Wednesday March 24, 2004 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Fourth Week of Lent
Reading (Isaiah 49:8-15) Gospel (St. John 5:17-30)
In the beginning of the first reading today from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, the Lord says, In a time of favor I answer you, on a day of salvation I help you, and then speaking to His servant He says, I have set you as a covenant to the people. Now when we consider these points, there are really a couple of points that we have to look at. The one is the fact that God will hear us on this day of salvation, that He will show us His favor. But there is a second point, and that is dealing with the covenant, dealing in this case with the person who is the covenant, and that is Our Lord.
When we listen, then, in the Gospel reading to the words of Our Lord, He tells us that the Father judges no one, but rather that He Himself is the judge. And He is the judge because He took on our human nature that we will not ever be able to look at Him and say, “But You don’t understand. Did You ever experience what I experienced? Do You have any idea?” He does, perfectly; therefore He is the judge because He is the One Who understands. He has been there; He has lived it; He has done it. And so none of us will have an excuse before the Lord. Beyond that Our Lord tells us, with regard to this judgment, that He will not judge according to His own will but only according to the Will of His heavenly Father; and that if anyone rejects Him, that person rejects the Father Who sent Him.
Now if we consider that same proposition, one can carry it to the next step. One can look and say, “Anyone who rejects the Son rejects the Father, therefore anyone who rejects the Son rejects His mother. Or vice versa: Anyone who rejects His mother rejects the Son because you do not have one without the other.” This is something that is critically important in our day and age because Our Blessed Lady pretty much gets short-tripped with a lot of people. The vast majority of non-Catholics who want to call themselves Christian have absolutely no time for her; in fact, they have a hatred for her. And there are many, many Catholics who think they do not need her at all, that somehow this is not important.
All you have to do is simply look and ask yourself, “Did Jesus need her?” Are you a member of the Mystical Body of Christ? Then you need her exactly as Jesus needs her. He needed her because He chose that – not out of necessity, but out of choice. He decided that He would have a mother, He decided that He would be obedient to His mother, and He decided that He would make Himself dependent on His mother. Therefore, because it was His choice, it is the way that He did it. And for those who are members of His Mystical Body, who are called to do exactly what Jesus did, He says, I do nothing except what I see My Father doing, which means the Father chose that the Son would be dependent on His mother. For us, Jesus stands as the example not only in His teaching but in His deeds. Therefore, we should be able to say, “I do nothing except what I see the Son of God doing.” And what we see the Son of God doing is being obedient and being dependent with regard to His own mother, as well as, of course, to His Father. So it is for us, then, to be able to look at what He did and say, “If God has made Himself dependent on this extraordinary woman, so too must we be. If God has made Himself obedient to this most wonderful of all women, so too must we be,” because we are to do nothing other than what we see the Son of God doing, and He does nothing except what He sees His Father doing. The relationship is clearly set out.
We are members of Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ has a Father Who is in heaven, and thus we call Him “Our Father” because we are a member of Christ. Our Lord also has a mother whom we call “Our Mother” for the exact same reason. And if we do not accept the mother, we do not accept the Son, because you do not have one without the other. If we reject the Son, we reject the Father. If we reject the Son, we also reject the mother. The same works the other way. Reject the Father and you reject the Son. Reject the mother and you reject the Son, because they are one. So we have to make sure for ourselves that if we want to have our voices heard on a day of salvation, on a day that is acceptable to the Lord, it is going to be to do things the way that He did them because that is the acceptable way. It is the means to salvation. It means being humble, it means being obedient, it means being dependent, and it means loving perfectly; not only God, not only Jesus, but Our Blessed Lady, because that is the way He has chosen for Himself and it is the way He has chosen for those who are members of His Mystical Body. When we have done that then has salvation come to our house, then it will be an acceptable day, then will be truly the day of salvation.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.