One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

+ + +

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

May 06, 2010

For Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter

John 15:9-11

Today’s Gospel picks up from yesterday’s [15:1-8], in which Christ said his Father is a vine grower, Christ is the vine, and we are his branches.
Without pruning, a grapevine grows many thinner branches that do not support as much fruit, but sap the overall strength of the vine.
The word, teaching, or commandments of Christ are the pruning hook or knife of the Father’s love by which the Father cuts back or prunes his children, to guide our growth for greater strength and more plentiful fruit.
Christ says in today’s Gospel:
As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love.

The Lord says three things work together to bind his us to his Father: LOVE, COMMANDMENTS, and JOY.
He says love and commandments need each other.
IF you keep my commandments,
you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.

IF we do not keep his commandments, we will not remain in his love.
He tells us today what wished-for end is to drive the love that keeps the Father’s commandments.
I have told you this so that my JOY might be in you
and your JOY might be complete.

The Lord’s joy filling us and fulfilling our joy is the goal that drives the love that keeps the commandments that prune us for strength and fruitfulness.
That is the parable, the natural logic, of the grapevine that is stronger and more fruitful because of pruning.
However, it is a natural logic that sin and unbelief reject.
The opposite three— HATRED, DISOBEDIENCE, and SADNESS— are the very things the Son of God chose to suffer on earth at the hands of us sinners.
As he says in tomorrow’s continuation [15:12-17] of this Gospel: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
God himself has suffered the cutting and pruning at our hands, thus keeping his Father’s commandments and remaining in his love— for the sake of filling and fulfilling our joy with his.
In the Body and Blood of Christ we can harvest, eat, and drink the joy of the Lord, only if we also eat and drink the same willingness he had to undergo the pruning that cuts out sin and keeps the Father’s commandments so as to remain in his love.

That God Be Glorified in All

May 03, 2010

For the Feast of Saints Philip and James

1 Corinthians 15:1-8
John 14:6-14

In his Gospel today, the Lord Jesus Christ says we must look to him if we want to see and know God the Father.
The words and deeds of Christ show us the fatherly face of God.
However, Christ has ascended to the Father and is no longer here in the same way as before.
He left behind more than five hundred witnesses who saw him after he rose from the dead.
From the Father to Christ, from Christ to more than five hundred, and from them to us: starting with Christ, it is a string from witness to witness to us, and requires faith and more faith.
The greater work is that of the lesser witnesses.
The greatest witness of the Father is Christ.
We are more ready to believe him than to believe lesser witnesses.
Furthermore, lesser witnesses are not one with the Father in Godhead, and did not come down from the Father in heaven, as did Christ.
So, again: the lesser witnesses have the greater work to do in showing the Father by their words and deeds.
That is what Christ says in his Gospel today.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.

Christ showed the face of the Father.
Since Christ has ascended to his Father, lesser witnesses must do the greater work of words and deeds that show BOTH the Son AND the Father.
The Church acknowledges that Christ gave her the mission “to render God the Father and his incarnate Son present and, as it were, visible...” [Vatican II, Gaudium et spes, “Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World,” 21].
When he ascended into heaven, the risen Son of God left behind a Church of more than five hundred who witnessed him after he rose from the dead.
Among them of course were the apostles, including Philip and James whose feast is today.
By words and deeds, the Church of more than five hundred witnesses handed on what they heard and saw in Christ, whose own words and deeds showed the fatherly face of God, the face of God the Father.
Today’s first reading also sums up and sharpens to a point the words and deeds by which Christ showed us the Father, namely that for our sins Christ died and was raised.
It is a father’s mission to give life to his children, to uphold what they need to live and grow, and to withhold or withstand what harms their life and growth.
Sin is the root of all harm to the fullness of life and growth.
For that reason, Christ died for our sins, and he rose with the Spirit of fatherly power to be our undying life and growth.
As members of his apostolic Church, we are the witnesses of Christ the Son of the heavenly Father.
If anyone asks us, “Show us the Father and the Son,” we must do so with the witness of our own fatherly words and deeds.
Since that is a greater work, something more is necessary.
“For it is the function of the Church to render ... the Father and ... Son present and ... visible, WHILE CEASELESSLY RENEWING AND PURIFYING HERSELF UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT” [Vatican II, Gaudium et spes, “Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World,” 21].
If the greater works of our words and deeds are to show the Father and the Son, then we must ask for the Holy Spirit ceaselessly to guide us, renew us, and purify us.
We are to ask as the Lord says in his Gospel today.
And whatever you ask in my name,
I will do,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask anything of me in my name,
I will do it.

In the name of the Lord Jesus, may we always have guidance, renewal, and purification by the Spirit, so that the Father and the Son may be glorified in the apostolic Church, in us, in all our words and deeds!

That God Be Glorified in All