Wednesday May 11, 2005 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Seventh Week of Easter
Reading (Acts 20:28-38) Gospel (St. John 17:11b-19)
Today in the readings, as Saint Paul is speaking to the priests from the church of Ephesus and Our Lord is speaking to His apostles in the Gospel reading at the Last Supper, we see the same exact elements once again. Our Lord tells His heavenly Father in this high priestly prayer of His that He has consecrated His apostles in truth and He has consecrated Himself for their sake. Then we hear Saint Paul talking about the gracious word of God that can build you up and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated. So we see again that same pattern. We also hear Our Lord talking about how they are to be one and that they are to be one in the truth, and that it is only in the truth that we are going to be consecrated, and the word of God is truth. Then we hear Saint Paul talking about how he had preached the truth to these people but that savage wolves were going to come up from among their own number and they were going to pervert the truth, and there were others that would attack and destroy even from within. When Our Lord was speaking, He talked about how none of those whom the Father had given Him had fallen away except the one who was supposed to.
So we see right from among their own numbers of the Twelve that there is one who subverted the truth, there is one who tried to destroy those who were consecrated. Things have not changed in two thousand years. All we have to do is look at what is going on in the Church today. We have people outside of the Church who are trying to destroy it, and we have people inside of the Church who are trying to destroy it. Nothing has changed.
We have all been consecrated in the truth; as Jesus said, Your word is truth. He is the Word of God – He is the Truth – and we have been consecrated in Jesus Christ so that we could share in the glorious inheritance of those who are consecrated. The inheritance is heaven. But in order to be able to get there, we have to remain faithful while here. And Our Lord told us in the Gospel reading that He has given us the Word of God, but that the world has hated us for it because the world hated Him and hates the Word of God. Consequently, we are going to be attacked from the outside because the world hates the truth. It hates Jesus Christ. We are members of Jesus Christ and we are called to live the life of Christ, and if we do so the world is going to hate us.
So we have these savage wolves that are trying to attack, but much more difficult and much more subtle are the attacks from within, the people who refuse to accept the fullness of the truth and at the same time they refuse to have the integrity to leave if they do not believe the truth. They want to stay within to try to subvert the Church, to try to destroy it, to try to take down as many people as they can. Now, instead of dealing with objective truth, most people look simply at feelings or relativism. It is all subjective: “It’s what I want to believe. It’s your opinion against my opinion. It’s the opinion of some old man over in Rome who doesn’t know anything about America,” all of this garbage that we have heard over and over and over again. It is all lies and it is all designed to subvert the truth.
It is not about “my” feelings or “my” opinions; it is about the objective truth. We have been consecrated in truth. If we reject the truth – any part of the truth – then we are rejecting the whole truth and we are cutting ourselves off. We become as the son of destruction and we destroy the Church from within. Worse than that, within our own selves we are living a schizophrenic existence, because we are saying on one hand that we are members of Jesus Christ, called to live according to the way of Christ, according to His word and to His truth; then on the other hand, we turn around and say, “But I’m going to live in a way that’s opposite of that. I don’t accept the whole truth. I don’t want to be a member of Jesus in these areas.” You are either in or out. The choice is entirely ours.
The savage wolves are there. Those who will subvert the truth from within are all over the place these days, and we each have to make a choice. Are we going to remain faithful to the consecration which is ours? Or are we going to reject the truth? Are we going to subvert it as well? These are the questions that we have to ask, but the only place to ask is not in our heads – the only place to ask the question is in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Look at Jesus and then ask yourself the question: “Are you going to deny the truth? Are you going to deny the consecration that is yours? Are you going to subvert the truth? Are you going to put forth your own opinion in the face of Jesus Christ, Who is the Truth?” That is the place to ask the question, and the answer should be quite obvious. If we remain faithful, ours will be a share in the glorious inheritance of those who are consecrated and live the consecration that is theirs.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.