Saturday, February 10, 2007
FR. ROBERT ALTIER'S HOMILY FOR FEB. 10, 2005
Lent came earlier in 2005, but Feb. 21 is not all that far away, and we will soon be in the Season of Lent as well. Here is the beginning of Fr. Altier's homily for the Thursday after Ash Wednesday, 2005:
Thursday February 10, 2005?? Thursday After Ash Wednesday
Reading (Deuteronomy 30:15-20)?? Gospel (St. Luke 9:22-25)
In the first reading from the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses tells us that he places before us life and death, the blessing and the curse. And he talks all about what will happen as we make our choices. He says that if we choose life it is going to be because we have chosen to serve the Lord, to be obedient to His commandments, to do all the things that Our Lord is asking us to do, and to walk in His way. If we choose death, it is because we have chosen not to serve the Lord but to serve other gods and to do things our own way.
Our Lord in the Gospel reading, then, follows up on the point and He tells us the same thing. He places before us life and death. He places before us the blessing and the curse, as well. He tells us exactly what it is going to require. So if we are going to be obedient to the commandment of our God, what is it? You must take up your cross daily and follow Me. And He tells us that anyone who would lose his life will save it. If we want life, it is only by losing our life in order to serve Christ.
Now that sounds like it is completely foolish, and on Our Lord?s part it sounds like it is completely selfish. He says, Whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. Imagine if we ran around saying something like that ? ?The only way that you?re going to live is if you do something for me?! Well, the difference is that He is God, and so He is telling us that if we serve God (which is exactly what Moses told us) then we will have life. But He tells us how we are to serve Him: It is to lose our life, it is to take up our cross, and it is to follow in His way. That is exactly what Moses said, except Moses did not say, ?Take up your cross,? but he told us to follow in the way of the Lord, to be obedient to His commands. Jesus is just specifying what the commandment is: We have to be willing to lose ourselves. If we lose ourselves for His sake then what happens is that we gain Him, we are transformed into Christ, and then it is Christ Who lives in us.
Continue reading the rest of the homily...