Save Us, Lord, for We are Perishing!
Tuesday July 1, 2003 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading (Genesis 19:15-29) Gospel (St. Matthew 8:23-27)
In the Gospel reading today, the disciples cry out to the Lord, “Save us! We are perishing!” Certainly the same cry can be placed on the lips of each and every person in this society today. We are perishing by our own choices. We have decided to uphold everything which is immoral, and we are going against everything which is right. Consequently, things are spiraling downwards very quickly and they are out of control. One wonders why God would allow such a thing to happen. Why doesn’t He intervene? Why doesn’t He do something? Part of the reason for that is in God’s mercy what He has allowed is that evil will run its course. The reason for that is so that anyone who wants to do what is good and right will be able to see very, very clearly the distinction between what is good and what is evil.
All of us – no matter how good we are trying to be – have been affected by the evil that is around us. As much as we want to do what is right, I think if we took a true inventory of our lives, all of us would have to admit that we have been tainted by the society around us. None of us is free of the evil that is there and so all of us have to deal with that. What happens is that we tend to compromise with the evil around us, and what will happen in God’s providence is that when He intervenes it will be very clear to us what is good and what is truly evil. At that point, if we have chosen to live a good life, we will live a truly good life. There will be no more compromise with evil. There will be no more trying to see if we can get away with a little here or a little there because at that point it will be made so crystal clear to us because we will be able to see that even the things that by comparison were not nearly quite so evil are still wrong. We are not going to be able to make excuses for ourselves by looking at other people and saying, “Well, at least what I’m doing isn’t so bad compared to these people.” It is not a question of comparing ourselves to other people; our comparison has to be with Jesus Christ.
When you look, for instance, at the first reading when God chose to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, there were four people in the town that He found were righteous – a total of four. It does not mean they were without sin; it just means they had not given in to that particular sin. And so God in His mercy spared those four people. But even there you can see where the compromise is. Here they were living in the midst of the most despicable sin and Lot did not want to leave. He wanted to stay there even though what was going on around him was so contrary to nature that even the demons cannot look at it. But he did not want to leave. For us, we realize that what has happened and what is happening in our society is so far out of control. Yet even though we recognize it, most of us probably (because we have gotten so accustomed to it) cannot imagine what it would be like and we would not even want to leave, which is really tragic.
And so God is going to have to do this Himself. Thankfully, as I have mentioned to you many times, He has turned this over to His mother. And so just as at the time of Sodom there were the angels that went down and got Lot out before they destroyed the city, now Our Lady is going to do even better than that because she is a mom – and a mother is going to look out for her children. So what we need to be doing now is making sure that we are being true children of Our Lady so that we are being conformed to her Son, because when the time comes when the cup of evil will be full, God is going to intervene through the working of His mother. As long as we are with Our Lady, her children will be protected. But I would not want to be on the other side of the wrath of a mother. It will not be a happy day for those who have chosen evil over good.
We need to continue to strive to live our lives in accordance with Christ, in accordance with the teaching of His Church, to make sure we are growing spiritually, that we have our prayer time set aside, that we are seeking to live a moral life, and that we are also looking at our lives, taking that inventory and making sure that in the areas where we see that we are compromising with the world – where we are giving into evil under the statement that it is not as bad as other people –we need to stop that as well. We need to do what is right, not comparing ourselves to everyone else, but looking at Jesus Christ and crying out to Him alone, “Save us, Lord, for we are perishing!”
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.