Tuesday May 28, 2002 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading (1 Peter 1:10-16) Gospel (St. Mark 10:28-31)
Saint Peter tells us in the first reading about the things that the Lord has destined for those who would be His followers. He tells us, first of all, that the prophets who prophesied about the suffering of Christ and the glory that would follow were not prophesying about it for themselves, but for us, because they were not going to be able to be part of it; they died before Our Lord had come and died. And so it was looking forward to something and prophesying about what would happen, but they would not even have a part in it.
Then he goes on to tell us that the things that have been revealed and the things that will be revealed at the coming of Christ are things that are going to be shown to us if we are faithful. They are things that the angels themselves long to look into, but the Lord has not even shown it to them. So again, [that is] the glory the Lord is holding out for each one of us if we are faithful.
The question is what is it that is going to be required of us for that? Saint Peter makes that very clear. He says, first of all, "Gird up the loins of your mind." In other words, do not let all kinds of trash and filth fill your mind. Get rid of any bad stuff. That includes, first and foremost, that stupid TV set because most of the stuff that is coming through there is garbage; it fills the mind with rot. We do not need to be sitting in front of that thing filling our minds with things that go against the Lord Jesus. Rather, we need to be filling the mind with things that are going to be good, things that are holy, things that will lift us up.
We have our choice. As I mentioned to you last week, we are going to spend eternity with whoever our god is. Now you can spend eternity with your TV set, if you want; personally, I prefer to spend it with Jesus Christ. The choice is ours and it is made in this life, remember, not in the next one. So get rid of anything that does not fill you with truth and with goodness and with holiness. Gird the loins of your mind so that nothing evil is entering in.
Then he says, "Live soberly and set your hopes completely on the grace that is going to be yours." And then he tells us to live a holy life in every aspect of our life because God has commanded it: "Be holy, for I am holy." We are made in His image and likeness; we are His children; we are chosen by God and we are called to live a holy life. That is what is expected of us.
Peter, recognizing the sacrifices he had made for the Lord (this is many years before he wrote this letter (1 Peter)), asked Him, "What are we going to get in return for all that we have given up?" The Lord said, "You are going to receive a hundredfold in this life, plus persecution. And you are going to have eternal life in the world to come." Just think. If you give up whatever it is that is leading you away from Christ (or at least impeding your progress toward Christ), you will receive a hundredfold what you give up. Then there are the good things too that the Lord will ask us to give up because He has something even better - things that would not be in our way, things that are very good - yet He will ask us even to give up those things. Things that are our own will and our own ideas, the things that we might prefer on a natural level that are good, He will ask us to give that up for a greater good.
And He tells us again that we will receive a hundredfold in this life and persecution because we are going to be weird. We are going to be thought to be odd and different, and nobody is going to like us. Praise God! He told us: "If they hate you, it is because they hated Me first." He told us we are not going to fit in so we should not be surprised by these things.
Then [there is] the promise that we are going to have eternal life, that we have what Peter is telling us about: We are going to be able to see things and have things revealed to us that the angels themselves long to look into and God has not revealed it to them. That is the glory that is going to be given if only we are willing to make a few sacrifices and strive to live a holy life. That is what God is asking of us. This life is very short, and to be able to offer a small amount of sacrifice to the Lord is something which should not be overly difficult for us. It may not be convenient. It may not be the easiest thing in the world. So what? Look at the other side of it: We give up a little and we gain a lot. We give up a little in this world; we gain a hundred times more in this world. We give up something for a short time and we gain glory for eternity. That is the trade-off that is being offered to us, and it is completely worth it.
So gird up the loins of the mind. Live soberly. Set your hearts completely - 100% - on the grace that is going to be offered, and live in this world a holy life after the One who has called you, for He Himself is holy.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.