Friday April 22, 2005 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Fourth Week of Easter
Reading (Acts 13:26-33) Gospel (St. John 14:1-6)
Saint Paul, in the first reading (in the synagogue of Antioch in Pisidia), says to the people that all of the things the prophets had foretold have been fulfilled in Jesus, that they put Him to death by hanging Him on a tree but God raised Him from the dead. God did more than just raise Him from the dead; He brought Him, of course, to heaven in the Ascension. And it is that which Our Lord is speaking about in the Gospel reading today. He tells His apostles that they know the way; they know where He is going and they know the way. Thomas said that he did not know where the Lord was going. We do. Our Lord went to heaven, and He is the way. And He tells us there is no other way: No one can come to the Father except through Me. If we want to get to heaven, there is only one possible way to do it, and that is Jesus Christ. So we have all of this given to us, all of the things that the prophets had foretold, all the teachings of the apostles, and the word of the Lord Himself.
In this world, then, if we have those kinds of promises, Our Lord tells us: Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God and have faith also in Me. How often we get all agitated and worked up. And for what? Because we are afraid. Some are afraid of death; some are afraid of judgment; some are afraid of losing all of their material belongings. Whatever it is that we are afraid of, we really need to look very seriously at it because if our focus is on Jesus we really have no reason to be afraid. He is God. He is in full control of the entire situation. We might very quickly say, "The situation right now looks like it’s in chaos." It is – and He is in complete control of it. It is a test of our faith. In the midst of the chaos, the question is: are we going to keep our eyes on Jesus, or are we going to be like Peter when he was walking on the sea and get caught up in looking at the chaos and begin to sink because we get anxious and afraid?
If our eyes are focused on the Lord, there is absolutely nothing to fear because He has gone to open the door for us, to open the entrance into eternal life. He has gone forward so that we can follow in the way that He Himself has gone. And He Himself is the way. Everything is right there for us, but remember what He said: Have faith in God and have faith in Me. If we do not have faith in Him, we are going to get caught up in looking at all the things around us and the chaos is going to be overwhelming. If we truly have faith in Him, then we are going to keep our focus on Him. We are going to believe what He has told us, and we are not going to be too terribly worried about anything else because we know that He has everything well in hand.
We need not fear anything because God is in control of it all. As long as we are united with Him, why would we be afraid? Since God only wants what is the very best for us, even those things that do not look so good always turn out to be for the best. So we need not fear. All we have to do is keep our eyes on Jesus. Where He has gone, if we keep our eyes on Him and live in the way that we should, then we also will go. He has gone to prepare a place for us, and He will come back to take us with Him so that we will be with Him where He is. And the only way to get where He is, is He Himself – He Who is the way, He Who is the truth, He Who is the life. If we want eternal life, we have to live the truth because the truth is the way to life, and Jesus is that way. He is the truth and He is the life.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.