Fr. Xavier's homily for the Friday before Epiphany

Fr. Xavier celebrated the Mass today - and as usual, his homily was great.  Enjoy!

1 John 5:5-13;  Mk 1:7-11

“God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”

As we near the end of our celebration of the Incarnation of the Word of God there is a question we might ask: Why has this monastery been situated here in Nodaway County for the last 139 years? Historians can give many causes. One reason is so that Christ might become the life of souls.



St. Benedict put it to his followers in terms of a free choice: “Prefer nothing whatever to Christ!”

Blessed Columba Marmion theologized about this life in retreat conferences that became the book, Christ, the Life of the Soul.

One way to understand this is to take “life” as a synonym for “glory”: “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (Jn 1:14)  Intimately united to Christ in Baptism, the monk and the Christian share in Christ’s graces so that it is not only when our bodies are resurrected that glory happens.  Glory – the Christ-life – happens whenever we open ourselves to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  Daily we are given opportunities to come to life, to come to glory.

This is the reason that the Eucharist is the center of our lives.  Here we enter Christ’s life in the “sacred mysteries.”  In this sacrament Christ offers to our freedom, his crucified and glorified life so that under his power we might die to selfishness and move from glory to glory.

James Keating, in a paper on The Contemplative Pastor puts it in these words:

If one is to receive the gift of being a contemplative pastor, one has to suffer the presence of the mystery of Christ both affectively and intellectually. There is much in us that is not rooted in this mystery, and so there is a purification process needed that enables us to welcome Christ at ever deeper levels within our soul.  The means to such depth lies in one’s vulnerability toward the promptings of the Spirit, as this same Spirit bears the mystery toward one’s heart.

“God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”

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