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.

April 16, 2010

For Friday of the Second Week of Easter

John 6:1-15

Today’s Gospel begins eight weekdays of hearing our risen Lord at Mass tell the holy news of his Body and Blood.
Death and the stone seal of the tomb failed to keep the Lord from his mission to rise from the dead in his real Body and Blood with the power of the Spirit at the bidding of the Father.
Likewise bread and wine have their fate sealed upon the stone of the altar, and they fail to keep the Lord from rising there in his real Body and Blood.
In today’s Gospel the five barley loaves and two fish are a dead plan for five thousand men who have bodily hunger in their blood.
Yet the Lord makes a heaping wealth of food rise up from it.
From the dead handful of bread and fish he raised up for the five thousand men not only their fill— “as much ... as they wanted”— but twelve basket-loads more than they needed.
God always has endlessly more to give than we want, more than we think we need, more to give than merely satisfying our hungers, more to give than merely healing our wounds.
He gives us himself, and he is more than we humanly need.
At the end of today’s Gospel we see that the men thought they needed the Lord Jesus as their king.
That also was a dead plan.
He withdrew from it, only to offer more than they thought they needed.
As this Gospel goes on for another seven weekdays he shall offer himself in his own Body and Blood as real food and real drink.
That goes unbelievably beyond what hungry men think their bellies can stand.
Yet the Lord will uphold in this Gospel [6:53] that we have simply NO life in us without the real eating and the real drinking of his real Body and his real Blood as real food and real drink.
This defies all our earthly hungers, all our earthly needs, all our earthly wounds of body and mind.
He has more to do and more to offer than simply to fill or heal us.
At the end of all things, he heals, he saves, he fulfills, and he glorifies us by filling us with SACRIFICE.
Take ... eat
This is my Body GIVEN UP
Take ... drink
This is ... my Blood SHED

If the end of our poverty and hunger is our final goal, it is a dead plan.
If the end of our sadness is our final goal, it is a dead plan.
If healing is our final goal, it is a dead plan.
God’s answer beyond our needs is self-sacrificing love: “Do this in memory of me.”
We are his sons and daughters in his image and likeness; and we are the chosen of his new and everlasting covenant.
“Do this in memory of me.”
He calls us to join him in the freedom of giving ourselves up and pouring ourselves out— and thus to have life in us [Jn. 6:53], “for in him we live and move and have our being ... for we are indeed his offspring” according to the Word of the Lord [Acts 17:28].
It says also, “For freedom Christ has set us free” [Gal. 5:1].
While the dead plan of this world still writhes in agony until its end, we already begin to live, move, and have our being in the freedom of the Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ.
Even if we are not fully or perfectly able to do so in memory of him, he has already done it and still does it.
He asks our faith and willingness.
The Body of Christ, Amen!
The Blood of Christ, Amen!

That God Be Glorified in All

April 12, 2010

For Monday of the Second Week of Easter

John 3:1-8

Twice in today’s Gospel we hear the Lord Jesus invoke again his Godly self and Godly right with the saying, “Amen, amen, I say to you.”
What does the Lord God say?
He says we can enter and see the Kingdom of God only by birth from above of water and the Spirit.
Mark it well: birth from above is in BOTH earthly water AND God the Spirit— because a human being is BOTH earthly flesh AND spirit from God.
If it were birth of Spirit alone, then our flesh would lack meaning and be of less worth or none at all.
Rather, our flesh has everlasting meaning and everlasting worth.
Today the Lord also says, “The wind blows where it wills.”
In the Gospel language, “wind” and “Spirit” are the same word.
“The Spirit blows where it wills.”
God the Father sent God the Son in the power of God the Spirit and in the watery flesh of the human race.
God the Spirit blows where it wills.
In the Lord Jesus Christ, in his birth and life, in his suffering and death, in his rising and glory— in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Spirit has willed to blow within our watery flesh.
The Lord Jesus said so when his Father had newly sent him to rise from the dead, to tell and hand on to his apostolic Church what his Father had done for them in doing for him [Jn. 20:21-22].
“As the Father has sent me,
even so I send you.”
And when he had said this,
he breathed on them,
and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.

Even in his resurrection, the Lord Jesus is newborn of watery flesh and powerful Spirit.
The Baptismal rite he commanded his apostles to use pours out water and Spirit upon the human flesh and the human spirit, giving them birth from above.
Receive the Holy Spirit.
If you forgive the sins of any,
they are forgiven;
if you retain the sins of any,
they are retained. [Jn. 20:22-23]

In our human flesh and our human spirit— emotion, thought, and will— we are distorted and weighted by sin.
It is by forgiving sins that Baptism of water and the Spirit gives us new birth from above.
We have everlasting meaning and worth in both spirit and flesh.
The Sacred Chrism of Confirmation is a prophetic testimony, a priestly consecration, and a royal commissioning of our meaning and worth.
The Body and the Blood of the Risen Christ are full of the Spirit so as to be the Father’s covenant commitment to our meaning and worth.
They are also the covenant commitment that we make to the untold worth and meaning of God.

That God Be Glorified in All