2017 Homilies (Written)

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Mark 1:40-45 (As built; 2-11-18;  #292)
A. Extra Step… (go the extra step… mile)
B. The year is 1970… His name is Allen… Allen has  one sibling...a sister.... they were born in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands… !!! His mom was a singer and dancer ...his dad was a musician actually, he wanted to be a musician ....the truth the matter is he owned a little coffee shop... it was actually a small bar and grill ....for you and I we would call it a greasy spoon… !!! But that’s all they made their money ....but I have to tell you Allen’s life has always been horrific... and it all started when by the age of two... his parents divorced and he had to move from St Thomas to New Jersey… To live with his Grandparents…!! After several years they move down to Florida about the age of 12… His life became even more tragic… His grandfather passed… And his father was killed somebody robbing his home…!!  It put Allen’s life into a tailspin.... according to his grandmother he threw his life into the drama club at school… He found that  drama allowed him to hide his wounds ...to better handle life… He got so good at it he actually got a scholarship to Juilliard… The problem is he never went to class and therefore was expelled…!!  Eventually Allen got some jobs on Broadway… Which open the door to a few shows on television… The series called, Kennedy… A show called, Back to You… And a show called,  Hank… not long thereafter life took even yet another turn for the worse his sister the one he adored… Was murdered… !! If that wasn’t bad enough what is mom remarried he had a half-brother and his sister they died in the scuba accident… They believe they were attacked by sharks… Allen’s life was out of control… Drugs alcohol… But later he’ll tell you there was one thing that turned his life….Around… Is when he took that EXTRA STEP… That EXTRA STEP to go to prison and visit with his sisters murder and forgive him… That extra step of forgiveness turned his life around… He’s been in several movies X-Men, expendables three, and down periscope… Which is actually quite funny… He also did voiceovers…. Toy Story;  he was stinky Pete… In the Simpsons; he was sideshow Bob … But when he was offered a contract for just six episodes on this bar in Boston….thats when he really hit his heyday…. he was so good they had in almost all the shows…No he’s not Norm… nor does he keep the bar… nor is he the mailman… he played a psychiatrist/psychologist… then he started his own show… as a psychiatrist which ran as long as… Cheers… at the closing, he would always sing the song, Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs…  you know, Allen… as Dr. Frasier Crane… Kelsey Allen Grammer !!! … all because he took the, EXTRA STEP!!!
C. THE GOSPEL IS ALL ABOUT… the EXTRA STEP!!! The leper takes the extra time…. takes the EXTRA STEPS… He goes the extra mile… To make sure that he meets the good Lord… So that he could be cured! And please understand… The leper risked a lot… To be there with Christ arrived… There’s no memo, no advertising… That says film at 11… Savior of  the world to be here shortly… all miracles down at no cost!!!!.... He has to leave the leper compound… At his own risk… calling out to anybody with an earshot… Unclean unclean! And did you notice that he not only waited for the good Lord to show… But that when the good Lord did show… He knelt before him! Throughout Scripture, though many people did not know who Christ was… The ones that did… When they approached him… They either knelt, bowed or lay prostrate… !!! This young man knows exactly who Christ is, the LONG AWAITED MESSIAH!! And PLEASE… make sure you understand the Lords words… I do… Will it! Will it! He does not say… I will do it… The good Lord does not have to put into action… He only has two “will it”!!  Also, let us not forget… Mark is not an apostle; he is a follower of Peter and Paul… He’s all about the facts… Hence why he use the term,  “immediately” so often… Over 40 times in Scripture…and even in today’s Gospel… and the leper was cured, ‘immediately’!! Remember too, Mark is talking to Gentiles… Not Jewish people… They do not know Jewish tradition… So Mark is only interested in the facts… He’s interested in the miracles, exorcisms, things that are extraordinary… Mark knows his crowd! Secondly if you are a first century jew… you know that the only person that can cure leprosy… Is God!! They would remember the story about the Naaman the Syrian… He was a great leader of soldiers… So great in fact… That even though he had leprosy; the king would not get rid of him… Because he was so valuable as a leader of men!! So he suggested to Naaman… To go see Elisha… The prophet of God… Where Elijah informed him, Naaman… That he would be cured of leprosy by God ….through him… however; he must go to the river Jordan bath seven times… Namaan and does not want to go to the river Jordan… He does not understand the significance… He chooses other rivers but to no avail… When finally entering the Jordan River… Seven times… He is cured…!!! Elijah has cured, in HIS name!! So when they hear of Christ curing a leper… It makes them think that only God can cure leprosy… Hence why the leopard knelt!!… Also note…that the reason He touched the leper; was to let the leper know when the curing was initiated… from whom it had come!!! And As far as telling the cured leper not to speak to this issue…and warning him strongly… because, if he was to run around telling all… as he did… Christ could not walk around freely…. that he could not enter a town openly… Yet I can sure understand his reason for the excitement of wanted to explain to people that he’s cured…!!!
D. THROUGHOUT SCRIPTURE… for the most part, there are four ways to become clean… Water, Time, Action, and Blood…. Water; the crossing of the Red Sea, freed the Israelites …. Baptizing in the river Jordan, freed people from sin… Namaan was cured of leprosy…. Time;… 40 days it rained on Noah… yet he ushered in a new world…. 40 years in the desert… removed all those who worshiped the golden calf… Action; Bartimaius calling out to Christ…. That he was blind and wanted to be cured… the lady touching the tassel of Christ Prayer Tunic… they took Action…and were cured… Blood; the death of martyr’s ….all of these events, cleansed people… but they all took the participant, to take the … EXTRA STEP!!!
F. Well, some 2000 years later here we sit…. Are we willing to go the EXTRA MILE…  to do what it takes… Will we go the EXTRA MILE… to do things at work, that are NOT on our job description… NOT part of our pay… ?!?!?! My B & S… please please… DO NOT define yourself by the decimal point!!! You do these things…because you are a child of God… you are Catholic!!! And as part of His Church… Holy Mother Church… we do these things… because… this is WHAT WE DO!!! Will you go the EXTRA MILE… to stay on the phone with a friend…. When you know, you not going anywhere, anytime soon?!?!?.... will you go the EXTRA MILE… to take care of errands for someone else… help with the bills… help take the pressure off your neighbors back… a family member….??!?  Will you go the EXTRA MILE this lent…to offer sacrifice of something you desire…so that you give the Good Lord… a little… EXTRA?!?!?!  Will you give up some of your weekend.. to help others…. Offer some help, financial aid…?!?!?  My B & S in Christ… when you and I return home…on our judgement…what will be our excuse on Judgement day…when HE asked… so, what EXTRA DID YOU DO FOR ME??? What will we say… I only do… I only give the minimum?!?!?  What if HE said the same to us… I will only give you so much grace…or forgiveness’… I forgive you, but only the …. Minimum?!?!? The only way to offset what will be owed… is the EXTRA STEPS… we offered others… how else can we offset, the sins we committed…surely not with the minimum!!!! Object mediocrity cannot be our goal… can it?!?!?!?
G. I leave you with this… the words are truly spot on… if you THINK the words, “well, here goes nothing”…. “You may have taken the EXTRA STEP to EVERYTHING”!!!
Amen!!!

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