May 13, 2002 (Audio) Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Reading I (Acts 19:1-8) Gospel (St. John 16:29-33)
In the Gospel reading, the disciples say to Jesus, that it is because they now believe that He knows everything, and that He is not speaking in figurative speech any longer, that now they can believe that He came from God. (That is a rather amazing thing when you stop to consider what they had seen over a three year period of time, and it is not until the Last Supper that they can finally say, now we believe.) The Lord looks at them and says, do you really? Then He tells them that the hour has come when they are all going to be dispersed. It is a very important thing for us to recognize as well. There is not any one of us who can sit back self-assuredly and say, my faith is in such good order, that I have nothing to worry about. I believe so completely and firmly in Jesus Christ, that it does not matter what would happen. I will remain faithful to Him because I know my faith, and I know that He is God, and that is all it takes. The disciples knew that and they all scattered. So we need to be very, very careful.
There is more that we need than knowledge. The knowledge of the faith is a necessity, the disciples needed to have that knowledge, but it was not enough. We need also to have the love of God, and we need the Holy Spirit. We have to have everything necessary, and if things are not in place, each one of us is going to be scattered to our own houses. Now the difference lies in that, for the disciples, the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon them. When He did they would go out and do what was necessary. For us, the Holy Spirit is already there and when the hour comes, there is not going to be much opportunity beyond that to be able to say, well maybe I made a mistake and I need to get things straightened out here. There will be an opportunity for that, but let us not do it that way. We need to be faithful to the Lord right from the beginning. We need to be faithful to Our Lord in the midst of everything. That is why He told us at the end of the Gospel reading, that we will have trouble in the world.
That is why I keep saying, if the world likes you, and you fit in and everything is wonderful in your life, there is a problem. There is a major problem. If everybody around you thinks that you are wonderful, and all the worldly types fit in very well, we have got trouble, because Jesus said if you are going to be His follower, you will have trouble in the world. So if that is not there, there is serious trouble, because that means that somehow people are not seeing that you are following Jesus Christ. That is why they are attracted to you. But if they see that you are a follower of Christ, they are not going to be attracted if they do not want to follow Him. If the people who surround you are also good, solid, Catholic people who are following the Lord, then that is fine. If it is worldly people surrounding you, and they all get along with you real well, then there is trouble. But if it is the other way and the worldly types reject you, and they do not like you, and they give you lots of grief, and ridicule you, and so on, the Lord then says, “I have told you this so that you might have peace in Me, for behold, I have conquered the world.”
We are in Jesus Christ and we can have peace. He has brought us right into His Sacred Heart. He has given to us His Holy Spirit. He tells us that He is never alone, because He is with the Father, and we are in Him, and therefore we are with the Father. The Trinity is right there in us, and we are right there in the Trinity. We have nothing to fear. We have nothing to be troubled about, because we have Christ. It does not matter what happens around us. We can remain at peace as long as we keep our focus on Jesus. As long as we recognize that we are in His Sacred Heart, we are completely protected. We need to understand that. That requires much more than head knowledge of the faith. That requires a love of God. That requires getting down into the heart and making sure that we are putting the faith into practice.
We need to make sure that we are deeply rooted in prayer so that we know the heart of Jesus, so that we know the love of Our Lord, because when the trouble comes, we will need to remain at peace in Him. So that we will not be scattered from Him, but rather that we will be drawn more deeply into His Sacred Heart and into Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart. There we will have complete and perfect refuge, and we will have nothing to fear. We will be at peace, because He has overcome the world, and therefore we have overcome the world in Him. That is what He is giving to us, that is what He is telling us. If we are going to sit back smugly and think that we have nothing to worry about, then we need to worry. But if we are trusting in Him and not in ourselves, and we have ourselves firmly in His Sacred Heart, then we have nothing to be troubled about, because He has overcome the world.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.