2017 Homilies (Written)

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John 9:1-41; 3-22-2020 (As Built; Amite #391)

A.  Extra mile… extra mile…

B.   It’s the 1970s… His name is Allen and Allen is raised on the Virgin Islands... He has a sister… His mom is a musician… She is a dancer... His dad is a musician of sorts... Allen would tell you that he is a musician at his own bar and grill, kind of a greasy spoon… But at the end of the day they do okay… But if you were to ask Allen about his life he would tell you that it is tumultuous… Its ups and its downs… its lefts and its rights… It rarely ever it just kind of plateaus... And as a result of it, man, by the age of two Allen’s life is already upside down... His parents have divorced... He has to move to the Virgin Islands... He lives with his grandparents and then by the age of… I guess 10 or 12 Allen’s world takes yet another turn… all be it for the worse... He moves to Miami to go to school, stay with his dad... His grandfather passes... Allen is close to him... And if that is not bad enough, his dad is killed in a robbery- a home robbery… Man, Allen's world- upside down... And all of a sudden he is in high school if there wasn't enough peer pressure already… As a result, he has decided you know if I go into drama, and the drama club, and what have you in the theatre I can hide… I can be a great player... I can be a great spokesperson... I can be an orator... I can be a musician… I can hide my wounds because I'm playing the part… He does so good at it that Julliard actually gives him a scholarship... Now, he will tell you- Allen will tell you that it was the greatest semester of his life… what he remembers. He didn't know he had to go to class… He is expelled by the first semester… He is back on his heels, and he has decided that man, I’ve just- I’ve got to do something if I just go that extra step... I go that extra mile... He said his dad used to tell him that- his mom too… He just never saw it need to play out. So as a result of such, he goes to Broadway… does a couple big plays and he does pretty good… And as a result of it he gets a big part in a show called KENNEDY... Then he gets a big part in a show called BACK TO YOU... And then he gets another show- I think it was called THE HULK... And as a result of it people started to recognize him… He started to get more popular… got a little more money in his purse... As a result man… he has decided that… man… this is okay... And then man… tragedy hits Allen yet again… man… his mom passes and if it is not bad enough… not long after his sister is murdered… His dad remarries and his half-brother and half-sister they get killed in a boating accident... A scuba accident... Man he is upside down... He doesn't know whether he should go acting... Its drugs… its alcohol… its wine… women… and song... And then he remembers what his mom and dad told him... It's that extra mile... Just go the extra step… And as a result he talks with someone who says “you know maybe if you went to prison and listened to that guys apology over you about your mom and taking her life… it would give you a chance to start anew... My brothers and sisters in Christ… it turns his life around... He becomes probably one of the better actors of our day… Man Allen leaves from that and the next thing you know his world is different... He has been dry and sober now for quite some time... As a result of it… man he is in movies like X-MEN... He is in the EXPENDABLES... He actually did a comedy… it was absolutely excellent my brothers and sisters… called DOWN PERISCOPE… If you ever see it… man I gotta tell you it is very cute... And then all of a sudden… man he is in TOY STORY… he does the voiceover for Stinky Pete… He is in THE SIMPSONS he played I think he plays one of the voice overs for Bob... But then all of a sudden he gets his big break... He gets to be part of a show about a bar in Boston... He gets a few cameo appearances of course… You know… the big star is Norm... But man when he gets there… he starts doing his thing… pretty soon he is more of a regular… He sits at the end of the bar opposite from Norm. He is a psychiatrist-psychologist if you will... And then he gets his own show... He has a brother named Niles... He lives with his dad... You know him as Frasier... All because he took that extra step... Yeah, you know him as Kelsey Grammar... My brothers and sisters in Christ… it is all about the extra step...

C.  That is exactly what that gospel is about… The blind man is standing before our good Lord and is told “go the extra mile. Take that extra step and go to that pool of Siloam and wash.”… He walks the extra mile and he is cured... He can now see... Now stop, you are a first century Jew... You know scripture like the back of your hand... Brothers and sisters in Christ, you know automatically when you see the good Lord spit as if you and I were standing there... You see him spit into the ground... You would think back to Genesis... God created man from the ground... Ground… Adam… Adama meaning ground… The good Lord spit into the ground and formed man so now that He is spitting in the ground and you see Him taking it and making clay and putting it on his eyes... Remember what the good Lord said at the well with the lady… Did you remember that He said I’m the living water… Anyone who drinks of Me will have eternal life… The same god that spit into the ground that formed Adam is saying that… to spit on the ground to cure the man that is blind... My brothers and sisters in Christ… do you know what is amazing about the pool of Siloam… isn’t down the street it’s at the southern part of Jerusalem... It was started by king Hezekiah… It’s kind of like a storage bin of water but it’s quite large… but to get to it is no small task... Can you imagine a blind man walking down the street leading people who can see… if you will… so that they can now see spiritually... That must have been something to behold... My brothers and sisters in Christ… when they get to the pool of Siloam and he washes and he sees because he was sent… remember what the good Lord said… I sent My Son into the world... In other words… my brothers and sisters in Christ… man for a Jew this is all starting to come back into play... My brothers and sisters in Christ… remember too that this is where the sacrament of Baptism begins… Think about it for a second... Go and wash... Remember now the Jews told him “you were born in sin”… original sin... My brothers and sisters in Christ… remember original sin is oftentimes explained as a stain on our soul... That is not a bad way of putting it… but it also could be an absence... In other words… that the soul is not totally complete... And by you all and I getting baptized… then all of a sudden that sin is removed… in other words the soul is made complete... You no longer are blind… you now can see… you are made clean... A foretelling of the sacrament to come... Not an acceptance of Jesus Christ as often is promoted... As a fact of the matter…. that is confirmation.. You confirm what your parents said… that I do believe in Holy Mother Church… and I do believe that the Blessed Mother is ever virgin... Oh yes my brothers and sisters in Christ… the removal of original sin... Now you and I live in the day… We watch this take place... We also now live today… 2000 years later we have been given the benefit of living in both worlds... Secularly it’s interesting to note did you know that the song Amazing Grace… I was blind and now I will see… where it came from... My brothers and sisters in Christ… you know they criticized the man because this was done on the Sabbath... More importantly… they criticized Christ, but here is the irony… My brothers and sisters in Christ as a blind man on Sunday… or Saturday if you will… remember how hard everything is for him... If he wants to drink water... he has got to go find it and search for it... What if it's out at the cistern in the well... How does he get there… How does he get the bucket lowered… How does he make sure it's poured... What if he wants something to eat… What if he wants to go for a visit… What if he just wants to go for a pleasant walk… How does he know where to go… What to be careful of… But now with the fact that he can see… he has been given rest on the sabbath, getting a glass of water is so much easier… going for a walk... Man I just can't wait to do that... My brothers and sisters in Christ… he is… to enjoy the sabbath my brothers and sisters in Christ... And there is one more thing that we need to realize... In one hour… more or less… in one hour… small steps… the extra mile that the man walked from the moment the good Lord laid His hands on him all the way to the pool of Siloam… and all the way back to give thanks… he goes from identifying Christ as a man… to a prophet… from God… to the great I am... Oh how that extra mile was for all eternity...

D.  Now stop my brothers and sisters in Christ and think… go back in scripture all of our best players… all of them… man our those that go the extra mile... Just look… just look at the crucifixion itself just the crucifixion... There are four or five people involved but their names are now in the book of life… There is Simon of Cyrene… there is Veronica… Mary of Magdala… there is Longinus… Joseph of Arimathea… every one of them did something extra… they went that extra mile... Think about it… you are Simon of Cyrene... You are there for the Passover… one of 3 times that you have to go to Jerusalem... You went all the way to Jerusalem with your two children… Alexander and Rufus… and as a result of it… you want to get your lamb… bring it to the altar… allow it to be skewered in the form of a crucifix, and then you celebrate the Passover… but here is the problem… You come into town, you are caught up in it and the next thing you know… you are conscripted… welcome to the army... It could have been up to a day or several days for the Jews because that was the deal… you could be conscripted that quickly... As a result… man he has been brought into the fray... Put yourself in his shoes... Once the blood of Christ gets on him… he is done… You are going to be quarantined for at least seven days, maybe up to 14… You will never celebrate the Passover… What about your two boys… Are they going to crucify me too when I get to the top… Remember… crucifixion was a common occurrence... My brothers and sisters in Christ… the Passion… the movie Passion… painted him the right way in that at the end of the day he realized that the journey that he just took… that extra mile… which was about exactly what it was… to bring Christ to Golgotha... His name is now in the book of life… He may not have the blood of an animal… a lamb... He has the blood of THE Lamb... My brothers and sisters in Christ… you are Veronica... You take the time to walk out and make sure that you stand in the way of the crucifixion... As a woman you have absolutely no rights... And as a result… you are now even stopping the crucifixion… and because you bring your veil and you go that extra mile… that to this day we have the veil in Rome... My brothers and sisters in Christ… we actually have a part of that in our reliquary... You can see it at Rome… usually on Easter Sunday...  She goes that extra mile... What about Longinus… I mean here you are, a Centurion... You probably got your orders earlier that week and again that morning there will be three criminals… You will make sure that they go through town... You will have a town crier in front making sure you have at least one hundred soldiers around Him and you make sure that the procession handles and remember that by three o’ clock on the Sabbath they have got to come down... I like to wonder what was going through Longinus’s thoughts at the very start... Okay it is three criminals… three murderers... Let us begin... Let’s get through this and do what we gotta do... Somewhere along the way you realize as well you know that two are murderers because I’ve spent most of my life chasing them… Gustas and Dismas… but I am not sure about this third guy... Well then in several hours you have gone from thinking that He is one of the murderers to I am not sure… to you make the words “truly that Man was the Son of God.”… that extra mile... Do you know that according to tradition… small t… he actually brings the spear tip to the Blessed Mother... We have it to this day... He becomes Saint Longinus... My brothers and sisters in Christ… Joseph of Arimathea gives up his tomb… I mean talk about going the extra mile... It’s not like he can go one out of rock by tomorrow... He is just saying you can bury me as long as the good Lord has a tomb... What if you are Mary Magdalene on Easter Sunday... When everybody else is sleepy, you have decided that… you know what… “I would rather be next to a dead Savior than live people”... Because she goes that extra mile… I don't care that there’s a boulder that I can’t move… I don't care that there are soldiers in the way that took advantage in more ways than I can know... I don't care how much harassment I get... I am going to the tomb… and because she goes the extra mile… she is the first to see the risen Christ… so much so that in Greek she actually grabs Him and she won't let go. This is why Christ says to such an extent… you must let Me go for I have yet to return home…. My brothers and sisters in Christ… did you know that according to tradition… small t… Peter asked why is it You were shown to Mary Magdalene and not to me... I mean. I am your Vicar… I am Peter... I am Protos... I’m dominant… And He says you know Peter… I looked for you… and I didn’t see you... My brothers and sisters in Christ… she is the first to see the risen Christ because she goes the extra mile… and I’ll tell you this… and I know we pick on Peter way too much… and I understand that… but at the end of the day… I would like to meet the Peter the day it started and thirty three years later... I bet you that man would go through anything to bring people closer to Christ... Remember he is the only one to have his name changed… Remember he is the first to offer the sacraments... He is the first my brothers and sisters in Christ… every time they list the apostles… Judas is always last... Remember my brothers and sisters in Christ… he is our first vicar... He is the first one to fight the Pharisees and Sadducees... He is the first to baptize several thousand people... He is the one who decided who will do what and when it will happen... He is the one who decided all ties...

E.   Well my brothers and sisters in Christ… here you and I sit… while maybe at home… 2000 years later… Will you go the extra mile… Will you do what is necessary… especially in a time and day like today… As chaotic as it is as we search for a new normal… will you and I go the extra mile to make sure our family and our friends are all taken care of… our parents and our grandparents... When they call you… and that phone’s ringing and you see that number you know all too well that you will be wanted for at least an hour... You know that you are going to start in the spot and you are going to end up in the exact same spot and you probably won't solve one problem… but they need to hear your voice... They need to know there is calm in the world... They need to know that something is true.. and that it is still true… and that there is some normality by talking to them… Will you stop watching television… walk away from listening to the stars… You don't have to worry about football… therefore you should have plenty of time... My brothers and sisters in Christ… when you make sure that when people ask you to run an errand that you will go the extra mile because just the way the world is spinning.. .When you are at work and they ask you to do more because there is just so much chaos… Will you do extra work without saying it's not my job or the description or its the money... Behold you I'll warn you that whenever you move the decimal point… I’m not doing this because it's not my job description or I need more money... Once your name is tied to money… are we any better than Judas… 30 pieces of silver... My brothers and sisters in Christ… will you go the extra mile while you have the time to pray with your family and sit down and pray a Rosary… to read scripture… to read the breviary… to pray together as a unit... Will you wake up in the morning and make sure that you pray for yourself and your family before you ever get started… Will you make sure that at the end of the night that you take the time to pray… that you go the extra mile… When somebody calls you together with family and friends and they say “Let us begin with a prayer before we eat”… Will you make the sign of the cross… clearly and distinctly… or will you give me one of these… My brothers and sisters in Christ… when I prayed with a friend I asked him the same thing “What was that?”… He said “well that was the sign of the cross” I said “I didn’t know if you were giving me a sign to lay down a bunt or steal second... I’m telling you… brothers and sisters in Christ… stop apologizing for being Catholic… At the end of the day… you are either Jewish… or you are a Catholic Christian... My brothers and sisters in Christ… for sixteen hundred years for the most part that’s the only two faiths in the game... Will you have the courage to walk the extra mile… to pray the Hail Mary… Will you walk the extra mile to explain to people why we do what we do as a Catholic… Will you sit together with one another and make sure you pray and help one another… My brothers and sisters in Christ… remember this… you and I are never neutral… you can’t be... Every email… every text message… every drive by… every time you go in the store… every time you have communication… the words you use… the actions you employ… the thoughts you have… will they endure you to Christ or will they push you away… As a result of such… you are never neutral... So therefore… everything you do is going to be tied back… ultimately to Him... So therefore… control the words you use... Make sure you don't get so angry that you lose control or you’re sending the wrong email or text message or Facebook... What I’m asking you to do is go the extra mile... Pray for them... Pray for the courage to remain silent… that you don't have to win every fight... You don't have to have the last word… that somebody is keeping score… Oh there is somebody keeping score… it’s not who you and I want to… It’s Him. My brothers and sisters in Christ… You can’t be neutral to Him in all the things that we do… If you go the extra mile… and do the prayers with your family and your friends and you begin to read scripture and you pray the breviary and you read the… pray the rosary… I promise you will win the day...

F.   My brothers and sisters in Christ… I leave you with this... It is simple… but it is quite profound…. Walk the extra mile... I promise you… there are absolutely no crowds...

G.  Amen...

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