Monday January 10, 2005 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier First Week in Ordinary Time
Reading (Hebrews 1:1-6) Gospel (St. Mark 1:14-20)
In the first reading today, Saint Paul tells us, In past times, God spoke in partial and various ways through the ancestors the prophets. But now, he says, He has spoken to us through His Son. When we look at what Saint Paul is telling us, we can consider, for instance, that in the Old Testament there are some three hundred and fifty or so specific prophecies regarding the Messiah. God simply revealed a little bit at a time, who this person is supposed to be and what it is that he will be like so people would know who he was. God revealed things about His own self, but things that people did not understand because it was just a little here and a little there. But now He has sent His Son into the world, His Son Who is the fullness of God, and indeed as Saint Paul says, Whom He has made heir of all things and through Whom He created the universe, Who is the refulgence of His glory, the very imprint of His being, and Who sustains all things.
This is God. He has come into the world Himself. It is no longer just some information that we have about God, prophecies about the One Who is to come, and fragmentary means of being able to try to understand Who He is, but rather now we have the fullness of the Divine Being Who has come down to us. He has come down to us in a way we would be able to grasp, that is, He has taken a human nature to Himself so that we could see Him, hear Him, touch Him, and so on. He remains with us in the fullness of His being in the Blessed Sacrament. In the Eucharist, Almighty God is truly present. It is, of course, a great mystery that we will never fully comprehend, but it is the fullness of God’s being. There is absolutely nothing that is lacking in the Blessed Sacrament, and therefore there is no longer any more prophecy with regard to the Person of Christ. There is no more public revelation because the fullness of God’s being has been given to us. There is nothing left that has not been revealed; it is all there. The Church, over the years, continues to try to understand in a fuller way the fullness of this revelation, but there is not anything new because it is all there in Christ.
And so it is for us to be able to listen to Him, for us to be able to come to know Him in the fullness of His being. He tells us, as He begins His public ministry, that, number one, the time of fulfillment is at hand; number two, He tells us that we are to repent and believe in the Gospel. So what we have to do is make sure we are seeking the word of God in the Scriptures, and we need to make sure we are seeking the Word of God in the Blessed Sacrament, that we are spending time with Him. If this is the fullness of the revelation of God – and He is – then why would we not want to be with Him? We receive Him in Holy Communion, and then we leave immediately and pay no attention. He is right there in our hearts, but we do not go there to be with Him. He is right here in the Blessed Sacrament. It is a strange thing that Catholics seem to want to spend as little time with Him in the Blessed Sacrament as they possibly can. Come in at the last minute, leave as quickly as you can, do not spend much time in prayer, and get out. Why? Is it because we really do not want the fullness of the revelation of God? Is it because we really do not want to repent and believe the Gospel? Is it because we do not want the fulfillment that is found only in Christ?
When Peter, James, and John heard the Word of God, they immediately left everything behind to follow Him. Are we afraid if He speaks in our hearts that we too are going to have to change and leave some sins behind and follow Him? Are we afraid of what following Him is going to entail? Whatever the reason might be, it does not matter. The fact is that if we are not seeking the fullness of the revelation of God in the Person of Jesus Christ then we are not seeking God. And if we are not seeking God then there is only one other whose work we are doing – and that is the enemy of our souls.
That is what is being placed before us today. There is nothing in Jesus Christ that is fragmentary, nothing that is even being given in a variety of ways; He is there in the fullness of His being, and all that He is waiting for is us to open our hearts to hear His word, to leave behind everything that is not of God, and to follow Him.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.