The Rule of St. Benedict, written by St. Benedict of Nursia 1,500 years ago, has instructions for a very specific role in the monastery—the porter in charge of answering the door. The porter’s job is to open the door to the monastery when someone knocks. Not much of a role, you say? It actually is. One contemporary Benedictine author notes, “The way we answer doors is the way we deal with the world.” God is calling us to the privilege of opening the doors of our lives to each other, to welcome each other as family. So open your door with reverence and love!
On this Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, we are summoned to deepen our faith in the Lord, present in the Eucharist and acting through His Sacraments. Routine may have dulling effects, but it cannot be such that we receive the Lord of glory each Sunday in any way that would be called mindless. Ask the Lord to anoint your mind so that you never forget your need for the Eucharist. Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you have no life in you (cf Jn 6:53). However, receive this great gift worthily and with a communion that befits the Holy Communion to which we are summoned. Be a MAN and not a MOUSE!
It is so beautiful that we can talk to God as our loving Father. That we can walk with Jesus as our brother. And that we can live by the light and the gifts of their Spirit of love. But, fear is our enemy. We need to know this. And many of us need to make a commitment to living boldly for Christ. Many of us need to start living out our adoption as sons and daughters of God. So in this Holy Mass and all throughout this whole week, let us pray for the grace to deepen our awareness of the Blessed Trinity’s loving presence within our souls. And let us remember the words of Jesus: "I am with you always, until the end of the age."
So the transition described by St. Luke in the Acts of the Apostles is complete. Christ has left the earth. Now the burden of the Kingdom is on the shoulders of the Church. But we needn’t worry. The Holy Spirit is with us and so we will witness amazing, miraculous events as long as we focus on His way, His will, and His time. Christ’s Kingdom is coming. And all who worship the Lord Jesus will one day share in the final victory. Praise be to God!
Where does love come from? It comes from God alone. What does it look like? It looks like a man hanging on a Cross in our behalf. What does such love require out of us? It requires us to move beyond “need love” to “gift love.” To look around at others who are in need of God’s love and to give it to them--not asking what they can do for us, but remembering what Christ has done for us. This is my command,” Jesus said to his disciples, and also to us: “Love one another.”
Christ is the true vine. We are the branches. And we have but one job. That is to bear fruit. We could be doing so much more for the sake of the Kingdom, but we have forgotten that our main task is to make a difference in the world. There is another question besides, where is your fruit? That question is, have you been pruned? It is only after we have been pruned that we can bear the most splendid fruit of all. Pruning can be painful. When the owner of the vineyard prunes a vine, not only does he cut away all the dead wood. He also cuts away some of the live wood. “The vineyards in the early spring look like a collection of barren, bleeding stumps,” says one Bible scholar, “but in the fall they are filled with luxuriant purple grapes. As the farmer wields the pruning knife on his vines,” he continues, “so God cuts dead wood out from among His saints, and often cuts back the living wood so far that His method seems cruel. Nevertheless, from those who have suffered the most there often comes the greatest fruitfulness.” Can you do that? Can you take any adverse trial and pray, “Lord, is there some way you can use this event to prune me and cause me to bear more fruit to your glory?”
Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.” What a wonderful God–to care for dumb, desperate, and sinful creatures like you and me. What I hope you see is the divine absurdity of it all. The Lord of all the universe lay down His life for you and me. He lays aside His regal robes to take up the cross of degradation and death. He lays aside His crown of glory for a painful crown of thorns, and he did it for us. Can you get your mind around such an astounding truth?
Here is the best antidote that I know of to the fear that so easily besets us. It is to experience the presence of the Risen Christ--to see the marks of His love for us in His hands and side--to hear Him say, as He said to those early disciples, “Peace be with you.” The disciples huddled behind closed doors because they felt abandoned and because they put fear before faith. But they were not abandoned. Christ can penetrate the closed doors of our lives!
And the Good News today is that Easter Sunday always triumphs Good Friday! God always has the last word! Easter has the last word …goodness, life, and light have the last word! So today is a day of triumph for Jesus and a day of assurance and of great joy for each and every one of us. We rejoice in the Risen Lord and His promise of eternal life. Amen! Let God Easter in us! Let God bring forth new life in us!
On this day, when "Christ our Passover was sacrificed," the Church mediates on the passion of Her Lord and Spouse, adores the Cross, commemorates Her origin from the side of Christ asleep on the Cross, and intercedes for the salvation of the whole world. Listen to Fr. Cooper's Good Friday Homily and meditate on the question" Where you there when they crucified my Lord?