Wednesday April 13, 2005 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier†† Third Week of Easter
Reading (Acts 8:1b-8)†† Gospel (St. John 6:35-40)
Our Lord in the Gospel reading today tells us that the reason He came down from heaven was to do His Fatherís Will, not to do His own will, but to do the Will of His Father Who sent Him. This is also the purpose of our lives because the Lord tells us, As the Father has sent Me, so I have sent you. We are to go forth and we are to bear much fruit.
Now we look sometimes at the problems that happen and we wonder how this could possibly be Godís Will. Well, all we have to do is look at the first reading. We see that a severe persecution broke out and the people were scattered all around the countryside. As they went out, they preached the Gospel and many people came to believe. We begin to see, then, that through the persecution, Godís Will to preach the Gospel to all creatures became a reality. We also know, of course, that if something good is going to come about that it is going to be preceded by difficulties. It is the way it always works. If something good happened and there was not any suffering involved, one question you can always ask is ďWhatís wrong?Ē because if something good is going to take place (that is, something good on the spiritual level) there is always a price to be paid.
So what we have to be about is truly seeking Godís Will. Now there are two ways of looking at that. One is to actively seek His Will, to find in prayer what it is that God wants us to do, what our vocation is, what the duties of our state in life will be, and all the different elements that come along with that. The other part is to accept the things that happen. That also requires an active part of the will. There is a passive sort of acceptance, but we have to actively embrace it. We have to be able to see that even in the hard and difficult things that happen in our lives this is part of Godís Will for us. If we can go to prayer and recognize that it is Godís Will, then we are able to make an act of the will to embrace these things. It is not just a matter of simply enduring the difficulties, but it is a matter of walking through them with the grace of God and to be able to grow through the difficulties and the problems, to pray through them, and to be able to embrace them and see that God is going to bring about a great good through whatever the problems are.
The problem, of course, is that when the bad things happen most of us will go to prayer and we will say, ďTake it away.Ē Instead of praying for the grace to be able to accept and embrace what is happening, we tend to do just the opposite. Again, there is that necessity of going to prayer and seeking the Will of God. It is kind of useless to go to prayer and say, ďLord, Iíll do whatever You want,Ē and at the first little bit of difficulty that comes, we say, ďTake it away. I donít want this!Ē Well, we said we want to do His Will and now we are saying we do not want what He wills. We need to make sure we are consistent. The only way we are going to see that even the troubles in life are part of Godís Will for us is if we pray. And it is not a matter of praying according to our will, but it is a matter of praying by seeking Godís Will. When we are truly seeking His Will, then we will be able to see things from an entirely different perspective because it is no longer going to be trying to tell God what we are supposed to be doing, but it is going to be allowing Him to lead us and to show us what it is that He wants for us and from us. That was what Jesus did, and it is what we are to do as well: to be in this world for one purpose, and that is to do the Will of the One who sent us.
*† This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.