Thursday January 29, 2004 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Third Week in Ordinary Time
Reading (2 Samuel 7:18-19, 24-29) Gospel (St. Mark 4:21-25)
Our Lord, in the Gospel reading today, gives us a very clear warning. He says, “Anyone who has ears ought to hear.” In other words, “There is absolutely no possible way that this is not going to happen.” And what is it? That everything in the darkness will be exposed in light, there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. Now what this is very clearly implying for us is that obviously God knows absolutely everything that we do, everything that we think, and everything that we say. As human beings, what we tend to do is find an opportunity when somebody else is not available to talk about that person, or we find ways of being able to do things where we expect that we are not going to be seen. Sometimes, for instance, when we are alone, we might be acting in a way that is really inappropriate but as soon as we hear that someone else is coming, then, of course, we put on our best face and we want everybody to think we were always acting in the way that they saw when they walked in the door – but that was because we had a few seconds’ notice. So what we think might be hidden because we are all by ourselves, of course, is revealed completely to God and is known completely to Him; and more than that, it will be revealed completely to us. It is not that we did not know we were being inappropriate in one way or another, but it is a matter that we tend not to pay a whole lot of attention, thinking that no one else can see or no one else will notice. We tend to forget that God is always present among us and that He notices it all. Remember, Our Lord told us that there is not one single word that comes out of our mouths for which we will not be responsible. All of our actions we are going to have to answer to, and so we are not going to be able to get away with it.
The other side of that, again, is that anything that remains hidden is going to be revealed in the light. He is the light, and on the Day of Judgment we will have to stand before Him and everything that we have kept in the darkness of our own hearts and minds is going to be shown in the light of Jesus Christ. Now the other side of that is we can bring all of these things to the Lord. They do not need to remain hidden because they are not hidden from Him already. So the thing for us to do is bring these things to Christ in the confessional and get rid of them, knowing that as soon as we bring them into the light He does not need to. We will not have to answer to those things on the Day of Judgment because we have already exposed the things we were keeping in the darkness; we have already brought the darkness into the light. And remember that when the light came into the darkness, the darkness was not able to overcome it. If we open our hearts and let the light into the darkness, the light will fill our hearts and we can get rid of all the works of darkness. We can get rid of them here and we will not have to answer to them on the Day of Judgment.
Keep always in mind that everything and anything that you have confessed in the confessional will never, ever be heard of again – ever. This, of course, also implies that you have to be repentant for what it is that you have done. You cannot just simply come into confession and say, “Well, so that I don’t have to deal with this on the Day of Judgment I guess I’ll just say it and be over with it, but I’m really not sorry for what I did.” Well, then you are going to have to answer to that. But if you are repentant for what it is that you have done, bring it to the Lord. And if you are not, beg the Lord for the grace to be repentant. After all, if you think about it, if you do something that you are not sorry for – even though you know it is wrong – that could land you in hell for eternity. Is it worth it? Is it worth it to hang onto a little bit of revenge? Is it worth it to hang onto some kind of anger for which we feel justified because of something someone else did to us? Is it worth it to hang onto something that we refuse to forgive? Whatever it might be, there is nothing that is worth losing heaven for. Nothing. So we need to get rid of these things. We can answer now or we can answer later. One way or the other, we are going to have to face it, and it is much better if we deal with it right now.
“Let anyone who has ears hear,” the Lord says. There is nothing that is hidden in the darkness of our hearts that will not be revealed in the light of the tribunal of Jesus Christ. Every thought, every word, every action we will have to face, we will have to answer to. We can bring it to Him now, we can be forgiven, and it will be removed forever. Or we can wait and stand before Him on Judgment Day – and keep in mind that there is no forgiveness; there is only judgment on that day – and we could lose our salvation because we were afraid to bring it to Him. If that is the case, then He will bring it to us. That is the day we should be afraid of, not this one. We should look at going to confession as a joyful opportunity, not something to be terrified of, not something to be embarrassed of or afraid of, but an opportunity to be one with Christ, an opportunity to have our sins completely removed. This should bring great joy to our hearts. So no matter what it is that is in there, anything that is in the darkness, bring it to Jesus, confess your sins, and let the light overcome the darkness of our hearts.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.