’s final victory breaking into the Church’s suffering is celebrated in every Mass.
In the crushing of wheat into bread and the crushing of grapes into wine, the Church sees a sign of her own self-sacrifice, her life, her strength, her need, her work, her joy, her suffering that she puts upon the altar.
Then, by the will of the Father, and the work of the Holy Spirit, Christ breaks in, and what was the offering of the Church is changed: Body of Christ and Blood of Christ!
Remember: the resurrection of Christ did not prevent his suffering and death, but broke into them!
The resurrection of Christ burst into the Church that was sorrowing and hiding in the Upper Room— in the same place where they last rejoiced with him, the place where he committed himself to them in his Body and Blood.
In that room, the newly risen Lord breathed the Holy Spirit out of his scarred but triumphal body.
In that room the newly risen Lord breathed the Holy Spirit upon the sad and fearful body of his apostolic Church.
Christ will burst into our lives, whether in a place that has known rejoicing, or a place that is full of sorrow and fear.
If we hold fast in giving public testimony to his name, no matter sorrow or joy, no matter danger or wellbeing, he tells us today in his Gospel, “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”
The victory is his alone, but he breathes the victory of the Spirit upon those who hold fast in his truth.
Christ the King will break in, and by the power of the Spirit he will make heaven, earth and all things new again for his persevering faithful.

That God Be Glorified in All