What’s Your Price?
Thursday November 20, 2003 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Reading (1 Maccabees 2:15-29) Gospel (St. Luke 19:41-44)
We have been watching over the last week the events that took place a couple of thousand years ago in the area of Israel in the time of the Maccabees when they were forced to go against their religion and the first real persecution of the Jewish people based on their faith was leveled against them. We see these people who are trying to force the Jews against their faith and just how desperately they really are trying to destroy what the Jewish people had. It is interesting to see that in order to get these people just to eat a piece of pork – which for the Jews would have been the ultimate in apostasy: to be able to do what is the most unclean thing that they could think of – they would offer gifts, riches, positions in the government, and so on just to get them to apostasize.
Now this should show us just how important faith and living according to God’s law really is if those who are going to be into Satan are so desperate to get people to violate their faith that they will offer all kinds of worldly things in order just to get you to deny Jesus Christ; because, as we saw yesterday, the things that have been prefigure what is going to be. And so in our time we are going to see the trouble and we are going to have our own time of visitation. Jesus condemned Jerusalem because it did not recognize the time of its visitation, and He told us what was going to happen to Jerusalem: that they were going to be hemmed in on all sides, surrounded by their enemies, and they would be destroyed and not one stone would be standing upon another. Thirty-seven years later it happened. The Romans surrounded Jerusalem in the year 66; in the year 70 they destroyed it and not one stone was left standing upon another, literally.
So we see that the same pattern is going to be established once again. There will be an all-out persecution. One will be offered all kinds of things, perhaps gifts and riches and so on; certainly, you will be offered your life – all you have to do is deny your faith. Again, one can see just how desperate Satan is to get people away from Jesus. If they really did not care, if all they wanted to do was push their own agenda, why would they care whether or not you denied Christ? Why would they care if you wanted to go over to the one world religion that they are going to try to force down people’s throats? What difference should it make? Except that there is a far greater reason because they know fully well that if you are willing to deny some element of the Faith that the whole thing collapses, and not only will you lose your soul but you are going to start spiraling downward very quickly.
All we need to do is look at what is going on in the world today to be able to see just how bad things have gotten. People who want to sit in front of the TV for hours a day have gotten so accustomed to the filth that is on there that it does not even bother them anymore. The F.C.C. just three days ago decided to allow the filthy word that begins with an “F” to now be used on television and radio anytime of the day or night. They are already allowing all kinds of other perverted words, so this just followed suit. And people will sit there and not even bat an eyelash as they watch various forms of nudity, as they hear filthy and vile words, as the concepts that are being presented to them are designed to undermine every bit of decency that they have. And nobody seems to care.
You see what the devil is trying to do. As long as he can get people off the right track and onto his track, he knows that once he gets them started in that direction they will keep going. The result of that is going to be that nobody will be able to recognize the time of their visitation because they will be so engrossed in what it is that they are into, with all the filth and all the vile things; and even if they were to begin to see it, they are not going to be able to turn away because they have become addicted to the stuff. Their minds have become so numb to what is happening that they do not even recognize it. Unless anyone thinks that is not the case, just ask your neighbors. They sit their kids in front of this trash and leave them there for hours, and obviously do not care how their kids’ minds are being formed because they themselves do not even recognize that it is a problem anymore. They will say things like, “Well, yeah, I wish it weren’t there, but you know how it is. It’s just life these days!” So we see that the conscience has been completely destroyed and Satan has these people right where he wants them.
He wants your soul in the same shape. He might know that he is not going to be able to get you on one front, so he will try another. What’s it going to take? If he offers you your life? If he offers you gifts? If he offers you wealth? If he says he will be your friend or you will be his, as the case may be, just as the king was offering to Mattathias and his sons? What’s your price? That is what the question really comes down to. The devil’s price? He is willing to give anything for your soul: “Just deny your faith.” What is your price? How much does Jesus Christ mean to you? How much does eternal life mean to you? How much does your faith mean to you? There is nothing in the world that is worth losing heaven for. Nothing. We need to keep that firmly in mind. And as Saint Peter said, there is no other name given to men by which they are to be saved other than the Name of Jesus Christ.
We know the truth; the question is how important is it to us? That is the thing we are going to need to answer pretty soon because the time is very short. Things are increasing in the world; soon the persecution will be upon us and we will all need to answer that question. But we can begin to answer it even now in prayer, in our intentions, and in the way that we live our lives. We need to reject everything that is not of God. We need to embrace the fullness of truth and we need to live that truth. If we can live that now in our day-to-day lives, it is not going to be much of a problem when the real hard times come. But if we want to play footsie with the world, if we want to give in to the devil’s way while coming to Mass at the same time and saying, “Well, at least I believe in the Lord,” we are going to waffle because we already are. So we need to be very clear and we need to make the choice. We cannot be both Catholic and worldly at the same time. “You cannot serve both God and mammon.” Make the choice and make it clear. It is God or it is Satan. It is one or the other; there is no in between. If you try to walk the fence, you are serving Satan; it is just that simple. He wants to worm in and undermine your faith, knowing that if he can get a foothold he will destroy you. Do not allow it. Make your choice and make it clear for Jesus Christ.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.