Thursday October 18, 2001 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading (2 Timothy 4:10-17b) Gospel (St. Luke 10:1-9)
When we hear the readings today, one would think that perhaps we might not want to try to live the Gospel; we might not want to preach the Gospel. After all, Our Lord tells His disciples that He is sending them out as sheep among wolves and they are not to carry a walking staff, they are not to carry a money bag, they are not to carry extra sandals, they are not to take anything with them. That is not the kind of security that most of us like. We would like to think that if we are going to do something we will have a wagonload of stuff with us so, in case we need anything, we have it ready at hand. Of course, the fact is that we carry God with us and everything we need will be ready at hand. The Lord also tells His disciples, as they go out, that they are just to trust: go into whatever town, stay in whatever house, eat whatever they put before you, if they do not accept your word then handle it this way, if they do then this is the way. It is just total trust - not the way most of us would prefer it.
Then when we hear Saint Paul, he talks about how he has, basically, been left alone at this point. He is with Saint Luke alone and asking Timothy to come see him. But beyond that, we hear that he has now gone to court. Everybody abandoned him when he went to court so he was left completely alone. Yet, he is rejoicing in the Lord.
When we hear about these things we might think: "Why would anyone want to do it? If you know that you are going to be abandoned, if you know that you are going to be rejected, if you know that people do not want to hear what it is that you have to say, why would anyone want to do it?" There is a very simple reason: because it is the truth. That is precisely the reason why. When you have the truth, how can you not tell people about it? If you know that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, how can you remain silent? Even when they do not want to hear it, when you know that it is the truth then you have to speak it. Otherwise, it is going to burn within your heart and it is going to come out one way or the other, unless you totally squelch it and do not really believe it - which, of course, is always a possibility.
For many people, they just keep things at an arm's distance and say, "Well, maybe it is true. I guess I can hedge my bets; I can believe in that, sort of. But I can believe in a few other things too and depending on which way the wind is blowing, that is what I will maintain and talk about at that particular time." That is not what a Christian can really be. Someone who is true to Christ cannot believe in all those other things because we believe in Him, and Him alone. There is no other name given to men in the whole world by which they will be saved; we know that. There is only One who is the Truth; there is only One who is the Life; and there is only One who is the Way - that is Christ.
So when we look at these things, then we say, "It does not matter if we are rejected. It does not matter if we do not have all the security that the material things would seem to provide because we have the Lord and we need nothing else." That is the point He was trying to teach His disciples: They simply need to trust. Do not worry about how much stuff you have and how much you can take with you and all the other things. Just take the Lord. It is all we need. If we are too worried about all the other stuff what happens is that it crowds the Lord out because there is not room in the heart for Him if we have filled the heart up with other things. But if we empty the heart of everything else and fill it with the Lord, then we have absolutely everything, the fullness of everything, because He is the One who created it all.
All we need is Him and simply to trust. It is not an easy thing for us, but it is the most wonderful thing in the whole world. And even more wonderful than it is in this world, it will be the most wonderful thing for all eternity. In eternity, that is all we will have. There are not going to be any kind of material possessions, no security from anything worldly - there will only be Christ. So why not start now? We might as well begin now to clear out the heart so we can fill it with Jesus and find our peace and security in Him. He is all that we need. That is the challenge for us today, as Saint Luke puts it before us: to look at those two different ways: the way of Christ and the way of the world - and to choose Jesus Christ.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.