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.

August 06, 2010

For the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

Daniel 7:9-10,13-14
2 Peter 1:16-19
Luke 9:28-36

The roots of the Biblical word “exodus” mean literally “the way out.”
Moses and Elijah, hundreds of years before Christ, had each gone on an exodus to stand before the face of God upon the heights of Sinai.
Now we see them standing on a mountain in the glory of the Lord Jesus.
Moses was of the tribe of Levi.
At Sinai, Moses was the middleman— the ritual priest— of the living God’s Covenant with the twelve tribes of Israel more than one thousand and two hundred years before Christ.
Beginning with Moses at Sinai, God chose the tribe Levi for the priesthood.
Elijah, whose tribe we do not know, was one of the greatest prophets.
Four hundred years or so after Moses, the people of God turned to idols, leaving Elijah as the lone prophet demanding they turn back to the living God and his covenant with them.
Moses the priest of the Sinai covenant, and Elijah its faithful prophet— these two men now stand in the glory of the Lord Jesus.
They speak with him about his exodus by which he is to open the New and Everlasting Covenant.
The Lord Jesus is of the tribe of Judah, the tribe of the kings.
Moses priest and Elijah prophet stand before the King, “the Most High over all the earth” [see the responsorial psalm], who is also Priest and Prophet above them in all things and in all ways.
Peter, who “did not know what he was saying,” said it was good to be there with Moses and Elijah, and offered to pitch camp for them right there.
Straightaway, heaven stopped him.
A cloud shrouded them all, and inside it a voice said of the Lord Jesus that he was the chosen one.
It was right then that Moses and Elijah vanished.
For the New and Everlasting Covenant, God chose not Moses the priest nor Elijah the prophet, but his own Son born into Judah, the tribe of kings.
Peter was not to pitch tents to stay with Moses and Elijah in the ancient covenant.
Rather, Peter, John, James, all the apostles, and the whole Church are to go on an exodus with the Lord Jesus who is Priest, Prophet, and King in enacting the New and Everlasting Covenant.
At the end of our exodus we shall all be transfigured through and through.
The fulfillment of the New and Everlasting Covenant shall make us shine like the sun in soul and body, in all we do, touch, and make— as even the earthly, human, handmade clothing of the Lord Jesus became as dazzling light.
All our human reality, experience, body, feelings, thinking, choices, and activity shall be transfigured.
The transfiguration of the Lord Jesus calls us to listen to him, to follow him on exodus, and to pitch camp with him in his New and Everlasting Covenant by which he makes us in himself the royal tribe of the sons and daughters of God.
Even though the exodus of the Lord Jesus goes the way of the cross, we see that the heavenly Father has committed himself to clothe and fill his chosen ones with the light of his Son.
We profess our faith at every Sunday Mass that the Lord Jesus is “Light from Light,” and so we dare for ourselves to “look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.”

That God Be Glorified in All

August 02, 2010

For Monday of the Eighteenth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Jeremiah 28:1-17
Matthew 14:13-21

In both the first reading and the Gospel today we hear about prophets— their words, works, and deaths.
In the first reading, the Lord sends the true prophet Jeremiah to condemn the false prophet Hananiah, and to tell him the Lord would take his life because he raised false hopes among the people and preached to them what made for rebellion against the Lord.
In the Gospel, John the Baptist, a true prophet, has suffered death for speaking the truth against the sins of King Herod.
St. John also raised the hopes of the people for a messiah, pointing them to the Lord Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Having heard of John’s death, today the Lord Jesus withdrew “to a deserted place by himself.”
That is something he always did for the sake of frequent and regular prayer.
We may wonder if the Lord’s prayerful solitude today is in a spirit of mourning the death of a true prophet, his forerunner, his kinsman, even his friend who had called himself the “friend of the bridegroom.”
The crowds have heard of both John’s death and the Lord’s withdrawal into solitude.
Having put their messianic hopes in the prophet John and now in the Lord Jesus as a prophet as well, they leave their towns on foot and follow him to his solitude.
You and I today at Mass are also a crowd following the Lord Jesus.
Today the Gospel tells us that at the sight of a crowd following him the Lord Jesus is deeply moved.
However, it is not just any crowd that has moved him, but a crowd following him into solitude.
So, he chose to take care of them.
He cured their sick.
He took loaves that could be counted on one hand, and fish likewise, and turned the little into more than enough for five thousand men— “not counting women and children.”
The twelve loads of leftovers were no accident.
Among other things, they signify that his mission is to care for all the twelve tribes of the People of God.
They also show that he is to do more than fill bellies, far more than that.
We who have come to follow the Lord Jesus must open our eyes and our wills to want more than have him meet our needs.
Otherwise we would falsely follow a true prophet.
Remember: Hananiah the false prophet told the people that the sacred vessels of the Lord’s Temple and the People of God would return from captivity in Babylon.
The true prophet, Jeremiah, wanted the same thing, saying, “Amen! thus may the Lord do!”
However, he knew the Lord’s way and the Lord’s timing did not line up with the hopes of the people.
As we put our own hopes in the Lord Jesus, let us mark that he broke the loaves that were the insufficient hope of the crowd today.
He may break our hopes, only to make something much greater come to be.
Let us follow him nonetheless— especially in the solitude of prayer.

That God Be Glorified in All