Homily Successful or Significant - March 19, 2023

 John 9: 1- 41          3-19-2023       (As built, Amite #537) 

  1. Successful… or significant… successful in the world… or significant for the world that is to come… well let’s see…
  2. The year is about nineteen forty and Phillip is a UK boy… United Kingdom… he is the only child and he will tell you that his family owned a bakery… it was a break even at best… I mean they did okay they make ends meet but you’re only going so far so fast… but if you were to ask Phillip man tell me what your life was life… we would have said man grammar school… high school… tumultuous… he said man it was a ship wreck… and the reporter that’s talking to him said well how can that be… he said man you don’t understand I’m the quintessential introvert… he said wait a minute Phillip… you’re an introvert… he said oh to a fault… I can’t stand around crowds… I can’t be around people… my anxiety goes off the charts he said I get nervous I break out in sweats… he said man I take medicine… he said as popular as you are in the world… people would have no idea… he said that’s how it is today it was even worse in grammar school and high school… he said I didn’t do anything… when it was time to graduate he said man all I knew to do was to be a banker and then by chance I meet Richard Burton… and he says then the whole world changed… I told my parents  I want to be an actor… and I remember somewhat like what they were telling me… he said paraphrasing he said you know you can be successful  or not in the world… but will you be significant in the world to come… he said so I started getting bit parts in plays thinking man I just don’t want to be a banker… so he said my first movie was death comes to me… huge hit I can see that… it’s kind of like where this homily is going death comes to me… and so as a result of it he goes from death comes to me… he goes to give me a cigarette… just as popular as the first one… and then he get’s his big break… a bridge too far… he said man then the world opens up… he said next thing you know I’m in Zorro… he says I get another break in the action I do Legends of the Fall… I get Meet Joe Black… you know I didn’t memorize a hundred of these things you know that right…okay … and then subsequently man he plays Pope Benedict in the two popes… he plays Pope Benedict in the two popes… he’s Hannibal Lecter… wow Lord… Hannibal Lecter… Silence of the Lambs that’s right… you know Phillip Anthony Hopkins… you know what’s amazing… is they interviewed him right and talking to him in the same interview… and they were talking to him about well what do you do for vacation if you… he said what do you do… he said I get in my car and I drive from one coast to the other… I stop every so often in a town and I like meeting people but only briefly… so I can get in my car and I can leave… he said but when they come to recognize me I gotta leave because I can’t take it… he said but they usually don’t recognize me as much but today it’s gotten harder… and he said so would you sit down and have lunch with me… and he said well I would but you know it’s just me and you… he said well if you would have lunch with me he said would you have lunch with Hannibal Lecter… and he said no because it depends on what he’s eating… right true story… my brothers and sisters in Christ you know what turns Anthony Hopkins to make him who he is… A.A he said man I was an atheist and a drunk… I go to my first A.A meeting and the if you ever realize that half of the steps in the A.A meeting have to do with God… he said that’s when the world became significant… that I may be successful in the world but I need to start doing things in the world that are significant for the world to come…
  3. That is exactly what that gospel is… the good Lord is talking and telling the Pharisees yeah you’re successful in the world but what I’m about to do is significant… because it’s going to change this man and hopefully the people that listen to him so that they will be prepared for the world to come… now stop you’re first century Jews you need to know these things… my brothers and sisters in Christ remember this… as a blind person… he’s been blind for almost thirty years of his life that we know of… when the good Lord spits into the ground and you’re a Jew… you know that in the book of Genesis written by Moses… Charlton Heston… you know that at the end of the day when he created man from the ground… Adam meaning man… he spit into the ground to form him… so when he does that act… he’s trying to get them to make the correlation… that this is how it was in the beginning… and I’m doing it yet again… and then he puts the mud on him and tells him to go to the pool of Salam… the pool of Salam is not down the street… it’s a couple blocks away… so imagine a blind man walking to Salam… and people who can see following him… a Blind man’s walking leading people who can see… that’s the point… my brothers and sisters in Christ listen to what happens to this man that’s blind… the first time he sees him he’s a prophet… the next time he sees him he’s a Holy man of God… the next time he speaks to Christ he calls him Lord… in other words he’s now become significant… in other words he gets it… it’s not about the world it’s about what I do in the world for the world to come… which world are you playing for… this one or the one to come… ask yourself… is it successful for this world or will it be significant in the world to come… listen… all of our great players carry the same cross… imagine you’re Saul… you’re successful in the world… but the problem is the world’s got an end date… you came in on this day you’re going home on this day… you came in on this day… and you’re going home on this day it’s non-negotiable it’s already been determined… so he’s asking like Saul… yeah you did successful things here but it’s not significant until you become Paul… now you’re playing for the world to come… it would be the same way… I’ll tell you what it would be the same way with Lazarus… Lazarus is the wealthiest man of his day… Bar none… every king… every ruler… Pharisee… Sadducee… everybody wants to be friends with Lazarus… he’s got more money than he knows what to do with… he’s got land he’s got vegetables… he’s got grapes… he’s got manufacturing… he’s got distribution… he’s got sales… so as a result of it everybody wants to be his friend… but as successful as he is it’s not until he dies twice… that he becomes significant… because the fact that the good Lord raised him on the fourth day… go back and read scripture… the good Lord waits until the fourth day to raise him… because the Jews believe that you can resuscitate somebody up until the third day… so the good Lord is making sure that everybody there knows… there’s no hide and seek… my brothers in Christ listen to what I’m telling you… when Lazarus rises from the dead… he now becomes significant and did you know according to tradition and the Saints… he leaves everything… him, Martha and Mary… he goes to be a Bishop in another country to proclaim the good news of the Gospel… successful or significant… 
  4. Well here you and I sit two thousand years later is what you and I doing today successful or significant… my brothers in Christ listen to me… in everything you do no matter how trivial it may be… it all boils down to is it this world you’re playing for or the world to come… you get an email… a text message… a phone call… you go to a meeting… how you acted… the worlds you chose… your discretion or lack thereof… is it successful for you in the world… did it make you more money… were you able to buy the extra things you need… more clothes… more shoes… I need a bigger camp I need a bigger boat… I need a better computer… or is it money that you got playing for the world to come… my brothers and sisters in Christ that’s where the good Lord is going… they will know it from the life that comes from you… in everything you  do you got to ask yourself… remember this… you are never neutral to  Christ… you’re either walking towards him or you’re walking away from him you are never neutral from a email, text message, how you go to work, how you drive your car, how you do things, how you don’t do things or when you stand in line at Walmart… my brothers and sisters in Christ the words that come from your mouth, the thoughts that enter your head… is what you’re doing successful or significant… will it bring you close to the kingdom of heaven… my brothers and sisters in Christ listen to this… true story… I go to do a Seder meal with a Rabbi… so people can come to understand the nuances between a Passover meal and and our meal if you will the Eucharist… and as a result of doing the meal a man comes up to me and says you know I’ve got to tell you I’ve never heard that before… I never studied Christ as a Jew… he said I went to Catholic schools my whole life… he said I’ve never heard this… he said do you know anything about annulments… regretfully I do… and so man we started talking… well now I’ve got to tell you he takes his company public… no small task… he at one time was one of the top ten businessmen in the United States… successful my brothers and sisters in Christ… man if money is the measure of success.. I got to tell you ten times over… and as a result of it we get annulled… he says you know Father… I would like to do something different something significant… he said how can I help you… I said I’ll tell you what… he said I know you’re a  Marian… he said so let’s do something to Mary… he said and I’ll tell you what if you promise to pour the slab and put a roof on it I’ll build anything in between… our adoration chapel my brothers and sisters in Christ when you walk into our adoration chapel truly we’ve been blessed by God… but more importantly there’s flowers in that back corner that are designated for him… and I ask our parishioners every time you enter the chapel to say a prayer for him… so now I ask you of all the things Bill and Wendy Borne did… of all the things they did how more significant was that… so now every time you enter the chapel… he passed away one year from the day I meet him… storm comes knocks him off his four wheeler and he passes… can I tell you… tell me that adoration chapel doesn’t pay dividends now… for every soul that enters… for every knee that enters …for every prayer that’s prayed… for every hour that’s spent… for every minute we go… for every time we enter  we pray one prayer for him… tell me it doesn’t help mitigate what he owes… that is significant… nothing else can help now… so I ask you my brothers and sisters in Christ are you playing for this world or the world to come… is what you’re doing with your car and your money and things is it for this world or the world to come… is what you’re doing successful or is what you’re doing now significant… in everything you do… not just money but in every aspect of your life… because if you’re  not doing it in every aspect of your life you’re surely not going to do it with your finances… so it doesn’t change that at the end of the day on the day you and I die… the nanosecond you and I die… the nanosecond… while everybody is around the bed… and as sorrowful and as painful as it is… you may be praying for the soul of the deceased but I guarantee you there is one person around that bed he’s thinking about them golf clubs… that’s right… they other one’s thinking about that car… the other one is thinking about wondering what they’re going to do with that money… somebody’s thinking about the house… meanwhile you and I have already been judged… it’s immediate… so my brothers and sisters in Christ I ask you… now what’s more successful or significant… 
  5. My brothers and sisters in Christ I leave you with this… think about it before you act… before you speak… before you react… thoughts lead to words… words lead to actions… actions form habits… think before you speak… is it walking towards him or away from him… will it make you successful or will it make you significant… 
  6. Amen… 

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