Immerse Yourself in Christ – He is the Truth
Wednesday May 26, 2004 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Seventh Week of Easter
Reading (Acts 20:28-38) Gospel (St. John 17:11b-19)
Recall yesterday that as Jesus began His high priestly prayer, which is the very last thing at the Last Supper that He was doing before He went out to the garden to suffer and prepare Himself for His crucifixion, He said specifically that He did not pray for the world; and it is very evident why, because the world has been turned over to Satan. Jesus Himself even called Satan “the prince of this world”. So this world (that is, the evil in the world, the whole thing that is not Christian) has been turned over to the devil. And when Our Lord tells us that He has given us His word and people have hated us because of His word, it is because the devil is the one who is going to incite people against the truth. Yet, at the same time, He tells us we have been consecrated in truth because the Word of God is truth. The Second Person of the Trinity, the Person of Jesus Christ is the Word of God, the Word spoken by God through the prophets, through the evangelists, and through the various individuals who have written the Word of God in Scripture, divinely inspired as they were. All of these points are truth. And, as we know, the truth that is contained in Sacred Scripture – the truth Who is the Person of Jesus Christ – goes completely contrary to the ways of the world. They do not accept the truth because they have chosen falsehood; they have chosen darkness instead of light. Therefore, the way things operate is that when you bring the light into the darkness they have to try to destroy the light. They have two choices. They can either accept the light, rejoice in it, and convert; or they will destroy the light because they have chosen darkness. But again, when we read right at the beginning of Saint John’s Gospel, he tells us, The light came into the darkness, but men preferred darkness to light. That is the way of the world.
So when we stop to look at the problems not only within the world but within the Church right now, none of us should be surprised. The world hates the Church; the world hates the truth; the world hates Jesus Christ Who is the truth. And the world is going to do everything possible to extinguish the light because those who are worldly have chosen the darkness instead of the light. Their consciences are being seared by the light; therefore, they want it gone. Saint Paul, for instance, tells all the priests from Ephesus, I know that after I am gone savage wolves are going to come and they will not spare the flock. Even from your own number there are some who are going to be raised up who will lead people astray to try to take them with themselves.
One of the devil’s tricks, of course, is to just try to water down the truth. Not reject it entirely because he knows that anybody who is trying to live the truth is not going to accept it if it is completely rejected, so he just waters it down and makes it a little more palatable. He basically says to us, “That’s fine. You can believe most of the truth, but you don’t need to believe this. You can reject that. God gave you your own mind, use it! You don’t need to be obedient to some man in Rome. Who does he think he is anyway? Use your brain!” We have all heard the nonsense, and tragically there are many who fall right into it.
Look at how many Catholics contracept. Look how many have sterilized themselves. Look at how many refuse to go to Confession. How often do we hear the foolish statement: “God doesn’t care if I go to church every Sunday. He’s certainly not going to condemn me to hell just for skipping one Sunday Mass, is He?” On and on and on it goes. “It’s okay to live together before you get married. After all, it’s just like buying a car – you’ve got to take it for a test drive.” How stupid. But this is the nonsense that many, many people who call themselves Catholic have bought into. They just simply water it all down. Of course, they will all be very quick to tell you, “Of course I believe in God! I don’t reject God. I don’t reject the Church.” But what have they done? They have rejected the truth of God. They have rejected the teaching of the Church. And the Lord says, Whoever accepts Me, accepts Him Who sent Me. He says the same thing of the Church: Whoever receives you receives Me, and whoever does not receive you does not receive Me. It is the same position that these people have taken. They have rejected the truth. They have rejected Jesus, they have rejected His Church, but they can keep saying that they believe. It is a matter that they believe Jesus “might” be God, but they certainly do not believe everything He teaches. This is the way the wolves have been raised up, and it is the way they have destroyed the faith of many, many people.
Satan is very smooth. He knows that if he just simply appeared and said, “Leave the Church. Reject the whole thing,” he would not get very far; so he just picks a couple of points, points that he knows where people are going to be weak, points that he knows he can pick at until finally we are going to be convinced that it sounds like a pretty good idea. That is what we need to be very careful of. Remember what Scripture tells us about Satan, that he is the most subtle of all the creatures God created. We are not going to outsmart him, but we have the grace of God. We can pray. We can immerse ourselves into Jesus Christ and in His truth.
We must never, ever rely on ourselves. Never trust yourself. We must trust Christ. If we try to do it on our own strength, we are going to fall. If we have the grace of God, we are going to be fine – but we must learn to rely on that grace. The Lord prayed for us that we would be consecrated in truth, and we have been. Now it is to immerse ourselves in that truth and to live that truth. As long as we are united with the truth we will be fine, which is what He prayed: that we would be one in Him as He is one in the Father – what a beautiful thing, to be one with God! – and He said that there is no snatching from the Father’s hand. So everything is there for our success as long as we keep our focus correct, get it off of ourselves, learn not to rely on ourselves, focus solely on Christ, and immerse ourselves in Him. With that, the devil will have no power over us.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.