2017 Homilies (Written)

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Mark 1:14-20; As built, Amite #289; 1-22-18
  1. ‘React’
  2. … the year was 1960, and his name is Louis… some call him Louie… others call him ‘porkchop’! And if you were to ask Louis or Louie…or porkchop… about his upbringing… he would tell you, that he was pooooor!!! They were the poster child of poor!!!... He would tell you, that his favorite past time was picking up bottle caps and hitting them with a stick…. One reporter asked him, you mean like baseball…. Louie responded… that was our baseball!!! Well grammar school was tough…and HS wasn’t much easier…and his dad asked him, well son…how will you REACT to the world when it gets tough…. Will you quit! Will you bow your neck, lean forward…well, when HS was over… Louie had to make a decision… school, work…or maybe baseball… he told his dad, he would give his best shot… baseball that is… and soon he played in the minor leagues…and then gets a call from an agent…to join the braves in the grapefruit league… the summer league of Major League Baseball… the agent tells the coach…this guy Louis, is the, THE up and comer… well, the coach says, we just need to see how he… REACTS to major league hitting… and since we are playing the Red Sox… they will want to see how he REACTS to Ike Delott fastball …!!! So, the game starts… the Boston Red Sox vs the Milwaukee Braves… and they are playing in Pain Park… it reminds batters what a ‘pain’ it is to hit there…400 ft down the alleys, over 400 to dead center field…its where home runs go to die… and the pitcher is their ace… Ike Delott… he is a good one too! Once again, his breaking ball is ok, his slider well, not to bad…but one thing he has is a Heater! A live and running fast ball… so when it came to time to pick a starting lineup for the braves… once again, the braves coach stated… that he wants to see how this new ‘up and coming’ 2nd baseman would REACT to hitting against Ike… you see, the coach new IKE too, and how IKE would REACT against pitching against one of these…’up and coming’ guys…IKE would bring his best, His heater… and so when the young 2nd baseman came to the plate… true to form… IKE brought the heater… and I mean HEATER… the ball look like an aspirin coming to the plate! ….you know, one thing about a fast ball, no matter how fast you throw it….if … IF.. .. the batter connects… it flies twice as fast as it comes…and so did this one…over 450 ft… it left so fast… that the centerfielder didn’t even bother to turn around!!! According to many…. The only park that ball would not have sailed out of… was Yellowstone park!!! Can you imagine, what a REACTION to his first at bat in the big leagues… Well, you know the coach had no intention of starting this young man… but when Bobby Thompson got hurt, their starting left fielder… based on what he saw the young man do, how he REACTED to Ike’s pitching…he decided to put him in left field as the opening day starter… and how did he REACT!!??? Well, for the next 24 seasons…24!!!!... he made the All-star team, he received the golden glove for 3 straight years, he made the Hall of fame…he hit over 20 homes in 20 years, he hit over 30 home runs in 8 years…and over 40 home runs in 5 years…he hit 715 home runs total…BEFORE STERIODS… he wore number 44,… yes he REACTED QUITE WELL… and you know him..as Hammerin’ Hank Aaron!!! And you could never meet a better gentlemen, than Hank Louis Aaron….
  3. PS… they called him, porkchop…because he ate so many when they went out… he said he was so poor that he could not afford them… so when he could, he made up for lost time!
  4. The Gospel today is all about …. REACTING!!! Did you listen to the gospel… when the Good Lord asked Andrew and Simon to follow… to follow him… they left IMMEDIATELY!!! Their REACTION is amazing… to say the least… they stop what they are doing…for a living…for the meal they were going to eat that day, that night… their REACTION was to leave immediately … and then, James and John leave so abruptly…their dad is still in the boat with the hired help!!! When God called, they REACTED without hesitation… how would you feel, if you were John’s dad, or the help…??? Please remember, this is the second time they have met Christ… the first time, 3 of the 4 apostles meet Christ when John the Baptist proclaims, that there IS THE LAMB OF GOD!!! Their REACTION is so profound… that nothing more in life matters, not even their way of life… inclusive of their families….
  5. As a first century jew…somethings we need to recall… one, Mark is not an apostle… he was a follower of Paul, and later a follower of Peter… so much so, Peter at times referred to him as his son…. Mark, is speaking to the gentiles…in rome… he is all about the facts… mark assumes his audience already knows certain items… for example… the setting, is when Christ is just baptized… he enters and subsequently leaves the desert …and has just cured Peters mother in law of fever….and now HE is out to recruit His Apostles….
  6. In the Gospel of Mark, did you know, that he uses the word ‘immediately’ over 35 times… when Christ came out of the waters of Baptism, IMMEDIATELY the heavens opened up… when Christ entered the house of Peter and his Mother in Law was sick… He touched her and IMMEDIATELY the fever left her and she waited on them… When Christ entered the synagogue… IMMEDIATELY a possessed man approached HIM… The Gospel of Mark is all about how people, REACTED… to Christ…
  7. Throughout SCRIPTURE…if there is one person whose ‘reaction’ we should study, it would be Peter’s! Think for a second… how would you have responded, if Christ told you, ‘get behind me satan’!? Most of us would have fallen to the ground and began to cry unceasingly… or maybe just took off running… hoping we would never be seen again in public! Not Peter… he takes the hit and keeps on going! What if we were in the boat with Christ and he called us to come out… would we have… would we have REACTED by placing one foot in and kept the other in the boat…??? What if we had denied Christ… would we have even hung around to visit with the other apostles or had the courage to even see Blessed Mother, much less talk to HER… Peter did! According to tradition…. Peter cried so much… when he met Mary… that he formed creases in his face…that lasted his life time!!! Say what you want about Peter, but he is resilient… his last ‘reaction’ is what makes him,,, ‘the rock upon which I will build My Church’!!! HE IS CRUCIFIED UPSIDE DOWN…and according to tradition… he preached the gospel for 3 hours!
  8. Well, here we sit…some 2000 years later…Peter has come and gone… so has Hank Aaron… its just us… the question before us… is how do we ‘REACT’??? Especially when we are driving… and people lay on the horn, directed at us… when people cut us off in traffic… or worse, tell us we are number one… how do we REACT??!?!... Remember… this… just because people throw garbage at us, we don’t have to pick it up!!!.... How do you and I REACT when we are judge by others… in emails, text messages… on the phone in person… they curse us, judge us… belittle us…Remember… this… what others think of you and I…is none of our business!!! Only HIS opinion matters… what about when you and I pray… how do we REACT to prayers unanswered… or prayers answered against our asking… do we get mad, belligerent… want ‘to cut God out’… make HIM pay for not doing as we asked…???
  9. The question that we must answer… MUST ANSWER… is not, WWJD…. What would Jesus do…but… what are we going to do????  When bad news comes… how will we REACT… will we, draw closer to Christ or further away… ?? Are we fair weather followers of Christ… if HE answers appropriately, we are ok…but if not… begone!!?? If you REACT in the negative…when bad news comes… you fall away from Christ… how will we ever grow closer to HIM, grow in our faith… become battle tested… become an apostle…??? You want to know how you are progressing as a follower of Christ… a good Catholic… ask yourself one question… do you gravitate towards HIM during strife, or away from HIM??? Are you growing in your faith…or …. Not?
  10. My friends in Christ, I leave you with the words of Mother Theresa… this is a true story… one day, she is in Rome walking toward one of her missions…several reporters see her…she is hard to miss…they approach her…and as always, she is most gracious! She always… ALWAYS hands out medals of Mary… after giving them each one…one of the reporters…asked…’Mother, how old are you’? She smiled and said… 70! Then he lowers the boom… ‘well, it won’t be long before you die…so all the work you did, will then go back to the way it was… the world, would not have changed one bit”!!!! Now… she could have played the card…’how dare you’…’who are you to judge me’… I’m Mother Theresa…etc…
Yet… her response, her REACTION …is PRICELESS…”She smiles as she ALWAYS DOES… she smiles like a child who has been congratulated ….     And says, ‘my child, I never envisioned changing the world… I am but a small drop of water, in which God’s love could sparkle’.... Does that seem little..? The reporters did not know what to answer, while an attentive and emotional silence had fallen around Mother Teresa. She started to speak again and asked the "cheeky" reporter: «Why don't you try to be a drop of clean water, and then there will be two of us. Are you married?». «Yes, Mother».. «Tell your wife as well and then there will be three of us. Have you any children?». «Three children, Mother». «Tell your children too and then there will be six of us...».
My friends in Christ…it is all in how…. We…. REACT!
AMEN!

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