2017 Homilies (Written)

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Matthew 5: 38-48 (As Built; Amite #249; 2-19-17)

"Strong" (Internally Strong)

It’s the Mid 1900’s, 1940’s, Al lives in London England, actually the suberb of London… he is one of three kids, the middle child… Al’s mom and dad, own a grocery store… and the parents, are die hard CATHOLIC!!! Well, like anything in life… sometimes things happen that truly change the landscape of ones life…. And for Al, that proverbial day came when he was about 5…. he is about yeah tall…he has a round face…like a cherub… he is kind of…. Hmmm… robust… chunky if you will…he is very much the English child… impeccably dressed…with equally impeccable manners… his dad referred to him as a ‘spotless lamb’… so when his dad called him to run an errand… imagine, how excited he was to do something for his dad… I mean it’s his dad… when he gets up the stairs… his dad give him a note… and tells him to take this to the Chief of Police… man oh man…you could just see the excitement, the honor build up in him… he is running an errand for his dad…. And it is going to the Chief of Police… man was Al… BEAMING … he ran as fast as his legs could take him… and when he go to the Police station…he found the chief and gave him the note… explaining that he was to wait for an answer… and the Police Chief read the note… thought for a second… and said, Al…follow me…they go thru a set a doors…down a small hallway… to a double set of doors…and when they opened the doors… there was this long hallway… it looked ominous!!!! Al’s disposition changed… he followed the Chief down the hall…until they get to the last cell… the door was left opened… the Chief grabs the door, points in…Go in Al! The young man… is petrified…he walks in… the door slams shut… cold and hard… Al turns around…and the Chief says, this is what happens to boys who steal or break the law!!! The Chief leaves him for only 10 min… Al… is SHOCKED… SCARED… he can’t believe what has just happened… when the Chief comes back… to get him… Al is beside himself… ….YOU KNOW, AL NEVER RECOVERED FROM THAT DAY… and it didn’t help that being raised Catholic and going to Jesuit schools back in the day that still believed in corporal punishment… but the damage had been done… from that proverbial day… AL WAS NEVER THE SAME… he had phobeia’s & issues THAT PLAGUED HIM ALL HIS LIFE… he was claustrophobic …the fear of closed in areas… he had Vertigo, which is dealing with the fear of heights… he had phobeia’s that I have never heard of… Haropophobia which is the fear of being robbed… he a Agoraphobia which is the fear of being in public… he had Xenophobia which is the fear of being around strangers… Al said he believed that behind every corner he was afraid he was going to be mugged… he was ALWAYS…looking over his shoulder… he walked THROUGH HIS ENTIRE LIFE…with a knot in his stomach!!! His entire life, was spent as if his anxiety meter was pegged in the red… ALWAYS!!! Later in life Al got a job in the telegraph office… and in between telegraphs… he would write stories… well, someone read one, over his shoulder so to speak… and sent it to Hollywood… they loved it! They asked for Al to come and help with the script… he does… and if I recall correctly, they were putting the script and storyline together… when Al took over for the lead producer… yet, AL was not sure he was ready… then it hit him… If I am to ever make it …..I need to be, INTERNALLY STRONG… and so he finished out the movie… it went well… so much so, he was asked to produce other movies… that’s when he convinced people in Hollywood that movies might sell better if you made some about phobias!!! IT WAS A HUGE HIT…. Everybody loved them… even Al began to make his own movies… you know his movies… they always ended in a TWIST… it was never who you thought it was… they always had an ‘icy blond’ in the mix… Al was in most all his movies, always in the background… drinking coffee… walking past… like a stand in… Al became the master of the Involuntary Scream!!! He made the movies like Dial M for Murder, To catch a Thief, Shadow of a doubt, North by Northwest, Spellbound… the birds… Psycho !!! Yes Al…is none other than Alfred Hitchcock… and he was successful because he learned toINTERNALLY STRONG!!!

B & S, THE GOSPEL TODAY IS ABOUT… INTERNALLY STRONG!!! YOU CAN ONLY OVERCOME EVIL… WITH GOOD!!! YOU CANNOT OVERCOME EVIL WITH EVIL….!!! Are you STRONG … enough to overcome the EVIL of others… with GOODNESS!!!
Lets make sure we understand…in the Gospel you hear Christ speak of ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’… this goes back to the days of Moses… here he is taking some 300-350,000 people from Pharaoh to the promise land… doing so within some 48 hrs… and to handle this many people…you need to have RULES!!! This way you do not have… EXCESSIVE RETALIATION … at one time the rule was if someone blinded your slave, you may choose to blind the entire family of another… as payback… if someone broke the arm of a family matter, you may well break the arms of an entire family… and if someone killed your slave… well, you may wipe out an entire tribe… so Moses, in acted… the eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth! This way nothing EXCESSIVE takes place… he maintains somewhat of an order…and so you understand, if you had an ox, an d it gored the slave of a friend… took out his eye, broke his arm, or killed him… you as the receiver of such, may choose to do the same to the ox owner’s or be paid 30 pieces of silver!!! This is where the Pharisees got the 30 pieces of silver for Christ, in which they paid judas… the price of a broken slave!!! And what the Good Lord is now saying, is that equal retribution is NOT ACCEPTABLE… another words, you must try and be PERFECT like you heavenly father… you must fight evil with good… you must fight excessive retaliation with excessive generosity ….!!!! So when you hear the Good Lord speak about giving up a tunic, the translation is actually means ‘undergarments’….(keytime, greek pronunciation… ) … if they ask for your undergarments, give up them and your over clothes!!! You know the story about Simon of Cyrene…. You know, standing by the side of the road, watching as Christ goes by…and the soldiers grab him to carry the cross…well, back in those days… the Army could legally conscript you for a job, etc maybe a day… to do certain things… no questions asked… so when they do this, Christ said…if they ask for a mile, give them two!!!
**** not being a doormat, see Catechism 2263
So when the Good Lord speaks of being back handed… hit you on your right cheek…now remember, for me to do this… I need to back hand you! Not a physical slap, but a rebuke, a negative comment, a judgement… is you INTERNALLY STRONG ENOUGH TO HANDLE IT!!!???
THROUGHOUT SCRIPTURE… if there is one person…who truly knows how to be INTERNALLY STRONG… outside of the Holy Mother… it is ………. JOSEPH!!! …. This guy was ROCK SOLID… talk about truly doesn’t care what others think… TRULY!! Focused only on CHRIST… the world has no STRING ON HIM… !!! Think for a second… Mary comes home pregnant… he does not go ABCA… he does not ACCUSE Mary of anything, he does not BETRAY Her, he does no CONFRONT Her, he does not ATTACK Her….. HE FOCUSES ON WHAT IS THE ISSUE, PROTECTING HER…hence why he was willing to walk away and be seen as a dead beat dad!!!
when Christ is 2 years of age…and Herod is on war path to kill all children under the age of 2…and an angel tells Joseph, in a dream albeit… to take MARY AND THE CHILD… not your wife and kid… MARY AND THE CHILD… and go to Egypt… not down the street, to your in-laws… to the camp, the hotel… another country…you know no one, no house to lay your head, no clothes for your back, no food for your stomach…. Joseph DOES NOT ACE… he does not get ANGRY with Mary, he does not CURSE Her, he does not get all EMOTIONAL!!! He does what he is supposed to do, PROTECT THE TABERNACLE!!!
When Christ is 12 and they lose Him in the Temple… remember back in those days, the parents would separate on the return journey from feast in Jerusalem… as such, they each probably thought Christ was with the other…but when they join up… they realize that is NOT THE CASE… joseph DOES NOT… bst…JOSEPH does NOT … BLAME Mary, he does Not SCREAM or throw a TANTRUM!!!
JOSPEH IS FOCUSED ON THE JOB AT HAND… PROTECTING THE TABERNACLE… anything else, means NOTHING… HE IS INTERNALLY STRONG ENOUGH TO BLOCK OUT THE WORLD… and do what was asked of him, by HIM!!!
WELL HERE WE SIT SOME 2000 YEARS LATER… how INTERNALLY STRONG ARE YOU AND I… LETS SEE… WE WILL TAKE A LITTLE TEST… ABOUT 7 QUESTIONS… 4 out of 7 Is not passing, 5 out of 7 means little to nothing… the Good Lord is looking for perfect…7 of 7… but, being that we are people, we are human… 6/7 will have to do…
When we get into an argument… are we STRONG ENOUGH…

NOT TO YELL OR SCREAM… (lower your voice as you say the word…’yell’)
DOES YOUR VACABULARY SINK TO 4 LETTER SOR LESS…
When we are in an argument …. Are we STRONG ENOUGH… NOT TO MAKE IT PERSONAL!!
Are we STRONG ENOUGH not to have to have the LAST WORD…
Do ya have to win every argument…? I mean really… is someone keeping score… are you STRONG ENOUGH to let it go… My God!
Are we STRONG ENOUGH…not to take the discussions at home and bring them to work…to share with the masses…or worse… bring the happenings at work and DUMP THEM RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DINNER TABLE…TAKING IT OUT ON ANYONE AND EVERYONE!
Are we STRONG ENOUGH TO say we are Sorry…even if it is not our fault! Are we STRONG ENOUGH to forgive AND forget…oh, father you don’t understand, I forgive, but I ain’t forgetin! (Make a buzzer sound as you point to your hand…like hitting buzzer)…Do not go pass go…no $200 for you! You either STRONG ENOUGH or not…you either forgive and forget…or you do neither!!!

if you have forgotten everything, that I have been…yelling about… remember this…YOUR THOUGHTS LEAD TO YOUR WORDS, YOUR WORDS TO YOUR ACTIONS…AND ACTIONS MAKE FOR HABITS… AND THIS DEFINES YOU AS A PERSON… IT BEGINS AND ENDS …(PAUSE….and say… lowly but clearly….) internally!!!! So ask yourself this question…. At the end of the day, when push comes to shove… WHO CONTROLS YOUR THOUGHTS…(point to them…)… you …(point downward) or the evil one…WHO IS the STRONGER!
I LEAVE YOU WITH THE WORDS OF GANDHI… IF YOU FOLLOW THE MINDSET.. . AND EYE FOR AN EYE, THEN BOTH WILL BE LEFT BLIND!!!
AMEN!

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