Tuesday May 29, 2001 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Seventh Week of Easter
Reading (Acts 20:17-27) Gospel (St. John 17:1-11a)
In the Gospel reading today we hear the beginning of St. John chapter seventeen, which is the high priestly prayer of Jesus, the prayer that He prays before He goes out to the garden to suffer and begin His passion. He prays to the Father, and prays that the Father will glorify Him that in our Lord the Father will be glorified but also that the Father will glorify the Lord. He says at the beginning of the prayer, the hour has come. Remember throughout that He had been talking about His hour. He talked about that in John chapter two when He says at Cana that His hour had not yet come. He spoke about things in different places about His hour. Now He tells us that the hour for which He came into this world has finally arrived. The purpose for which He came was to die. Archbishop Sheen used to say that all of us will die, but there is only one person who came into this world for the purpose of dying, and that was Jesus. That was the very reason He came into the world. While it is something which none of us will be able to escape, it is not the purpose of our life. When we consider the hour for which He came and the purpose for which this is about, it is about eternal life. That is the reason He went to the Cross; that is the reason for His death; that is the reason He came into the world.
St. Paul tells the people from Ephesus; "I have never shrunk from insisting from Jews and Greeks alike for repentance and faith in Jesus Christ." That is what our Lord preached as well, repentance and faith. Then he says, "Eternal life is this: to know You, the only true God; and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." When we consider all of the things we busy ourselves with, and get upset about, and worried, and concerned, and all the different things, Jesus says the sum of eternal life is to know God, and to know Jesus. That is where we need to really put our focus. We need to look at our own lives and we need to ask ourselves, how much focus am I really putting on coming to truly know God? How deep is my prayer? How earnest is my attempt at prayer? You are here every morning for Mass and praise God for that. You have to understand the Grace that God has given you to be able to do that. This is not something that is a natural thing. You do not just do this because you feel like it, but rather because God has given you the Grace to understand and to be here. But now it is to take it to the next step and say, just to be here at Mass is wonderful, but we need to go deeper. We need to make sure that we are seeking to know God, to know Jesus in the depths of our heart. To conform ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ, that is what our lives have to be about.
When we look at it all, all the things that we do, I think all of us would say of anything what we really want is to go to heaven. Are we preparing ourselves for that? If eternal life is to know God and Jesus Christ whom He sent, then that should be the primary focus of our lives here, seeking to know God more, and seeking to know Jesus more perfectly in the way that we do everything. We can look at that in our lives and use that as a little point of a particular examen even everyday. Am I really living my life to know the Lord, or am I just bumping through, doing it myself, trying to do it my own way, thinking I know what I am supposed to do? Or am I seeking God, am I seeking His way, am I trying to conform myself to the will of God? Am I really seeking God first? How much does eternal life mean to me? Is it just something that I say that I want, or is it something I am really seeking with my whole heart? And if we are seeking it with our whole heart, it is to know God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.
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.