Monday February 25, 2002 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Second Week of Lent

Reading (Daniel 9:4b-10) Gospel (St. Luke 6:36-38)


The prophet Daniel, in praying to God, simply says: "Lord, we are shamefaced as we come before you," because the Lord had given His people the commandments, the statutes, and the ordinances and commanded them to follow them, and they did not. It was because they did not follow them that they wound up in exile. And it was from exile that Daniel is praying this prayer that all the people are shamefaced before the Lord.

Now what Our Lord is asking us to do is to love. He commands us to be compassionate, to not judge, to not condemn; but rather, to pardon, to be compassionate to other people. What we do instead, so often, is we judge, we look to get even (we have our own sense of justice as to exactly what that is supposed to mean), we tend to look at other people and hold them in contempt, we tend to be very difficult in our mental judgments about other people and sometimes in our speech about other people. And so, the Lord simply asks that we would be compassionate and forgiving so that He will do the same toward us.

But He tells us that we are going to have measured back to us whatever measure we use. So if we are very broad in our compassion, if we try to seek excuses for other people, if we try to pardon them and forgive them, then the Lord is telling us that that is what will happen for us. But if we are very tight and narrow in the way we approach others, if we are refusing to give them very much leeway, the same is going to happen to us. One day, then, we will stand face-to-face before God and we will say, "Lord, You told me that I'm supposed to be compassionate; You told me that I'm supposed to pardon; You told me that I'm supposed to forgive; and I have failed to do so. And You also told me that whatever measure I use in dealing with other people is what you are going to use in dealing with me. If I have not done what You have asked, then I know that I am going to receive from You what I have done to others."

Now we just need to look ahead and ask ourselves - given what we do in our day-to-day lives - is that what we want God to do with us? Do we want Him, really, to treat us the way that we treat others? If the answer to that is "no", then we had better make some changes; we should come before God today and say, "Lord, I come before You shamefaced because I have failed to do what You have commanded." [It is] better to do that today than to wait until the day we stand before the Lord because then we will be shamefaced for eternity, and that is not what any of us desire. We need to look into our hearts today to look at the way we are following what Our Lord has asked us to do; and if that needs to be adjusted, to make those changes now so that when we do stand before the Lord on the Day of Judgment the measure with which He judges us is going to be a measure that we will appreciate because it will be the measure that we have used to measure others, in accordance with Our Lord's commandment. We will not have to stand shamefaced before Him then because we will have been obedient to what He has asked, and we have loved our neighbor as ourself.

* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.