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 17, 2010

For Saturday of the Fifteenth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Matthew 12:14-21

The first reading and the responsorial psalm today cry out for the afflicted, innocent, unfortunate, fatherless, the poor.
It was because the Lord Jesus defended the hungry who harvested food on the Sabbath, and because he healed the afflicted on the Sabbath, that on this day in the Gospel the Pharisees began to plot to put him to death.
It was not yet time for his messianic victory, so the Lord withdrew from that place.
Likewise, since it was not yet time for his victory, he warned all the many who followed him and whom he cured not to make him known.
The time for his victory would begin on Palm Sunday, but would quickly turn into his death and seeming defeat five days later.
The plotting Pharisees as well as all the many who eagerly followed him in the Gospel today had no idea or the wrong ideas about what and for whom the messianic victory would really be.
The Pharisees, of course, were of the people of Israel, and so were many or even most of those who eagerly followed the Lord Jesus.
It was Israel that had hope for a messiah.
However, there were also many Gentiles in the crowds that followed the Lord Jesus, and received healing from him.
The surprise for Israel would be that the messianic victory would be for the Gentiles as well, not for Israel alone.
The idea of a messiah for Israel alone had to die with the Lord Jesus.
Only then would his messianic victory rise from the dead for all peoples of the world— for both the Israel of God and the pagans or Gentiles.
The Gospel today voices one of the mysterious, misunderstood, messianic prophecies to the people of Israel more than seven hundred years before the birth of the Lord Jesus.
... he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
... he brings justice to victory.
And in his name the Gentiles will hope.

According to this prophetic word from the Lord, the true messianic victory is a victory of justice.
Justice is first of all the holiness of faithful obedience to God.
Justice towards God the Father is a defining quality of God the Son, the Lord Jesus.
The Pharisees failed to recognize true justice, and could not recognize it in the Lord Jesus.
However, the eager crowds who followed him were also in danger of ignoring his God-seeking justice, wanting him instead for handouts and healings.
The Gospel touches on that ignorance today: “Many people followed him, and he cured them all, but he warned them not to make him known.”
They wanted a messiah who would be a “do-gooder” and satisfy all their “gimme this” and “gimme that”.
Instead, they got the Son obedient to his Father first and above all.
So on Palm Sunday they shouted “Hosanna” because they thought they were getting a do-gooder for Israel.
Then on Good Friday they shouted “Crucify him” when he didn’t work the messianic victory their way.
You and I are here in a crowd to follow the Lord Jesus.
Are we here before his altar hoping he will meet our “gimme this” and our “gimme that”?
We have no control over whether or not he will meet any of our wishes for a do-gooder messiah.
What we eat and drink, however, is the justice of the Lord Jesus, his holy and faithful obedience to his Father even unto the giving up of his body and the shedding of his blood.
Even in his Eucharist, the old prophecy in the Gospel holds true: “he will proclaim justice” and “he brings justice to victory.”
Since this is what and this is whom we eat and drink, we too must be willing to proclaim justice and bring it to victory even unto the giving up of our bodies and the shedding of our blood.
Short of that, we are merely shouting, “Crucify him!” with the crowd and plotting his death like the Pharisees.

That God Be Glorified in All


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