Tuesday June 7, 2005 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading (2 Corinthians 1:18-22) Gospel (St. Matthew 5:13-16)
In the first reading today from Saint Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul tells us that the Lord is not “yes” and “no.” God had made certain promises to the people of the Old Testament and Jesus is the fulfillment of all of them, he tells us, and Jesus was only “yes” in everything. Now that does not mean, of course, that if somebody wanted to do something immoral that Jesus said, “Yes,” but rather what Jesus said “yes” to was always God’s Will. He did always and only what the Will of His heavenly Father was. Consequently, Saint Paul says, Therefore, our Amen goes through Him to give glory to God.
And so he is saying that we have to be saying “yes” to God. If we are going to say “amen” (that is, “it is true,” “let it be so”) about who Jesus is, then in saying that it gives glory to God – unless we fail to live it. If we are going to say “yes” to the Lord on one level and then continue to go out and do foolish things, we are hypocrites. We are “yes” one minute and “no” the next. We are not truly saying “amen” to the Person of Jesus Christ, if that would be the case, because we are failing in carrying through what it is that we profess. We cannot be going back and forth. We have to be about doing the Will of God.
It is exactly what Jesus tells us in the Gospel. We are supposed to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Basically, what we would be saying is “Well, when it’s convenient I’ll turn the light on. And when it’s not, I’ll turn it off. I don’t want people to see me, so I’ll turn it off.” We cannot do that. If we are going to say “yes” to Jesus Christ, it is “yes” 24 hours a day. It is not an optional thing once we make that decision. We have to live the faith. Jesus tells us that if salt loses its flavor it is only good to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. So if we are not doing what we are supposed to do, if we know what the truth is and we refuse to live it, the Lord is telling us what we are good for: to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. Well, who lives underfoot? The devil and his minions.
We have to be a city set upon a mountain, not to be thrown down and trampled underfoot, but to be raised up, to give light to everyone. And that light that we have to give to everyone is Jesus, the Light of the World, the Light Who came into the darkness and the darkness could not overcome Him – because He did not turn the light off. He kept it on always in His time in this world. If He is the light in our lives, then we cannot turn Him off and we cannot be putting a bushel basket over the top of Him so that when it is inconvenient we are going to make sure people do not see Him living in us and through us because we are afraid. That is not an option. It is either “yes” or “no,” and we need to make a choice. If we make the choice that we want to be part on and part off, we are really making the choice of “no.” That is not the option for someone who is a follower of Christ.
Jesus was “yes” to everything that was the Will of His Father. He is the “yes” to every single promise that God made. The Lord has made us many promises, and if we want them to be fulfilled, if we want one day to look at God and say “amen,” then the only way we are going to do that is if in this world we continue to say “yes.” That is the option we have chosen when we have chosen Jesus Christ. He is not a light switch that can be flipped on and off when it is convenient or inconvenient. Saint Paul tells Timothy that he has to preach the Gospel in season and out of season, whether it is convenient or inconvenient. It does not matter whether people like it or not; it does not matter whether it is popular or not; all that matters is that it is the truth and it is the way that we have chosen to live our lives so that we can be a “yes” to Jesus Christ, that we can be an “amen” to everything He has promised. We will then find the fulfillment of that when we will enter into the light inaccessible, Who is God Himself, and for all eternity we too, then, will say Amen.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.