Tuesday September 2, 2003 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Reading (1 Thessalonians 5:1-6, 9-11) Gospel (St. Luke 4:31-37)
Saint Paul in the first reading today takes up a very important topic for us in our day, and that has to do, of course, with the time of the return of Our Lord. For us, we are looking forward to the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart at this point rather than the Second Coming – that will be the end of the world, and it is not time for the end of the world – however, there are going to be some interesting things happening in our world. And as far as the time goes, we have no idea what it is going to be, that is, how Our Lady is going to work and what she is going to do. But the fact is, as Saint Paul tells the people, they are not to be caught off guard because they are children of the light. Now that does not mean that because you are baptized nothing is going to happen to you. What that means is that because you are trying to live your faith – you are praying, you are seeking the Will of God in your life – you are going to be just fine. As long as you are doing what is right, keeping the eyes of your soul open, watching for what God wants you to do, you have nothing at all to worry about, nothing to fear, because Our Lord and Our Lady are going to take care of everything.
If, on the other hand, we decide to start doing stupid thing and start being like a lot of other people around us who are saying, “Well, you know, I thought this was supposed to happen in the year 2000 and it didn’t happen. And I thought it was going to happen at this time or that time and it didn’t,” then they get frustrated and they give up and they say, “Why should I keep trying to live according to the Faith and get beat up for it? After all, if I live like everyone else, well, I’ll have lots of money. I can have ease and pleasure and all the things that I want and I can be a good person too.” But what happens is they start slipping away from the practice of their faith. Maybe they still come to church on Sunday, but that is about it. They stop praying, for all practical purposes – unless they are in trouble, of course, then they will ask for some help. But otherwise, they do not pray a whole lot. They start becoming very worldly, fitting in with everybody else instead of seeking the Will of God. In that way, in essence, they become like children of the night instead of children of the light. The day will catch them off guard because they had knowledge that the thief was coming and they thought they knew the time that the thief was going to arrive. And because they were wrong, they therefore wrote off the entire thing as if it was not going to happen at all. They will be caught off guard and will be the most sorry of all.
But, as long as we are vigilant, we are going to be fine. The fact that we should be that way is made very clear for us in the Gospel. When the people heard the teaching of Jesus, they recognized the authority with which He spoke and they were astonished at His teaching. Now we can ask how we deal with what the Lord teaches. Do we just kind of ignore it and push it away at an arm’s distance? Do we recognize it is the Word of God and we kind of like it, but heaven forbid that it would actually have an influence on our life? I mean, really, why would we want to change to become like God? Well, if that is the way we do things we are going to be caught off guard because we knew the truth and we rejected it. But if we truly believe in His word and we are astonished by it and we recognize the authority of it then we are going to change our lives in accordance with that word and we will have nothing to worry about. We will be able to be at peace.
We can trust because He has made the promises, especially now because He has turned things over to His mother. And when you are dealing with a mom, always remember that the worst place you can be is between that mother and her children. But the best place you can be in the world is right there with your Mom. So as long as we are right there with Our Lady we have nothing to worry about. We have the power of her Son and we have the protection of a mother. We have nothing at all to fear. So do not worry about what time it is going to be at, when things are going to happen, what it is going to be, or how it is going to be – it does not matter. Just remain faithful. And if it does not happen the way someone thought it was going to happen, it is not going to throw you for a loop, your faith is not going to be inhibited at all because rather than looking for an event you are looking at Jesus and Mary. And, as long as you are looking at Jesus and Mary, you will be just fine.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.