Tuesday November 29, 2005 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier First Week of Advent
Reading (Isaiah 11:1-10) Gospel (St. Matthew 10:21-24)
Our Lord in the Gospel reading today rejoices in the Holy Spirit and gives praise to His Father, saying that what has been hidden from the wise and the learned has been revealed to the childlike. That is the point all of us have to understand especially when we hear the words of the first reading when the prophet Isaiah talks about what is going to happen with Our Lord. First, to put it into context, remember that this point of Our Lord talking about the things that He is going to do and how the Spirit of the Lord is upon Him, He Himself told us that this is the case. And so He is using this particular passage from Isaiah in reference to Himself, and then talks about how He is going to judge and how justice is going to be the belt upon His waist. He goes on, then, to talk about how all of these things that seem to be contradictory to us are going to take place, and then finally how it says there will be no harm or ruin on all His holy mountain, but the earth “shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord, as water covers the sea.”
That holy mountain of the Lord is the Church. If we look in the Church today, we would say, “Well, it doesn’t look like there is no ruin or harm within.” In the people, of course, right now there is. On the other side of whatever purification we are going to have to deal with, it will be a whole different situation; but even before that we have to understand that within the teaching of the Church there is complete purity, that nothing there is going to be of any kind of ruin or harm. That has been preserved, and it is there for each and every one of us to be able to recognize and to accept. That means we have to look beyond the human element, because in there we are going to find sin. And while it is easy for us to point our fingers at everyone else, all we have to do is first look in the mirror and remember that within the Church the sinners start with “me,” and every single other person is just like that. So, of course, we are going to find sinners and we are going to find lots of imperfection. Yet we can look beyond that to what is objective, to the teaching of the Church, and there we will find pure truth. There we will find the absolute teaching of Jesus Christ.
The wonderful thing that is going to happen in this time when Our Lady intervenes is that the fullness of truth is going to be revealed and accepted by all people who will remain. Our Lady promised at Fatima that there would be unprecedented growth for the Church. Saint Louis de Montfort tells us that in this time of Our Lady the Gospel is going to spread, that knowledge of Our Lady is going to be known by all, and therefore through her knowledge of Christ is going to be known by all. This is exactly what Isaiah is talking about. At that point, everyone on the face of the earth will live a truly Catholic life and there will be peace and justice.
In the meantime, the question is: Are we willing to do it even now–where there is not peace, where there is not justice, where people are not living the Gospel, and where they have rejected the knowledge of truth? Even with all of that, the true teaching of Christ is still there. Now we have the choice of whether we are going to look at all of the corruption and all of the problems, or whether we are going to look beyond that and look to Christ and look to the objective teaching and follow it. That is the choice we have even now. Are we going to be wise and clever and learned, and be just like everyone else and think that we have a better way? Remember what Our Lord said at the end of the Gospel: Many prophets and many kings longed to see what you see and did not see it, to hear what you hear and did not hear it. Why is it that there are so many throughout history who longed for the truth but did not have the fullness? Now we have the fullness of the truth, yet we do not want it.
Jesus desires that we would long for that truth, long for it to the point where we would seek it out and we would live it. That is what we have the opportunity to do right now. But it requires that we become childlike, that we realize we are not the ones who are the wise in the worldly sense, that we are not the powerful ones, that we are not the ones the world would look to. We need to be small, we need to be humble, and we need to recognize that what is true is not “me”–what is true is Christ–and He has placed that truth within each one of us so that we can accept it and live it. That is what He desires. He makes very clear that only those who are childlike will have this truth fully revealed to them. So we need to pray for that grace to truly be like a little child in accepting what Our Lord teaches us, and then to learn the obedience, the obedience of faith, as Saint Paul calls it, so we can live the truth that we have learned.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.