[A Homily of Fr. Matthew Kelty, O.C.S.O. for the 3rd Sunday of Advent (A), 2004: (Mt 11:2-11) ]


Rejoice!  All is from God!

 Rejoice in the Lord! Today we are bidden to respond to God with joy. So the question: Why?  What is there to rejoice about?

Well, to begin with, there’s a Pope in Rome. And he’s a good one. And there’s a bishop in Louisville. And he’s a good one. And there’s a pastor in New Haven. And he’s a good one. And there’s an abbot in Gethsemani. And he’s a good one.

Can you begin to grasp the full reality behind these simple statements?  And would not wonder and joy follow on any consideration of them, however modest?

Besides, there is a President in Washington. And a governor in the commonwealth of Kentucky. And a mayor in the city of New Haven.

Can you begin to grasp the full reality behind these simple statements?  And would not wonder and joy follow on any consideration of them, however modest?

Besides there are senators and congressmen in Washington. And senators and congressmen in Frankfort. And we monks of Gethsemani have a senator who speaks for us in Washington. And representatives. And the same in Frankfort.

These are items for joy for they represent a phenomenal structure in Church and State; old, involved, complex, the fruit of centuries of waiting on God and man. And we rejoice in them. How long and complex a story behind the woman who is mayor of New Haven, behind the pastor in St. Catherine’s, the abbot of Gethsemani. They are, all of them, at the end of the line, or the beginning, however you see it, that ties us and them to a fabulous story. And a story in which we are involved. Indeed, without us and our neighbors, there would be no mayor, no pastor, no abbot.

You and I and how many millions of others are all here at this moment of history. And hard on our heels are those who follow after. And how soon our short time together is over.

What wonderful things to think about, the more so in terms of joy. For as Christians we have some grasp of the meaning of it all.

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In an early New Guinea, the simple people were overwhelmed by Europeans, and all that the European did and had. An advanced culture meets a simple one. Almost cruel.

They hung on to a few basic principles. All they had—however primitive it may seem to be—was by union with the world of spirit. The other world. The divine world, if you will, however poorly conceived or defined.

Hence all that the newcomers have and do and say must have, by the nature of things, a relation to the superior spirit world. And what was that relation? And how is it expressed? Tell us, that we might share what you have.

And we’d say:  No.  No relation to the spirit. It is just a matter of hard work. And they’d say, “No way. You lie.” And so they’d devise tactics and techniques involving the spirit that they might have what the foreigner had. Called the “cargo cult.”

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And, of course, they were right. We did lie. All we have, all we are, all we do, is from God.

That’s what this house says. It delivers a message loud and clear. It’s from God and for God. All else is lie.

All is from Above. From Pope to parish priest, from President to the mayor of New Haven. From computer back to counting with beads on a string.

That’s why I went back to New Guinea to live in a hermitage by the sea and, beyond talking to whomever came by, did nothing useful: like rising at night, at dawn, at sunset, to do the psalter. To read. To pray. To get supper. To indicate that contact with the world of God which is the foundation of all. That love of God is the ultimate good and His love for all the ultimate answer.

So there is everything to rejoice over. The world is full of the glory of God and who better than man reveals it? For man sees it and does it, beginning with the four elements of earth and air, fire and water. All the way to landing on the moon and coming back.  Rejoice!  Again I say, Rejoice!

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