2017 Homilies (Written)

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Mark 3:20-35; 6-10-2018 (As Built; Amite #308)

  1. Hardness of hearts…hardness of hearts…
  2. The year is about 1860…1865… He is without a doubt the greatest actor of his day… His name… Edwin… Bar none… Listen to me… Bar none… He’s the greatest actor of his day… even better than his brother… Man brothers and sisters in Christ… he had it all… He could to drama… he could do action… he could do murder… he could do anything… comedy… as a matter of fact brothers and sisters in Christ… He has it all… He had wine, women and song, power, prestige… He is so popular… Edwin is… That in the UK, in Britian…he did MacBeth for 100 consecutive nights… packed the house… He was equally popular in the UK as he was in the United States… this is 1860… This is unheard of… There wasn’t a place Edwin couldn’t go that people didn’t want to be seen next to him… Stand next to him shake his hand… Get an autograph… Maybe even a picture if they’re lucky… Man but you know what’s amazing… Edwin would have none of it… he just wanted to be left alone… He was quiet he loved to do the right thing the right way… Money, fame, fortune… Man it had nothing to do with him… He didn’t even care about those aspects… You know brothers and sisters in Christ… what’s amazing… Is one day… He’s standing on a platform to catch a train… It’s about 50‘ x 10‘ made out of wood… You’ve seen in those days in the westerns… Right… And the train comes in and it starts to slow down the coupling is a little it’s a little too big and the train starts to jerk… As it comes to a stop… As it starts to Buckle… And when it takes off… It does the exact same thing… It kind of …till it gets it synergy… It takes a little while… he standing on the platform… Everybody notices him… I mean how can you not… It’s Edwin… They’re looking at him kind of whispering about him… Want to go say hello… And on the platform is a rail of sorts… To protect you from the railroad… And as a result there is waiting on the train to begin to leave… it is jam packed… There’s a little boy playing on the rail… As soon as the first train starts to leave it rattles the platform… The young boy falls between the cars… The mother screams at the top of her voice… And not one person moves… everybody looks…some people point….Some people gasped… The mother she is frozen pointing to her son screaming help me… No one moves… Less Edwin… The one that’s got everything to lose… Power, prestige, fame… Fortune, wine, women and song… He literally runs through the crowd pushing and shoving… Gets to the rail… puts one leg on one side and literally has to crawl underneath to pull the child as the train is beginning to take off… Man brothers and sisters in Christ… The mother can’t even get can barely get the words thank you out of her mouth… The boy he’s just frozen stiff… And everybody is in awe… Edwin pats him down… cleans him up and smiles and walks off… You know that day was the hallmark of Edwin’s career… He’ll tell you later in life that that was absolutely everything it meant to him… Because that and how he was… He was all about doing the right thing the right way… He had a big heart… No way could this guy ever be accused of hardness of heart… You know the years go by… About seven to be exact… Things aren’t good for Edwin anymore… You see his brother is the consummate murderer… And as a result of it… Birds of a feather… But you know what… He didn’t care about it… He lost all his fame… lost his money… his fortune… Lost all the power… And brothers and sisters in Christ… You know it never bothered him… He died penniless and when they found him in his home… In the one suit that he still owned he had a letter on him… They said that everywhere he went he kept the letter with them… Went down the street kept it with him… Over here kept it with him… They read the letter aloud… It was from General Badeau… And for those who don’t know… He is the right arm of General Grant… He’s writing a letter… listen… thanking him… for saving the life of that young boy… Saving the life of the young boy… Whose father was killed by Edwin’s brother… Now brothers and sisters in Christ… you see…Edwin’s last name is Booth… And his brother was none other than John Wilkes … who shot President Lincoln… Brothers and sisters in Christ… that letter meant everything to him… And the height of irony… The young boy he saved… Robert Todd Lincoln… It was Mary Lincoln who screamed… All because he had a big heart… And not a hardness of heart… That is Edwin Booth…
  3. That… Is exactly what that gospel is about… Hardness of heart… This is the definition so that you understand…It’s a radical refusion… A radical refusal to convert… A radical refusal to convert… A radical refusal to forgive… Now make sure you understand what’s going on in this scriptural passage… Brothers and sisters in Christ… The good Lord is expelling demons… He is tying them up… and binding them and throwing them into hell… His family is so concerned they think He’s lost His mind… They’re going to seize Him… Brothers and sisters in Christ… Remember now go back in the time… Family could mean Inlaws… Outlaws… Kinfolk… Friends… Neighbors… Distant cousins… As a matter of fact… Brothers and sisters in Christ… They think He’s lost His mind… The Sanhedrin‘s... the scribes believe He is Bezelebel… Which is in their translation all the way back to Arimiac means Lord of the flies… Something is dead… flies will come around… My brothers and sisters in Christ… Remember this as well… They believe… That He is Lucifer… or a minion of Lucifer… And He’s trying to explain to them that’s not very rational… If Lucifer is come to take over the world then what good would it do to allow Me to remove them… I mean if it’s a house divided against itself… It will never stand… Go one step further… Make sure you understand that parable… He is not not saying that He’s the man in the house… He saying He’s the man that’s coming to the house… And that if a strong man lives their I’m going to bind him up… Like we do Satan in the prayer Saint Michael… And I’m going to throw him into hell… Because I’m coming to get My children… And I’m removing him from his house… Brothers and sisters in Christ… This is the measure of His resolve… So remember… Hardness of hearts is a radical refusal to convert… Pharaoh… Who had a hardness of hearts… We go through 10 plagues… I kill your oldest son… And as a result of it... you still will not convert… You refused to forgive… Moses… Moses allowed you to remarry because of your hardness of hearts… Pilate was allowed to wash his hands because it is hardness of heart… In other words if you choose brothers and sisters… To radically refuse to convert… If you radically refused to forgive… Then the sin would be unforgiving… You know the story… The good Lord talks about somebody that has settle up their debt… And he said before you come settle up with me you better settle up with your brother… And if you have an issue with him you better settle it… Don’t worry about the the wood in his eye worry about the plank that is in your eye… Radical refusal to convert which leads to radical refusal to forgive… Brothers and sisters in Christ…
  4. Go back in scripture think of all the great players that have come through the Church… Man… Simon… Who becomes Peter... here’s a guy that knows exactly what it means to convert… I’m a fisherman… I have my own crew… I’ve got my own family… I’m making my ends meet… I go from a fisher men to I become Kephas…the rock… a fisher of men… That’s radical conversion… Brothers and sisters in Christ… Saul to Paul… I mean Saul… You’re everything anybody wants to be… Your a lead Pharisee… Your taught by Gamaul himself… You’ve got money… You’ve got so much prestige that you could literally drag people from their homes and bring them back to Damascus in Jerusalem and as a result of it you can have them martyred… And you know what… That was the measure of his resolve… So for him to go from Saul to Paul… Which is for all intensive purposes… is a leader of the Gentiles… A leader of you and I… Where would we be without him… Brothers and sisters in Christ… That’s radical conversion… My brothers and sisters in Christ… What about Mary Magdalene… You know no one else in scripture is ever been accused or identified as having all seven demons… Pride, Anger, Gluttony, Lust, Avarice, Sloth and Envy… And yet because she gets up in the morning… And marches all through what she’s got to do to get to the tomb… Through soldier’s who’ve taken advantage of her… To a boulder she can’t move… To a seal that’s put in by Pilate… She’s the first to see the Risen Christ… That is a radical conversion… But for every one of those… There’s somebody who simply does not get it… Judas… A failure to convert… A failure to forgive… Yourself… The good Lord has asked him over and over again… You held His money… You proclaimed Him to be the Savior of the world… You even said He was the Messiah… Three times the good Lord warned Him… You’re the son of perdition… Satan has entered you… And the last words He says about Judas… It had been better …been better if you had never been born… A radical refusal to convert… to forgive…
  5. Well now here you and I sit 2000 years later… Brothers and sisters in Christ… How hard is it for you to forgive… Is there not one person in your life… A person… A job… A relationship… A happenstance… An incident… Where you simply say I am not going to forgive them… I will take it to my deathbed Father… I will stand before Him…I am not forgive him… and great… And that’s the beginning of the end of your judgment… Is that what you’re willing to risk… You’re willing to put the rest of your life on hold… And not to mention to jeopardize the life to come… Because you will not forgive… Brothers and sisters in Christ that one incident… That one person… That’s haunted you your whole life… The job… The doctors visit… The operation… The incident with the family… The incident with a friend… Whatever may have come… At what point will you not cut it loose… And let it go… Because it’s destroying you … it’s taking your energy… It’s taking your focus… at best you’re moody… and at worse… You’re on the road to perdition… When will you cut loose… And say enough is enough… Brothers and sisters in Christ… you could be on a beach… And the most beautiful sunset in the world… It could be a light breeze and the sun is about to set… And you’re under canopy you got a can of holy water in your hand… Work with me… Were in church… And somebody mentions one name… One thought comes back into your head… Because the evil one placed it and … the whole day now has gone to heck… You’ve become moody and temperamental… it’s ruin in the whole setting… And here’s the height of irony… That person that you’re so upset about… That you’re carrying that torch for… They don’t care… They probably don’t even know… They don’t even care to know… And yet you’re caring it like somehow or another it’s a badge of honor… At some point brothers and sisters in Christ… will you get tired of walking through life backwards… Hitting everything in your path… Because you must focus on that incident… You ask yourself why is the windshield so big and the rearview mirror so small… Stop looking at it… He want you to live in the past… He wants you to stay in yesterday… The day regrets… Why… Because if you stay in yesterday he’s got you… And he’s got everybody tied to you… And that’s what he’s after… Your refusal to convert… And your refusal to forgive… he wants that hardness of heart… My brothers and sisters in Christ… I’m begging you… Whatever it may be… cut it loose and let it go… Work at it because at some point… At some point you’ll feel sorry… You’ll feel sorry for them… Because you know the day will come for their judgment… And you surely won’t want nothing to do with that… They have chosen that bed to lie in… You’ll feel sorry for them… And they’ll be no more attachments to you…
  6. And I’ll leave you with this… Just because someone through garbage at your feet… Nobody told you to pick it up…
  7. Amen…In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit…

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