Thursday June 21, 2001 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Reading (2 Corinthians 11:1-11) Gospel (St. Matthew 6:7-15)
When we hear the words from Saint Paul today, they send a chill right up the spine because he talks about how our thoughts can be corrupted and that we may fall away from our sincere and complete devotion to Christ. The reason he says that to the Corinthians, he tells us, is because when someone comes preaching another Jesus than the one we have already received or a Gospel a little bit different from the one that we already know, people are so willing and ready to accept it. We need to consider that. If we put it in line with the Gospel today, we pray to one God whom we call Father. We pray that His kingdom will come and His Will be done - in us. If we are sincere in that, what that ultimately means is that we want His truth, the fullness of His truth.
The fullness of His truth is Jesus Christ. He is the One whom we look to as the Perfect One. He is the One we look to who shows us and teaches us what the Will of God is. Yet, when He teaches it to us, sometimes we really do not want it because it is hard. Some of the things are difficult. They shake us to the very core of our being and they require us to make changes. He calls us to lives of holiness and He calls us to give up the ways of the world: materialism, greed, and selfishness. We do not like it. We know it is right, we know it is truth, but sometimes we do not want it.
We can look around at some of the various preachers these days, romping all over on the TV set. There are groups that some Christians know as the health and wealth Gospel preachers. They say, "Jesus does not want you to suffer and He wants you to be rich. You do it His way and everything is going to be just fine. There will be no suffering in your life. If you do not have a lot of money, you must be doing something wrong. If you do it Jesus' way, you are going to be rich." We have all heard it and it is trash. It is exactly the opposite of what the Gospel says. But there are thousands upon thousands of Christian people who are following it now. It is a different Jesus than the One that Saint Paul preached. It is a different Gospel than the one we have been given. But it is a lot more pleasant, on the natural level, and people go for it.
We could look at any number of things. All you have to do is look in the Catholic Church. There are people who say, "Well, you know, you do not have to believe in this idea of being against contraception. You don't have to think that you really need to go to confession. You don't really believe that that piece of bread is actually Jesus, do you? You donít really believe that a man has the authority to forgive your sins, do you? Do you really think God is going to send me to hell because I miss Mass on Sunday?" On and on we could go. We have all heard the questions. It is a different Gospel than the one we have received, but people like it. Now we are at the point where probably the vast majority of Catholics believe in a different Jesus than the One that the Catholic Church preaches and a different Gospel than the one the Catholic Church has given to us.
That is something that we need to be very careful about. We must believe in one God and in one Jesus Christ and in one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, not a different one - the only one. We must profess the fullness of our faith, believe, and embrace it; because otherwise, if we accept another one, even if some parts are very similar, it still is not going to be enough. Imagine standing before the Lord, trying to explain to Him why we watered down His Gospel: because it was easier than the one He preached, because we did not like the truth He taught; or, in fact, the Truth that He is. I do not think that will be a pleasant day for any of us if, when we stand before Him on the Day of Judgment, we have to try and explain to Him why we did not believe in Him.
So if we want to profess our faith in Christ, it is the one Christ and it is the fullness of Christ. Saint Paul was concerned that the Corinthians would fall away from their complete devotion. Once again, 80% or 90% is not good enough. Saint Paul says, "Jesus was not 'yes' and 'no' alternately." He tells us that we must always be "yes." When we say "yes" to Jesus Christ, it is "yes" to the fullness of Jesus Christ and no other; not a new-age Christ, not a non-Catholic Christ. It is "yes'" to the only Christ, the only Gospel, and the only Church. It is "yes" to Jesus Christ.
Note: Father Altier does not write his homilies in advance, but relies solely upon the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.