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.

March 29, 2010

For Monday of Holy Week

John 12:1-11
Isaiah 42:1-7

Every Sunday Mass, we profess our faith in the Godhead of the Lord Jesus.
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God,
Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
one in being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.

We have a fullness of faith-filled words that the Bethany siblings, Lazarus, Martha, and Mary, did not have even after the Lord raised Lazarus from the dead.
As the Lord made his way to the cave holding Lazarus’s body, both Martha and Mary told him what they believed.
Martha said:
Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
And even now I know that whatever you ask from God,
God will give you. [Jn. 11:21-22]

I believe that you are the Christ,
the Son of God ... coming into the world. [Jn. 11:27]

Mary then came before him, and repeated Martha’s first words, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Mary spoke after having thrown herself down at the Lord’s feet.
We have seen her at his feet before.
In fact, she is in the Gospels three times, and always at the Lord’s feet.
When we first met her, she was seated at his feet listening to him teach.
A “Liturgy of the Word”!
Then, just before the Lord called Lazarus out of death, Mary was at the Lord’s feet again, voicing her belief in his power to prevent her brother’s death.
A “Creed” or “Profession of Faith”!
Finally, in today’s Gospel, she heaped extravagant worship on the Lord’s feet.
Eucharistic Adoration!
She used genuine spikenard ointment worth three hundred days’ wages.
By our minimum wage today, that would be near twenty thousand dollars or more.
As if that were not enough, she lowered herself to use her hair as a towel for his feet.
The Lord accepted and defended her excess of groveling, thankfulness, and even worship of his mere feet with spikenard and her hair.
We cannot say that at the time she had the theological fullness of our knowledge that Jesus is Lord God.
Yet who among us has ever poured out worship so lavish, so humble, and so bodily real as her worship of the Lord?
She and her siblings were dear to the Lord.
The Gospel says the Lord loved Lazarus, called him his friend, and wept openly on the way to his tomb.
Yet never did Lazarus, Martha, or Mary ever call him by his first name.
They always called him “Lord”— a title befitting God.
Their Lord Jesus, as God who alone has power to do so, shouted at the rotting corpse of Lazarus a command to come out of death into life.
He accepted from Martha the title “Son of God.”
He accepted and defended the prodigal, supremely sacrificial veneration Mary spent on his feet.
Lazarus, Martha, and Mary regard him as far more than a personal friend.
Mary’s spikenard and hair silently outdid the shouting Palm Sunday crowd that spread garments and leafy branches to carpet the road for the Lord.
The Most Holy Lord of hosts— heaven and earth are full of his glory— hosanna in the highest!
The Church’s daily Eucharistic rite of worship and salvation always repeats the song of Palm Sunday.
Throughout Holy Week the Church’s rites repeat several times part of a song St. Paul wrote into his Letter to the Philippians [2:8-9].
Christ became obedient for us unto death,
even death on a cross.
Therefore God has highly exalted him,
and bestowed on him the name which is above every name.

The song goes on to say, “Jesus Christ is Lord” [2:11].
The Name that is above very name spoke itself to Moses from out of the burning bush: I AM WHO AM.
That Name is so sacrosanct that Biblical awe veils its sound with the title, “Lord.”
“Jesus Christ is Lord.”
The song St. Paul sent to the Church at Philippi also tells [2:6-8] how Christ the Lord far outdid the humility of Mary in Bethany.
Christ Jesus ... was in the form of God.
He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped.
He emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
born in the likeness of men.
In human form he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death,
even death on a cross.

This is the week of his death on a cross.
It is also a week rich in words and rituals to acknowledge he is Lord God.
This week and all the days of our lives, let us honor his Lordship and Godhead with our own freedom, in our thoughts, in our words, in what we do, and in avoiding what we ought.
At his name every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that he is Lord. [Cf. Phil. 2:10-11.]
Doing so is our duty and our salvation, ushering in the everlasting joy he has humbled himself to win for us.

That God Be Glorified in All