*** NOTICE ***
Yesterday’s homily text – Wednesday, February 4 – has been updated
to include the specific verses from Saint Mark’s Gospel that
Father Altier was referring to in his homily.
Thursday February 5, 2004 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading (1 Kings 2:1-4, 10-12) Gospel (St. Mark 6:7-13)
In the readings today, we see fidelity. The Lord speaks to us through David about the fidelity that we need in order to do His Will, telling Solomon his son: “If you are faithful to the Lord, your God, if you are obedient to His commandments and statutes and ordinances, then the Lord will be with you and everything will go well for you, and all the promises that the Lord has made will be fulfilled.” Well, we know that Solomon began as a faithful servant of the Lord; tragically, he did not end that way. He was the wisest man in the world who allowed his wisdom, which was a pure gift from God, to become his downfall because he became arrogant, thinking himself to be so amazing that he did not need God anymore. He used his wisdom for natural ideas rather than for supernatural things.
Then we see Our Lord sending His apostles out two by two. He instructs them to take nothing with them. There was no sack, no food, no money in their belts – they had nothing. They were to go out and they were to trust completely in God. They had nothing except the promises of Our Lord. They went out and they preached. They cast out demons and healed people, and it was precisely because of their fidelity, their obedience to the Lord. They could have looked at this and said, “Well, that’s just a foolish idea! Who would go traveling without a second tunic? Who would go traveling with no money? Who would go traveling with no food? It makes no sense. This is ludicrous!” On the natural level, it is. But, you see, they did not operate with a natural wisdom; they operated with supernatural wisdom. And supernatural wisdom says, number one, be obedient; number two, be faithful.
In our society, we think that to be obedient means to take away one’s dignity. “I want to do what I want to do and nobody else is going to tell me anything – including God.” And so, we make up the rules as we go. We pick and choose what we want to do and what we do not want to do because we do not want to be obedient. We do not want to be faithful to anyone except ourselves. We need to be very careful about this. There is the old saying that we need, first, to be faithful to ourselves, but that implies that we have already made a choice as to whom we are going to be faithful to. That is, if you say that you are going to be a follower of Jesus Christ, then be faithful to yourself and be a follower of Jesus Christ. Do not give the Lord lip service and then do whatever you feel like doing because that is not fidelity to self or to Christ.
If we are going to claim to be Catholic people then we need to be Catholic people. There are all these people who want to claim that they are Catholic, and then they have nothing to do with the Faith. They show up on Sunday morning at church – if they feel like it, they have the audacity to come to Holy Communion, and then they have nothing to do with the Faith the rest of their lives. Look at the politicians who are pro-abortion and refuse to allow the teachings of the Church to guide their conscience, yet they have the gall to show up and receive Holy Communion. And it is not just the politicians; there are many, many people in the same boat. They want to be pro-abortion; they want to contracept; they do not want to believe in what the Church teaches regarding various moral and doctrinal issues; and yet they are going to beat the drum and tell the whole world that they are Catholic. Their whole point is not to be faithful to Christ but to undermine Him, to be able to say, “I have my own mind and I can choose for myself.” Well, choose today whether you want to be Catholic or not. Do not tell the world you are Catholic and then become a hypocrite and undermine it by the way that you live your life.
Fidelity and obedience are the points that the Lord is making for us today. If we are obedient and if we are faithful, God will bless us abundantly and He will fulfill the promises He has made. If, on the other hand, we want to do it our way, then we become our own little god; and all that remains is that we can bless our own selves, which is quite a joke. We can do it our way, and all might go the way we think it ought to go, but we have no part of Christ and we have no part of eternal life. There is only one God – and we are not it. Therefore, we have to make our choice. Who will you serve and how will you serve him? It is a very simple choice, but one that does not sit well with many people in our society because to make that choice requires obedience and fidelity to the one you choose.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.