Friday May 25, 2001 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Sixth Week of Easter
Reading (Acts 18:9-18) Gospel (St. John 16:20-23a)
Today the Church gives us this Gospel reading which simply continues yesterday's, as our Lord told us that we will weep for a moment (for a time) and then we will rejoice. Then He tells us that when we see Him, that there will be a joy that no one can take from us. The fact of the matter is that this should already be there because this is dealing with the Resurrection in particular. There is a day, of course, coming when we will have the opportunity (providing that we are in the state of grace) to see the Lord face to face. We will see Him for eternity, and there truly will be no questions that will be asked, because all of the knowledge will be infused as we behold the Lord face to face.
Even now we have the Lord present. He is in our hearts and He is in the Blessed Sacrament, so there should be a joy that no one can take from us because we know that Jesus is with us. Just as He told St. Paul when He told him that he could stay in Corinth for a time as many of His people are there. He said, "I am with you and no one will be able to harm you." Of course we have seen that in other parts of the Gospel, where Jesus tells us that not a hair of our head is going to be harmed, but some will kill you. You see that sometimes the way that He presents things does not seem to make a whole lot of sense to us. He tells St. Paul that he has nothing to worry about; no one is going to harm him, and then the next thing we see is St. Paul has been arrested and dragged into court. We would look at that and say that Jesus is not keeping His word, but indeed He did, because there was no harm done to St. Paul. Jesus is going to test his faith. He is going to see if St. Paul is going to try and rely on himself or if he is going to rely on the Lord.
He is going to do the same to us, and the exact same promise is made to us. We have absolutely nothing to fear. We have nothing even to worry about as long as we are united with Jesus. He is right here; He is with us and all we have to do is trust and pray. We need to seek the direction that He is going to give us and that is only going to be found in prayer. Then we simply need to trust and the Lord will provide everything. That is why we should be so filled with joy, because we have nothing to worry about, as long as our hearts are fixed on Jesus Christ, and as long as we are in union with Him. Even though it is not the face to face vision yet. Even though now in prayer we have to come before Him and we have to ask questions. Lord what do You want of me? What do You want me to do? How am I to deal with this? Am I to do this or am I to do that? Whatever it is, today we have questions because we do not yet behold the Lord face to face. But He is here, and we know that, and we have nothing to fear.
Even though there are difficulties in our lives, we need always to keep in mind that Jesus is right here with us and He has infused into our hearts a joy. Because into our hearts has been infused the Holy Trinity, Sanctifying Grace, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the Fruits of the Holy Spirit, and the theological virtues, and the cardinal virtues, and all these other things that the Lord has already infused in there. Our hearts are filled with the gifts of God. We have a choice and it is a very clear choice. We can look at all of the problems of the world, and we can look at all the negative things, and all of that stuff is true. We can look at all of the difficulties and all the ugliness that we have created, or we can look at Jesus. We can look at all of the beauty that He has created. We can be sad, and we can be depressed, and we can be angry, and frustrated, and bitter by looking at one half of it; or we can look at Him and we will be filled with joy, and with hope, and with confidence, and with peace. So it is a simple choice, and the choice is ours. Jesus has made us a promise that as long as we are with Him and as long as we are united with Him, He will give to us a joy that no one can take from us.
Note: Father Altier does not prepare his homilies in advance, but relies solely upon the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.