Wednesday March 9, 2005 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Fourth Week of Lent
Reading (Isaiah 49:8-15) Gospel (St. John 5:17-30)
In the first reading, we are told through the prophet Isaiah that when the Messiah comes He will be calling those who are in darkness, those who are in dungeons, to come out; He will set them free. Well, that is us. We live in this world of darkness. We live in the dungeon of our own sins, yet the Lord is calling us to come out, to be healed. Yet with all the promises that the Lord has made, at the end of the reading Zion says, My Lord has forgotten me; my Lord has forsaken me. As we look around at things that go on in the world, and sometimes what happens in our own lives, we tend to say the same kind of thing. But the Lord promises: I will never forget you.
It is with that in mind that we have to look, not so much at Him, but at our own selves. Jesus tells us that He came into this world and He does nothing on His own. He can do only what He sees the Father doing, and whatever He sees the Father doing that is what the Son will do. The Son has no power on His own, but rather He has life because the Father has given it to Him. So when we see Our Lord telling us that because He is united to the Father He will do only what the Father’s Will is, well, for those of us who are members of the Son of God, we should have the exact same attitude: We do nothing on our own but we do only what we see the Son doing. Imagine what our lives would look like if we would do only what the Son of God would do, if we would act as we truly are, members of the Son of God, members of Jesus Christ, the One Who is given to us as the covenant. We have been incorporated into Him. We have life because of Him, because He has given it to us. He is calling now to the dead, and He tells us that they will hear His voice. That is us. Those who are dead in sin are called to come forth to life, and so that is the life we have been given – new life in Jesus Christ to be able to live His life. We have the challenge, then, to do exactly what He did. His focus was solely on His Father and on the Will of His Father, and He did only what He saw the Father doing. Our task is to be focused solely on the Son of God and to do whatever we see the Son doing so that we are focused only on Him and we do His Will. That is the call that has been given to each one of us.
Our Lord tells us what judgment is all about, but for us the judgment is going to be on how we lived in this world, knowing who we are, knowing Who He is and how we are called to live. That is what our judgment is going to be. He is the Just Judge and He is going to judge us according to our deeds, as He makes very clear. But those deeds are going to be doing the Will of the One Who sent us, just as He does only the Will of the One Who sent Him. And so Our Lord tells us, I send you out into the world as sheep among wolves. We are sent. We are apostles for Christ, and therefore we are to live the life of Christ in this world, sent out for a reason. We are going to be judged according to how we have lived according to the One Who sent us, according to the way that He lived, so that we have our focus on the Son of God and we as members of the Son of God do nothing other than what we see Him doing because we have no power of our own, we have no life within ourselves; but rather we have power only because He has given it, we have life only because He has given it. The life that we have is His life, and therefore we are to live our lives according to the way He lived His life so that it is He Who lives in us and through us. Therefore, the works that we do are not our own but they are His. If we are doing the works of the One Who sent us, then we are giving glory to God and the judgment that we will endure will be a merciful one because we have done exactly what we were sent to do. If we try to do our own thing, we are going to be in trouble because we are not doing what we see Him doing, we are not doing the Will of the One Who sent us, but we are trying to do our own thing. So we must focus solely on Christ and do nothing other than what we see the Son of God Himself doing.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.