2017 Homilies (Written)

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John 10:1-10; 5-3-2020 (As Built; Amite #397)
 
A. Name… as in your name...
B. It's 1923 and his name is Eddie. Eddie lives in the big city of Chicago, the city of big shoulders. Eddie is probably the most dominant attorney, and prominent one as well, in the city of Chicago. Make no mistake about it, your fault, my fault, nobody's fault, Eddie is who you want to represent you from jaywalking, to shoplifting, to murder, Eddie’s the man. He had a license to print money, he was that good. One day while he's in Chicago working in his office, a gentleman comes to see him. His name, Big Al. Big Al comes to him and says “Eddie I’d like to make you an offer, and the offer is I would like you to come work for me.” Man, you can see Eddie is just sitting there. You see, Big Al- well he's not somebody you'd like to turn down. He's not someone that'll take no for an answer, so Eddie says “Well let me think about it.” Obviously it didn't take very long because Big Al convinced him “Eddie I want you to run my tracks. Horse tracks, dog tracks, this track, that track, I want you to handle the gaming institution.” Can I tell you Eddie only thought he had a license to print money. Man, when he took over the gaming for Big Al, man I gotta tell you, Al Capone took off. I’m telling you, his empire spread throughout the states. As a result of it, man, it was wine, women, and song, and then that proverbial day. The day when things change for Eddie, it's the birth of his son. Man, the whole world changed for Eddie. Don't get me wrong, it was hard with Al there, and the money, and the fame, and the fortune, the wine, the women, the song, but man he's got a son. He started wondering the more time he spent with his son “What kind of life will I give my son? what kind of name will I leave my son? Man, will I tie an anchor to his neck if I’m tied to Al Capone?” He's decided that he's going to turn state's evidence. Man, he does it. Ultimately Al Capone is convicted, but the fact of the matter is two weeks after he testified, Eddie was found dead with a rosary in his pocket. Of course Al was convicted, he spent the rest of his life in what we call the rock, Alcatraz. He dies of a venereal disease, this is true. Eddie’s son is born, he goes to the war, he becomes one of the greatest fighter pilots of all times. He becomes so popular that he's actually the only fighter pilot ever to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. He is so popular that they named an airport after him, and every time you and I go through Chicago you go to Eddie O’Hare international thanks to his dad who realized all too well the importance of a name. 
C. That is exactly that gospel. My brothers and sisters in Christ, no less than five times in scripture did the good lord's name be used in different ways. Five different ways they described Christ- the shepherd, not a shepherd, THE shepherd, the voice, the gate, they said He was the life where you and I get the way, the truth, and the life, and then they said He was the abundant life. Five different names all directed to the messiah. Now stop, your a first century Jew. You and I are living back in this time. We are there when this gospel takes place. My brothers and sisters in Christ, the reason He uses a lamb is for everybody in this time frame knows the significance of a lamb, whether you're Jew or gentile, pagan or sojourner, you know the importance of that animal. My brothers and sisters in Christ, it's food, it's milk, it can be used as clothing, or fabric. At the end of the day, a lamb is money, it's barter, it's exchange. My brothers and sisters in Christ, if you and I lived in that day as a first century Jew, this is what you and I would know. You and I would take care of our lambs one of three ways. If we had a lot of money, we would have fenced in our own field and we would have shepherded or paid somebody to watch it at night. If we were absolutely destitute and quite poor, you and I would have brought our farm animals into our little house, and we would have slept up on a little shelf, or, if you will, like a little upstairs, if you will, and then we would have kept the animals downstairs. We wouldn't have had many because we're poor, hence the size of our house is small. This is the reason why brothers and sisters in Christ when you hear the parable where a man knocks on the door and says I know it's late but I got friends coming, I need bread, and the man that's in the house said it's too late, I’m not coming down. The reason he's not coming down is because he's got to walk through the animals to open the door, not to mention give you the bread, but because you persevere he's going to do just that, but that is if you're very poor. If you are somewhere in between, and you get along with your neighbors, you will pick someone's house, or maybe a field. You'll build up a rock fence only about maybe two foot tall- just enough to keep them encamped, if you will- and you'll put all the animals in one. You and me and the other neighbors will rotate at night. In the mornings, you and I will go to our respective fields, the owner of the house will stand by the gate, and as you call out your animals he'll open the gate and yours will go to your field. That's how important lambs are in our day. My brothers and sisters Christ, you got to go one step further. As a first century Jew, if we hear this story we know the prophet Ezekiel, the old testament, like the back of our hand. We can quote it in scripture. My brothers and sisters in Christ, whenever you hear thieves and robbers, the place where it shows up most prominent is in the prophet Ezekiel. Now just so you know, Ezekiel is one of the big four to the Jewish people. I mean, when you say thieves and robbers it would be tantamount to you and I say in the Declaration of Independence you have the right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We know right to go where to go look for it, so do first century Jews. When you hear thieves and robbers you immediately go back to Ezekiel. This is the prophet that gave us the four gospel writers, if you will, the images of the four gospel writers. He's the one that gave us the sign of the cross- not the x on your head- is the mark that will save you. That's why we do this today. If you go back and read Ezekiel, man it is so powerful. Quote and I’m paraphrasing quote “Before the messiah, all shepherds will either be robbers or thieves. The blind will not see, the lame will not walk, the dead will not rise, all until that day of the messiah, when the shepherd has come, and on that day there will be darkness, and quaking, and rain”. The reason it's described that way in Ezekiel is because that is how you describe the day of the crucifixion, as darkness overcame and the earthquakes began to tremble the world, and rains came. He's telling everybody in Ezekiel that the shepherd will be the one you crucify. All the rest are impostors. Make sure you remember that name. 
D. My brothers and sisters in Christ, go back in scripture. Names are most important. If I were to ask you “What were the names of the couple in the garden of Eden?” you would have said Adam and Eve. You would have been incorrect. Adam- adama- means ground. Go back to in scripture, in the garden they are man and woman. Remember when the good lord is walking through, they have partaken of the fruit of the tree and they realize that they were naked. As a result of such, He calls out to him and says “Man, Man where are you?” Man first passing the buck garden of Eden. “Oh no not me lord, the woman You gave me.” and then He calls woman and He says woman, and she says oh no, it's the evil one. They don't get the names, if you will, or he doesn't retain his name Adam- adama, she gets Eve, until they're outside the garden of Eden. The point is simple. If we had all stayed in the garden of Eden, we'd be well on our way, because the garden of Eden is the garden of paradise on its well way to heaven. There would have been no reason for us to be judged, for there was no sin. Once we've sinned, our names are important. We are now accountable for our actions for we have all been named. My brothers and sisters in Christ, when the good Lord goes to resurrect Lazarus, Martha and Mary “Lord, if You'd been here my brother wouldn't have died.” “Martha, Mary, I’m the way. I’m the truth. I’m the life.” He walks to the tomb and what does He do? He calls by name “Lazarus, come out.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, if He just yells out “Come out.” everybody rises from their grave. It would be the second coming. This is why He calls Lazarus by name. My brothers and sisters in Christ, throughout scripture names and name changes are even more important- Jacob to Israel, Abram Abraham, Saul to Paul, Simon to Peter. That's why popes change their name, the ontological change. Why? Because names are that important to you and I. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I need you to think. How many times in scripture have you heard of Noah- that's just make-believe. Oh take my boy Jonah- that's make-believe. Stop, that's a lie. In a parable if a proper name is used, it is not... it is not parabolic. It is a person. This is why Christ says to those Pharisees and Sadducees “Much like in the time of Noah people were married and getting married so will it be when I return.” Why would you use an example of a make-believe person to explain your second coming to Jews who believed in Noah? Why would you say to those same Pharisees and Sadducees “No, you've already been given the sign of Jonah. He descended to the dead and so will I.”? Why would you use a make-believe guy to explain your subsequent crucifixion and resurrection? And please, do me a favor. When you read Jonah, make sure you study it because what he's proclaiming, or what is being called for in the belly of the whale is a funeral dirge. He died in the whale just like the Christ descended to the dead. My brothers and sisters in Christ, there's often times in scripture the story of the poor man Lazarus. The dogs would lick his wounds, the rich man would step over him and wouldn't even give him the scraps of the table. We don't know the name of the rich man, and according to the story, true story proper name Lazarus, it's not a parable, they die roughly on the same day. Lazarus goes to the side of Abraham, Abraham’s bosom. Remember, before the gates of heaven are open when the Christ goes up on Pentecost, until that day happens nobody's in heaven. Those people that have passed prior, Saint Joseph, Elijah, Moses, Noah, Jonah, well I can tell you where they are. They are in Abraham’s bosom because once the gates are open, then then they ascended into heaven. The point being is they die on the same day. The man is behind a chasm, the rich man. He's yelling to father Abraham. Remember, Abraham has already been dead for a thousand years. How does this man know who that man is? He knows him because he knows scripture. He's a Jew, and he knows that is father Abraham, and this is Abraham’s bosom until the messiah returns to heaven. Did you ever notice, he's in a chasm he will never cross. He's in hell, and as a result he's yelling to father Abraham. He's still treating Lazarus as a slave. He didn't even speak to Lazarus. Tell Lazarus to dip his finger and send him to put him on my tongue. Abraham’s answer, “No.” Well look, send him to my brothers so that they will know. “No.” Well what you need to do is you need to warn people they have the scripture and the prophets. “No.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, do you notice that we only know the name Lazarus, and we don't know the name of the rich man because his name is not in the book of life. He's in the book of death and there is no name for that. It's irrelevant. The only thing that matters is yes or no, so here we sit 2000 years. Let's ask, my brother and sisters in Christ, will your name be in the book of life? Yes or no? You either made it or you didn't. We got one job- one- and that job is to get to heaven. I do not care what your profession is, I don't care what your hobbies are, I don't care what your likes or your dislikes. I don't care if you like your job, you don't like your job, and I don't care about your income to the decimal point. The only job you and I got is to make it to heaven. My brothers and sisters in Christ, there are 10 commandments, 10 commands. He wrote them with his finger in stone, twice. Those are the ten things that could prohibit you from making it the kingdom of heaven if you break them. How is it you and I don't know them? There are only ten. You love God with your whole heart mind soul, don't use His name in vain, keep holy the Lord’s day, honor your mother and father, do not murder, adultery, steal, bear false witness, covet your neighbors goods and spouse. Ten. They're not suggestions, they're not guidelines, they're not sticky notes. They are commandments. My brothers and sisters in Christ, the first three deal with our relationship with Christ. The next seven deal with how you and I relate to one another. The only commandment that's contingent is the fourth one. The problem is if you do this, then you get this. You don't do this, and I promise you this is what you will get. The problem is you and I only know the front half, honor your mother and father. If you and I studied it enough we know it would say honor your mother and father, and I’ll give you a long life in the land that I’ve given you. But if you dishonor them, your life will be tumultuous. My brothers and sisters in Christ, those ten commandments make or break you and I. I asked a friend of mine, and we were talking, he said “Father, yeah I know the commandments. Don't kill, yeah yeah don't kill him. Honor your parents.” Man, that's two for ten, you ain't even a good ball player. What are you hoping for? My brothers and sisters in Christ, you're either in the book of life, or you're not. You either made it or you did not. My brothers and sisters in Christ, listen to me. You must know the ten commandments for your name to be in the book of life. Do you honestly believe that anyone in heaven does not know the ten commandments? 
E. My brothers and sisters in Christ, think about it, the things that you and I do that fracture those commandments. If I was to ask somebody, if I was to ask your spouse, okay scratch that don't do that. If I was to ask somebody and I gave your name, how would they describe you in 10 words or less? With the words that is one good catholic man, that is one prayerful warrior of a woman, boy they are devout Catholics, they are honest as a day is long, they are genuine as genuine could be, they are the poster child for Holy Mother Church? Is that how they would describe your name? Would they say “Man, I don't care what I gotta sign with that guy, his word is his bond. His name is more important to him than all the money and the gold and silver.”- Proverbs by the way. My brother and sister in Christ, ask yourself, if I ask somebody to describe you in 10 words or less, would they say “Man, is that guy narcissistic. He's so self-absorbed.” There is no such thing as a self-made man or woman, that is a lie. There is no such thing as a self-made man or woman. All gifts, all gifts, come from the messiah. Without him, we don't even have an essence. We have no existence. It begins and ends with Jesus Christ, and we, you and me, need to give Him credit for anything and everything. The only thing you and I bring to the table is regrettably probably sin. My brothers and sisters in Christ, are other people's names safe on your lips? When you hear somebody else's name do we pop out and judge them, condemn them, gossip or slander about them? My brothers and sisters in Christ, do you understand that the eighth commandment, you swear not to bear false witness against your neighbor, do you understand it has very little to do with you swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God, which isn't a truthful statement in the courtroom to begin with? Notwithstanding, the biggest sin that breaks the eighth commandment, the biggest act that breaks the eighth commandment is called the sin of detraction, detraction, where you steal somebody's honor. Whether it's true or not, nobody told you to be the town crier. The truth of the issue is not the issue. The issue is you were told to love your neighbor and not to judge, so if you get on an internet, email, text message, or Facebook, and you condemn somebody, “Well let me tell you what I think, oh I know what happened and this is the truth. I’m just saying,” Well let me tell you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, at the end of the day when you hit that send button, oh you sent it all right. You sent mortal sin right to your soul. My brothers and sisters in Christ, is His name safe on your lips? You know it started out as a Jew you couldn't even say His name, hence where we came with the term Yahweh, then we have Elohim, and then all of a sudden, we were able to say His name, and today we use it as a curse word. I can promise you this. Everybody that uses that mf or gd, that's a mortal sin. You've asked Him to condemn it and to damn it, and you used His name. My brothers and sisters in Christ, are your parents, your friends, your ex-spouse, your ex-classmate, your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, or their name safe on your lips? My brothers and sisters in Christ, I am begging you to watch what you say, to guard your mouth when that thought hits your head, not to judge somebody, not to condemn somebody because at the end of the day the measure which you judge is the measure which will be used against you and I when we will be judged. 
F. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I leave you with this. On the day of our judgment, we came in the world on this day we're going home on this day, non-negotiable, it's already done, and now you and I are somewhere in between. On this day we are called home. You and I will stand before him. We will be naked and alone. There will be no arbitration, no mediation, no discussion, no excuses, no understandings, there will only be judgment, and I leave you with this aspect. When you stand before Him naked and alone, you and I will hear one of two things, and I pray that you hear “Welcome home My child you have done well. I knew you in your mother's womb. Welcome to My kingdom. I am so proud of you and I have waited for you. Welcome to the table of all of My saints.” or He'll turn and say “Depart from Me. I don't know your name.”
G. Amen.
 

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