Monday October 28, 2002 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading (Ephesians 2:19-22) Gospel (St. Luke 6:12-16)
We hear in the Gospel this morning about the way Jesus chose His apostles. He went up to pray, spending the entire night in union with God, and then in the morning when He came back down, He called twelve to be His apostles. When we think about the way He has done that and Saint Paul telling us in his Letter to the Ephesians that each one of us is no longer a stranger or a sojourner, but that we too are members of the household of God, that we are fellow citizens, that we too are called, then we realize that it is the exact same privilege that is ours. Not necessarily the privilege to be His Twelve, but the same privilege that we have to have been chosen by Christ and to know that that choice of each one of us is in union with the Will of His heavenly Father, that it is God’s Will for us to be among His chosen followers.
Now, on one level, that does not strike us as anything so important until you stop to think just about what it would be to be chosen to be one of the Twelve. Of all the people in the world, Jesus chose twelve. If you just ponder that for awhile, just think about who He chose, why He chose them. Of all the people that He could have chosen, He picked these twelve to be the foundation for His Church. And they remain that foundation.
Each one of us, now, has been chosen by Christ from all the people on the face of the earth to be the members of that temple that is founded on the apostles. We are part of the same building; we are part of the same enterprise, called with the same dignity by Christ in union with the Will of His Father so that each one of us can be living stones in that temple founded on the apostles and the prophets with Christ Jesus Himself as the capstone. There is not a whole lot more that we could really ask for. The only difference is that we are alive 2,000 years later rather than being alive at the time Jesus called His Twelve to Himself. But for us in our day, He has chosen us.
So it is the exact same process – but He also requires the same thing of us. Maybe not necessarily to be the actual foundation for the Church but to continue to build it up, to continue to be the means by which the Church is going to increase and that God is going to be given even greater glory, because those who believe are many and those who love God will love Him with greater fervor, that this temple of the Lord - which is a spiritual temple - is going to be made up only of those who are living members. When we think of that, it is not members who happen to have natural life but those who have supernatural life. For that reason, when we look at all of the nonsense that goes on within the Church, that is not part of the temple of God, but only that which is pure and holy. The temple of God is a glorious temple; it is a spiritual temple; it is a temple which shines radiantly and you are part of that because God has called you to Himself.
When you look at the twelve apostles, the only thing you can say is that it does not make sense. He could not have found twelve more unlikely people to do the work. So when you look in the mirror and you say, “It doesn’t make sense,” just look at who He chose in the first place. It did not make sense then and it is not going to make sense now. It is to make clear to everyone that it is the Lord who is doing it. If He chose the best and the brightest, if He chose the ones who made sense, then people might think that it was us that was doing it. As has been said many times, there was only one of the twelve who made any sense – and that was Judas: enterprising, good with money, smart, and he was a traitor. The rest of them: pretty lowly, not necessarily real smart, not all that talented, and therefore they knew that they could not do it themselves. They needed to rely on God.
The same is true for each one of us. On the natural level, it does not make sense. But God is not calling us to something natural; He is calling us to something supernatural and He is asking us to share in the supernatural work of bringing His Gospel to many others and being members of this temple of the Lord. We cannot do that by ourselves, and we all know it. So we must rely on the Lord just as the Eleven relied on the Lord. He has called us just as He called them and we must respond in the same way that they did by accepting and by praying and by uniting ourselves with the Lord so that we can seek to do the Will of our heavenly Father and truly become radiant, living stones in the temple of Christ.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.