Formed in the Truth

Wednesday April 24, 2002 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Fourth Week in Easter

Reading (Acts 12:24-13:5a) Gospel (St. John 12:44-50)

In the Gospel reading this morning there is a very important point that all of us need to attend to very carefully. Jesus says, "If anyone hears My words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him because I did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world; but they do have something that will condemn them: the word that I spoke." Now we need to pay very careful attention to this because, as we have talked about over the last couple of days, God is going to be expecting something of us that is a little different than the way we may have thought things to be.

Because in our society people have willfully intended to destroy the Faith Ė we have many who have not preached the Faith, and certainly it has not been lived Ė what has happened is that the average Catholic has wound up making the Faith what they believe it is supposed to be. We look at the Catechism and we see what it teaches, then we hang on for dear life so that nobody can tear it out of our hands. And that is good. However, we have to be formed to be Catholics; we are not to form the Catholic Faith to be ourselves. It has become backwards: Rather than being formed in the teaching of the Church, we have tried to take the teaching of the Church and make it what we think it is supposed to be - and we do not always follow the Word of God. That is what the problem is.

Now we can be assured that, because we have not been doing any of this intentionally or with any kind of malice, God is going to be pleased with our attempt. He knows what our heart is. He knows that if we are trying to live the Gospel, but it has never really been taught to us (nobody was there to be able to demonstrate it for us, to live it, and to be a good example for us), we had to try to do it on our own. What we need to do now is ask the Lord Ė beg the Lord Ė to show us what it is that we are doing and what we should stop doing and what we ought to begin doing so that we become formed according to His Word, that we become formed into His image and likeness rather than trying to make Him into our image and likeness. He is our example. He is the One that we need to follow.

There is one sure and absolute way that this will be done, and that is to go to the one who formed Him: His Mother. Ask Our Blessed Lady to form you just as she formed Him, to form you into the image of her Son so that we can each be another Christ, so that we can be the person the Lord wants us to be. If we have formed ourselves, then what we will find is that when we hear the Word of God, we will pick and choose. We will say, "Iím doing that exactly. Thatís right on." Then we will hear other things and say, "Well, thatís a little radical. We donít really have to believe that. Itís true, butÖ" That is not going to fly on the Day of Judgment. When you stand before the Lord and He says, "You tried to be the best Catholic you could be, but you rejected My Word because you could not figure out how to form it according to your own image, according to your own idea. You refused to be formed by My Word because you tried to form the Word." That is the point Iím talking about. We need to allow ourselves to be formed into Jesus Christ, and not try to do it the other way. There is only one person who will be able to do that for us. Go to her, and ask her to do that for you.

This is critically important Ė absolutely, critically important. If we are going to be able to survive what is to come, if we are going to be able to do the work of God (and He has entrusted this to His Mother so it is the place to go anyway), we must turn to her and we must drop all of our preconceived ideas of what it means to be a Catholic. We must allow Him to form us into what it means to be a true Catholic. We are not going to drop one single point of the truth; what we will do is to live every point of the truth, and to live it as He did because we will be formed into Him who is the Truth. Then we will not look at the Word of God and say, "Well, yeah, but I donít have to do that." We will look at it and say, "Yes, that is who Our Lady is forming me to be. This is the one, because I am being formed into Jesus rather than trying to make Jesus fit into me." That is where the difference is. So if we have been of good faith and sincere heart, the Lord will reward us abundantly, and that reward is going to be by going to Him now in good faith and with a sincere heart and asking Him to strip us of ourselves and replace everything of the self with everything that is Him so that we become Jesus Christ.

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