2017 Homilies (Written)

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Matthew 22:1-14 (As built Amite #278; 10/8/17)

A. “Helping Hands” (offering a helping Hand…)
B. … It’s the 1970’s… and his name is Jeffery… he was born in Concord, Calif… his mom worked in the Hospital doing a little bit of everything… his dad, well he was a short order cook… Jeffery was 1-4 children…. And if we were to ask Jeffery about his family life…he would tell us, it was a little tough… a little discombobulated… you see, his parents got divorced early and by the age of 10, Jeffery lived in 10 different houses… and by the time high school came around his dad had remarried and he now had step brothers and sisters… and high school, well Jeffery would tell us, it wasn’t the be all, end all… Jeffery would describe himself as painfully, PAINFULLY shy, introverted, a geek if you will…. He was a loner’s loner… he didn’t hang out with the jocks, he didn’t hang out with the Brainiac’s… he was on the school paper or student council… Jeffery was for the most, the lone wolf… and if it had been for one man, Mr. Farnsworth who gave Jeffery a HELPING HAND… Jeffery would tell you, it wouldn’t be pretty today…. Here one teacher, the drama teacher of all people, who reaches out a HELPING HAND…totally and completely, transforms Jeffery…. Jeffery remarks that it was that skit, the “Pacific”… that allows Jeffery to be the things, or people he could never dream of… the popular person, the student, the athlete… whomever, whatever…. And it wasn’t long, before he headed to college… Calif State Univ… well, he wasn’t there long… on a side note; Jeffery, according the media reports, one of the top 10 college dropouts of all time…. That he got accepted to the Great Lakes Acting Academy… and it wasn’t long before the world opened up… and he gets his first part in a sitcom called Bosom Buddies… and he was off and running… now, Jeffery will tell you that not everything he touched turned gold… he was in movies called Dragnet, Turner and Hooch, the Money Pit… yet, Jeffery’s acting is TOP DRAWER… when you can get an audience to feel sorry for a lost island castaway, just because he lost a soccer ball, called Wilson…. THAT’S IMPRESSIVE!!! He also had some of the greatest lines in movie history….Jeffery told us, ‘there is no crying in baseball’…. ‘the world is a box of chocolates’… and the list of Movie HITs are spectacular… Saving Private Ryan, the Green Mile, Apollo 13, Big & Road to Perdition (which could stand on its own….)….. yes….you know Jeffery, as Tom Jeffery Hanks… all because Mr. Farnsworth offers him … a HELPING HAND!!!
C. THE GOSPEL TODAY IS ABOUT ‘HELPING HANDS’… the wedding garment… is the ‘garment’ of good works, good deeds… CHARITY!!!... My B & S, the reason the King notices this person at the wedding… Is because He is God, Christ… HE sees the man’s soul… if the garment is tattered and torn… the guest would have never been allowed in if it had been noticed… and as such, its his soul that is NOT appropriately dressed… only God can see his soul…let me explain… the guest, knows how to find the temple, knows who Christ is…even probably proclaimed HIM the savior of the world… yet, he is all talk… no works of charity…
D. … lets make sure we know the setting… Christ is in the Temple… … HE, Christ…has just run everyone out the Temple for exchanging monies, poorly treated animals, etc… HE is talking with all the front line Pharisees and Sadducees… there are no 2 teamers in this group… Christ offers them riddle of sorts, to help them understand…by whose authority HE can run people out the Temple… He ask them, to explain the baptism of the Baptist… from God or man… knowing, that if the P & S say God, then Christ will say, the Baptist pointed Me as the Messiah… if they say, Man… the people will revolt… so they refuse to answer, and in return, so does Christ… yet, Christ gives them an example of another riddle or sorts… HE uses the Wedding scenario.. of Isiah… any Jewish Leader… knows Isiah backwards and fore wards…. And they KNOW that when Isiah speaks of a Wedding Feast, he is speaking of the Kingdom of God… and for Christ to use that analogy yet again, with HIM as the King… He did so, knowing that they could not back up on Isiah’s understanding… and subsequently their own….
E. Remember this as well… a parable always has a twist…something you and I seem to feel doesn’t fit … that today it just doesn’t ring true… think for a second… you have a wedding for your daughter, son, etc… you send out invitations…some people can come…some cannot…or don’t play too… would they kill the post man… moreover, would you send troops to kill them and destroy and burn their homes… of course not… but if you were the KING OF KINGS…and you have the Kingdom of God has returned and it is time to judge… you would throw people out… and not just into the dark…but into the realm of the dead!
F. Additionally, the guest who shows up…. Poorly… in a substandard wedding garment… gets pass the keepers of the door… because his physical clothing is not in question… it is how he has maintained his soul…or lack thereof… the GARMENT of SALVATION… is what is in question…. Remember St Paul’s words… out of Faith, Hope and Love (Charity/works)… the, THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE… IS LOVE, CHARITY, WORKS!!! ( 1 Cor 13:13)
G. Hence, My B & S in Christ… “many are invited, but few are chosen’…. The gates to Heaven are small… the Gates to Hell are Large… LISTEN TO ME… this is problem with the one time proclamation that I have accepted Jesus Christ as My Lord and Savior and as such… I am good to Go! The commandments are mere suggestions, sticky notes… guidelines… once I proclaim Christ as the Savior… I have enjoined the Redemptive Act of the Cross with the Salvific act of Opening the Gates of Heaven… as a CATHOLIC…if and when you are asked … are you saved… YOU’RE ANSWER, AND THE ONLY TRUE ANSWER… IS…
“I was, (Crucifixion)… I am (as I am speaking right this moment an should I be taken at this second… His Name was on my lips…) and I hope to be …. (for I have free will and can walk away at any moment… choose to disregard the commandments… and refuse to act lovingly towards my neighbor… )
H. THROUGHOUT SCRIPTURE… we can come to know people, by their HANDS… let me explain… if we took a picture of peoples hands in Scripture… would we be able to identify them… I bet we would …
· If I showed you a picture of a pair hands, well manicured… clean, etc…. alongside a bowl and towel… you would come to know that person as… Pilate
· If I showed you a picture of a pair of hands, holding 30 pieces of silver you would come to know that person as…Judas
· If I showed you a picture of a pair of hands knocking over the table ‘salt’… (hence Christ always asked, if HIS apostles were worth their salt…. Salt was a valuable commodity, often times blessed like in the times of Elijah…)…. Like in the picture of the Last Supper, when all the apostles are all standing or seated on one side… Leonardo D’s painting… notice the salt next being knocked over….?)
· If I showed you a picture of a pair of hands, holding a piece of cloth with the image of Christ on it… you would come to know that person as… Veronica… (her name means, True Image…)
· If I showed you a picture of two pairs of hands, holding an apple…you would come to know those people as…. Man & Woman (Adam and Eve)…
· If I showed you a picture of a pair of hands, working with tools, making carpentry items… tables, chairs, etc… and they did not have the wounds, you would come to know that person as….Joseph
· If I showed you a picture of a pair of hands, with wounds in them, you and he was a monk… would come to know that person as…. Padre Pio… follower of the True Wounds, The Messiah, Jesus Christ…
I. My B & S in Christ… here we sit… if someone was to take a picture of hands…on how we use them, most of the time… would they be in the form of prayer?!?!? Would the picture be of our hands…. folded in prayer… palms facing/touching one another… thumbs crossed…?!?!?! OR would it be a picture of our hands…. With a phone, and our fingers, texting?!?! Would it be a picture of our hands… with a remote control in it?!?!?! Would it be a picture of our hands…. With a beer in it, or wine glass….?!?!? Would it be a picture of our hands… with a joint… or a syringe in it?!?!? Would it be a picture of our hands… with a cigarette in them… ?!??! Would it be a picture of our hands over a computer mouse…?!?!? Would the picture show our hands…. In a fist --- for we are always angry!?!!? And WOW TO YOU, WHO LIFT A HAND AGAINST MY CHILDREN!!!!!!!! Would it be a picture of your hands… with one’s middle finger being displayed?!?!? Only lucifier could come up with something so disgusting…!!!! Would it be a picture of your hands…. With a finger pointing at others… always complaining or pointing out someone else’s faults!!!???.... if you ever watched Mother Theresa pray… her hands are together, her palms touching… her fingers pointed toward the Heavens… so as to direct her prayers, her request, to the Heavens… to Jesus Christ Himself… and her thumbs crossed, to remind her of the Crucifixion!!!
J. My friends in Christ, ask yourself… what picture would your HANDS HAVE TO BE IN…. for the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN… I leave you with this… “Our Greatest and Most Useful Asset, is not a head full of knowledge… but a heart full of LOVE, an ear ready to Listen… and HANDS ready to HELP!!!
K. Amen!!!

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