America – Worse than Sodom and Gomorrah
Tuesday July 12, 2005 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading (Exodus 2:1-15a) Gospel (St. Matthew 11:20-24)
We hear in the Gospel reading today about these towns where Our Lord did the vast majority of His work, and He condemns them because they did not believe. It is quite amazing to hear what He has to say about these other towns, about Tyre and Sidon, about Sodom and Gomorrah, that Sodom would still have been around to that particular day if the works done in Capernaum had been done in Sodom. We all know what happened in Sodom, the horrible sins that were going on there, the gross homosexuality and all the problems that they had. And we know that when the angels came to Sodom, they wanted to sodomize the angels. Yet Our Lord is telling us that if those works that He did had been done in Sodom, Sodom would still be standing because the people would have converted.
We look around and we see things in our own society getting worse and worse and worse –not only our society, but throughout the world. We ask ourselves, "What is it going to take? What does God have to do to get people turned around?" We might say, "If He did some sort of miracle, people would surely believe." How many miracles does He need to do? They are happening all the time, yet people refuse to believe. The amazing thing is that very often it is even the people for whom the miracles were done who refuse to believe these days. God does something extraordinary right in someone's life and they just shrug it off! They continue to act the way that they were before. We are in such a situation that we have to understand that our society is worse than Sodom and Gomorrah. Now that is quite a statement, yet it is true. Sodom and Gomorrah would have converted if the works that the Lord continues to do even in our own day would have been done in them.
But we have been untouched as a society by the works of the Lord. How many Masses are said everyday. How many graces are brought down to this earth through the Mass being offered, through generous souls who are willing to suffer, through the prayers of good and holy people. Yet things continue just to degenerate. At the time of Our Lord, they did not understand the value of suffering. They did not have the Mass. They had Jesus going into these towns and working mighty deeds, but He told us that we would do even greater things than what He had done. So we have all of the saints. We have our Blessed Lady. We have Our Lord. We have the Mass. We have an understanding of the value of prayer and suffering and sacrifice and all these things. We have many, many generous people who are offering themselves to the Lord as victim souls and who are offering their daily sufferings to the Lord. Still, the vast majority refuses to hear and to change.
We need desperately to continue to pray and to continue to offer our sufferings and sacrifices to the Lord. It is the only way. The devil right now has such a hold on the people of this world that our only hope for being able to snatch them from the hands of Satan is going to be through prayer and sacrifice. There are many who are willing to do so, yet when we look at the whole world, it is hardly a handful by comparison. God needs generous souls and He needs them desperately. We can be guaranteed if we are willing to offer up those sacrifices to the Lord that we will see extraordinary things happening, that we will know there are graces being brought to this world and there are souls who are being touched and converted. Even if things continue to go the wrong way on the large scale, we can be guaranteed that God's grace is working in the lives of individuals to save their souls. That may be at the last moment of their life as they are dying, to get turned around, it may be in some other circumstance, and it may well be people that we do not even know. It does not matter. All that matters is that we have the faith, the confidence, and the trust that the Lord is going to accept what we offer Him and that He will apply it where it is most needed. So we need to do our part.
If the works that have been done in our day had been done in a place like Sodom, it would have converted. America and the rest of the world have not. We have rejected the grace of God, and we have chosen sin that is far worse than what Sodom ever knew. We need to pray and we need to do penance. We need to beg the Lord to open the way so that people will be able to receive the grace so they will be converted and saved.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.