Homily Internally Strong - February 19, 2023

Matthew 5:38-48       2-19-23    (As built, Amite #533)

  1. Internally strong… scripture calls it meek… you and I think it means weak… it means just the opposite… it means internally strong…  
  2. I’ve got to tell you… you know what I like about Joseph… Joseph’s ability to persevere… to take a hit and keep walking… is second to none… okay granted he’s from London England it’s probably the forties or fifties… now he’s a London England boy and they live in the Suburbs… family is very Catholic… there’s three children… he is the middle child… and in those days I mean you dressed the part… so man he’s got the little knickers on with the high socks… the shoes… got the little tie… work with me that’s what he’s wearing… and so his dad asked him to do a favor and I got to tell you… his relationship with his dad is everything so when he says will you run an errand for me… he can’t get there fast enough… I mean if his feet touch the ground that’s a miracle in of itself… so his dad gives him a note and says look I need you to go to the superintendent… the chief inspector… chief of police if you will… I need you to give it to him and wait for his response… so he goes… man he is so thrilled he’s going from his father to the superintended the chief inspector… and he’s giving him a note waiting for a response… I mean he could have given it to any of his children… well man he gives it to him and the chief reads it… takes it and says okay… he says follow me… and Josephs nickname just for the sake of argument is spotless lamb… that is where he is in the world… his dad is afraid that if he makes one mistake he will run off the reservation… so they go and he follows the chief of police… he opens a door that’s massive like a dungeon door… he looks and man I got to tell you Joseph looks down that hall and there’s nothing but cells all the way down… he says follow me and he walks him all the way to the end and he gets to the last cell… he walks him in and says get in… he get’s in and he closes the door behind him doesn’t say a word… locks it and walks out… shuts the dungeon door… he said man Joseph just stood there… his whole world is crumbling… he’s there for ten minutes… y’all that’s a lifetime… as a result that big dungeon door opens he hasn’t moved a spot he’s still two feet inside the door… he is just standing there shaking… quivering… he comes in and he opens the door and he says this is what happens when you break the law… remember that… man he bolts out of there… he gets home and his dad says you needed to understand this… because someday you’ve got to be internally strong enough to take hits… well I got to tell you… you know how one thing in life sometimes it changes the landscape… and sure enough it did… he had every phobia known to man… right so you can imagine claustrophobic right fear of closed in places… had vertigo… he had a thing called anthropophobia which is the fear of many people… he had xenophobia which is like being around strangers… he had the fear of being robbed… he had the fear of being around people that he’s just scared to death of like agoraphobia… y’all he would literally run from street post to street post… from light to light… and he would always look behind him… even up in his age… he gets a job working at a telegraph office in a newspaper… and then all of a sudden he starts writing these stories… Hollywood catches it… sends to him and says man we want you to come do your stories… so he flies all the way out there thinking man this is my fifteen minutes of fame and then he said man do you like my stories and they said no we like your phobias… he said well what are you saying… he said well well we like your phobias so we want you to write stories about your phobias… so he does… and he starts writing them and you know what the movies become popular… man it was Dial in for Murder… Spellbound… North by Northwest… Psycho… The Birds… man my brothers and sisters in Christ Alfred Hitchcock… trust me it’s Alfred Hitchcock my brothers and sisters in Christ… he says one thing later in life… I don’t know if you ever watched his movies but there’s always some scene he does… he’s in every movie… one scene he’ll be sitting in a wheelchair in the back and all of a sudden you see this guy get up and walk that’s him… you’ll see him do things that are out of the ordinary… and when they talked to him he says you I know what won it for me… is when I realized that I realized I got to be true to me… with all of my phobias this is who I am… right wrong or different… internally strong…  
  3. That my brothers and sisters in Christ is exactly that Gospel… the good Lord is asking you and I are you internally strong enough that when everybody says something and it’s evil that you will continue to do good… even when you’re confronted with evil… my brothers in Christ he’s saying you will never overcome evil with evil… you will only overcome it with good… therefore you need to be internally strong… with that being said… now you need to stop  and understand… you are a first century Jew an eye for an eye comes from around the book of Leviticus and Exodus… isn’t heir day this is how it worked out… somebody blinded your slave… you would go blind their whole family… somebody broke your slaves are you break every bodies arm… somebody does something to your family you take out an entire family… Moses implements the rule an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth because it was too excessive on people acting like they wanted… I.E rules… now my brothers and sisters in Christ an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth… the rule is this… if your bull gets out… and he gores somebody in another family… they have the choice maybe you knocked out an eye maybe you broke an arm… you could either do that to them… or their slave… or you can get thirty pieces of silver… sound familiar… it should… see Christ they offered thirty pieces of silver for a broken slave… that’s why Judas only pays thirty pieces of silver… because Christ is “broken”… my brothers and sisters in Christ that’s the rule back in their day… and all Moses is trying to do is saying he can’t be excessive it’s got to be the rule… you got to be internally strong enough to handle it… now stop and listen… if there is one person in scripture who’s far more internally strong then most everybody else it’s Jospeh… twenty-nine years he walks with out savior… the apostles only spent three years with him… so for him to come in the game for twenty-nine years… he dies when Christ is twenty-nine… for him to come in the game at the age of thirty-three… and depart in his early sixties… remember this about Joseph… when he is betrothed to Mary… I’ll tell you what put yourselves in Joseph’s shoes… your wife comes home and she’s pregnant… and your answer is she’s too Holy… I know it can’t be of another man I’m going to leave and be seen as a deadbeat dad so that she will not be scourged or stoned to death as per Deuteronomy… how many of us would have played that card… think about it… she comes home pregnant he doesn’t even have a conversation he’s packing his toys and he’s leaving because he knows it’s got to be about him and not her and he knows it’s got to have something to do with above because she’s way too Holy… I will be seen as a deadbeat dad… that is internally strong… you know what’s amazing… his whole life is that way… my brothers in Christ he’s so internally strong that when he would build a table for you and I he would build it… go to you and I who asked for the table… and then ask you how much do you want to pay for it… some would try to cheat him… some would pay him for what it’s worth… some would say I’m not paying you at all… do you know he would never argue with it… internally strong… I’m going to do what I have to do because it’s the right thing… good over evil… what it must have been like when he finds out from an angel that Herod is coming to take Mary his wife… flee to Egypt… how many of you and I would pack up our toys… flee to another country and not complain one time… man what are you talking about what do you mean we’re leaving… I’ve got work here… I’ve got a house here… not one word… get’s Mary and the child and flees to Egypt… my brothers and sisters in Christ when they lose Christ in the temple for three days… let’s be honest you and I lose our car keys we’re saying a hostage within minutes… you can’t find your cellphone… you’re going to have somebody call your phone to make sure you and can find your phone…my brothers and sisters in Christ they lost the Messiah for three days… he never says one thing to Mary like really… you lost the Messiah… my brothers and sisters in Christ not one comment… he didn’t even make a comment when they found him in the temple… that is internally strong…
  4. Now here you and I sit two thousand years later…how internally strong are you and I… my brothers and sisters in Christ when they talk about hitting you one the right cheek that means I have to backhand you… in other words it’s a verbal assault… so therefor he’s saying when they backhand you then you’ve got to give them the other cheek… he’s not saying be a doormat make sure you understand that… he’s saying do the right thing the right way… if it’s the right thing the wrong way it’s a sin… if it’s the wrong thing the right way the end doesn’t justify the means it’s still a sin…right thing right way… you can be upset but you cannot lose control… he said when somebody badmouths you give them the other cheek… you know what’s amazing did you listen closely… he said when somebody asks you for your tunic give them the second one… that’s not what he said… his actual translation is when they ask for your undergarments yeah good luck with all that… then give them everything… don’t even argue over that issue… my brothers and sisters in Christ how good are you and I at turning the other cheek… how good are you and I at making sure that good overcomes evil…how good are you and I at keeping score… I’ll tell you what… let’s take a test… I know you like taking test so do I… you know why I like them… because we never do well with them so let’s do it… there are going to be seven questions… this is Louisiana so if you spell your name right you pass… I digress… you have to get five of the seven right… the answer is always yes… you can’t be sometimes yes sometimes no… could be sometimes however… here we go… when you get into an argument are you internally strong enough not to raise your voice when things start to go south… yes or no… when you’re in an argument are you internally strong enough not to shrink your words into four letter words… moreover GD or MF… my brothers and sisters in Christ when you get into an argument are you internally strong enough not to make it personal… swing and a miss okay… my brothers and sisters in Christ do you have to have the last word because you are keeping score… and you just got to have the last word… are you internally strong enough just to walk away… my brothers and sisters in Christ do you have to win every argument or are you internally strong enough to walk away before the sin gets too deep… my brothers and sisters in Christ are you internally strong enough that if something happens at work you don’t come spew the venom at home… or worse something happened at home and you go back and spew it at work so now everybody knows what goes on at your house… because nobody ever goes back and says we made up… nobody ever goes back and says we made restitution… nobody ever went back and said man I was wrong… my brothers and sisters in Christ last but not least are you internally strong enough to say you’re sorry… if you weren’t wrong to begin with… my brothers and sisters in Christ don’t you understand this is the whole game… St. Paul is warning you and I… you will stand before him and he will judge you… everything you did with your body both good and evil… my brothers and sisters in Christ every word out of your mouth… every text message… every email every correspondence every communication… ask yourself one question… just one… am I walking towards him or away from him… in everything you do you are never neutral… the response you made because they made you mad… my brothers and sisters in Christ just because somebody threw garbage at your feet nobody told you to pick it up… they commit a mortal sin you feel like you need to add it to your list… my brothers and sisters in Christ don’t  you get it… when you get into an argument or somebody makes you sideways or somebody steals something that belongs to you or your idea or concept… nobody gives you the credit when your deserved it… how you respond is just the point… are you internally strong enough to understand that it all boils down it’s between you and him ad nobody else… did Mother Teresa not tell you and I that people are unreasonable illogical and self centered… forgive them anyway… did she not tell you when you are honest people will cheat you… be honest anyway… did she not tell you that if you are happy people will literally be jealous… be happy anyway… did she not tell you that if you happen to be successful you will win false friends and true enemies… succeed anyway… did she not tell you my brothers and sisters in Christ that you have to give the best you have and you’ve got to give until it hurts… because it was never between you and them it’s between you and him anyway… the bottom line is are you internally strong enough to walk away… my brothers and sisters in Christ do you not understand he’s trying to tell you that people are going to come your way… you’re not going to overcome evil with evil it’s only going to be done with good… 
  5. My brothers and sisters in Christ I’m begging you… remember you are never neutral… you’ve got to be internally strong enough to know that the best response sometimes… is none… it speaks volumes… internally strong…  
  6. Amen. 

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