Thursday November 15, 2001 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Reading (Wisdom 7:22-8:1) Gospel (St. Luke 17:20-25)
In the Gospel reading, when His disciples ask Our Lord when the reign of God is going to come, the Lord tells them that the reign of God is already in their midst. He tells us also that the reign of God is within. And so it is not merely something that is external to us, but rather it is internal; it is something which already dwells within, for one who is in the state of grace. That is precisely what we hear all about in the first reading today. We hear about wisdom. It was such a beautiful reading about the attributes of wisdom and how wisdom dwells within as the pure effulgence of God, and all these different points about how nothing that is sullied will she enter into. But yet, what she does is she makes friends of God and prophets for God.
That is us. We are the ones (being baptized) that wisdom has entered into. We ask ourselves, first of all, "Who is Wisdom?" In our day there is a very unfortunate movement afoot trying to make wisdom into a goddess, into some sort of female fourth person of the Trinity. It does not quite work. Saint Paul, however, addresses the question in his First Letter to the Corinthians and says very simply: "Jesus is the Wisdom of God." So if Jesus dwells within (indeed, the Trinity dwells within), then Wisdom is there. The Wisdom of God is within and is providing for us all things: "Brighter than the sun," as we heard in the first reading, and helping us to understand all things. All we need to do is look to the Lord, who dwells within.
We have all kinds of people doing exactly what Our Lord told us was going to happen: looking forward to the day of the coming of the Lord and seeking the Lord, but [they] will not be able to find Him because the Lord is not going to be coming anytime in the immediate future. But people are looking for that. Now we have huge sets of books called the Left Behind series. Some unfortunate souls think they are going to get raptured out before anything happens and they are all going to see the Second Coming. It isn't going to happen. There are going to be lots of people whose faith will be shaken to the very core because they did not get taken out. They interpreted Scripture in a way that the Lord never intended, therefore, when it comes to that point, and their faith is shaken because it did not happen the way they thought it was going to, they will then have to question every other point that they thought they believed.
What we need to do is not look out there. The Lord tells us: "They are going to say, 'He is here' or 'He is there.' Do not go running about excitedly." Because He is within, remain at peace; that is the whole point. The Lord dwells within your soul if you are in the state of grace. You need not be worried or concerned or upset. Just look for the Lord inside - that is all that is necessary.
Now in our own day we can also look at this and it says that the day of the Son of Man will be like lightning that flashes from one side of the sky to the other. But He said, "First, the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected by the present age." That is happening again, mystically this time instead of physically. The Mystical Christ must suffer much and must be rejected by the present age. That, I think, we are going to see. But the day of the Son of Man is not yet to come.
The Son of Man dwells within and so no matter what happens externally, for one who has that Wisdom of God dwelling within, for the one who has the Trinity dwelling within, there is absolutely nothing to fear. And there is nothing to be excited or upset about. Just go inside and find God who dwells there, more brilliant than the sun, the refulgence of Almighty God dwelling within our souls. All we need to do is go there and be at peace. Do not get worried, no matter what happens outside. Just stay with Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God, who dwells within us to make us friends of God. That is all that is necessary. Keep these things clearly in mind so that we do not get upset, so that we do not run away from Christ, but rather we run to Him; so that we do not try to find Him outside, but rather that we look inside to find Him. The reign of God is already in your midst: in your hearts, in your minds, dwelling in the very depths of your souls - the Most Holy Trinity - right there. That is where you are going to find God. Not here or there, or someplace out there. Do not go running about looking; just go inside and find Him dwelling in the kingdom of God, which is in your midst.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.