Wednesday May 29, 2002 (Audio) Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading (1 Peter 1:18-25) Gospel (St. Mark 10:32-45)
Saint Peter tells us in the first reading that we were ransomed from our futile conduct, which was handed on, by the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself, in the Gospel reading today, told us that He came into this world not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for the many. It is precisely in His death and in the pouring out of His Most Precious Blood that we have the redemption of our souls. That is something, Saint Peter tells us, that we need to keep before us always: to think about what it has cost for us to be redeemed.
Now that redemption we must understand clearly as well, because James and John liked the idea of being in the kingdom of God, seated at His right hand and His left when He is in glory, but they did not understand what His true glory on earth was. His glory on earth was to be crucified. That was the moment, the hour, for which He had come into this world. He told us, as He prayed to His Father: "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son that Your Son may glorify You, and give Him the glory that He had with You before the foundation of the world." The glory of Jesus Christ was demonstrated for us most clearly on the Cross. Of course, He reigns in glory for eternity but we cannot see that yet; and so, in this world, it is to be united with Him in His Crucifixion. That is going to be the glory.
Saint Peter reminds us that all flesh is grass. It is going to wither. This body of ours is going to rot out. Why do we pay it so much attention as though it was the most important thing in the world, while we pay so little attention to our soul, which is going to continue to live on for eternity in one way or the other? The body is going to go where the soul is, not the other way around. It is about time that we put things right. That is why Saint Peter tells us that, because of the redemption that we have, our faith and hope are in God, not in anything in this world, not in anything physical or material, which means that it is not about the body; itís about the soul.
Our faith and hope are in God. Because of that we need to look at the spiritual things. He tells us that since we have purified ourselves by obedience to the truth, we are to love with a pure heart, to seek only the good of others, to give. This is exactly what Jesus told His disciples they would have to do. If they wanted to sit with Him in His glory in Heaven, they would have to be baptized in the same baptism and they would have to drink of the same chalice. They thought that they were able to do that, not understanding really what it meant.
We understand what it means. We have the crucifix right in front of us constantly, and we want to be with Jesus. So He looks at each one of us and says, "Now, with a pure heart, with obedience to truth, are you willing, knowing what it means, to drink from the chalice of which I am to drink? Are you willing to be baptized in the baptism with which I am to be baptized?" That is what He is asking from each one of us: with a pure heart, to love one another, to love Him, to unite ourselves with Him in His suffering and His death so that we will be united with Him in His Resurrection and be glorified with Him forever in Heaven.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.