2017 Homilies (Written)

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John 20:1-9; 4-12-2020 (As Built; Amite #394)

 

  1. Choice, choice. As in you have a choice. You have free will.
  2. It’s the 1930s and his name is Issac. Issac is a New York boy. He is a Brooklyn New York boy through and through. Moreover, he is a Jewish boy of New York. With that being said, he is one of four in his family. His mom is the quintessential mom. She can do and does do pretty much anything and everything that needs to be. His dad, well, his dad was a bus driver. Now Issac will tell you that his life was, well, uneventful in highschool, maybe even grammar school. He said things changed but the world changed. He said as a devout Jew, and he was very loyal, not only to my faith but to my country. When World War II comes he says “Man, the Germans are taking over the world, and, man, the way they are just, they are just killing too many Jews.” As a result of such, man, he joins the war effort. When he comes back, he goes to Syracuse University. He’s got a choice to make. He can decide to go and maybe do something else, but he decided- his parents made him- You’ve got to get educated. No matter what happens in the world, you’ve got to make the right choice. At least have an education. He goes to Syracuse. He gets out and he is met ??? his highschool sweetheart is still with him. He will tell you to this day, he will tell you that she was the ideal girl for him. She had the best outlook. He loved being with her. Very attracted to her. They shared so much in similarities. They can talk about nothing until the end of the day. As a result, man, they get married, and he’ll tell you It was a great choice. He said and then it was decided for me, well, I have to start making a living. He had that personality, so he started doing little things with television, next thing you know he started doing a little bit of stand-up, the next thing you know, man, before it is all said and done even though it is the 1960s, He’s more popular in the year 2000 than he was back then, and it’s because of the choices that Issac made. As a matter of fact, my brothers and sisters in Christ, he gets to a point where he decided that he is going to go to Los Angeles. He said he was going to make a name for himself. As a result, his wife says “Look, you’ve got to make a choice, I can either stay here and make sure we earn some income or you’ll go and I’ll come with you.” He said “Look just come with me, if we don’t make it, we don’t make it. He goes there and he gets in a couple of movies. First one was Highway to Hell, which didn’t do to well. He’s in another one called Hairspray. Then he was in another one, I think it was called Habit or something along those lines, and then he was in Zoolander 1 and then Zoolander 2. And then his wife said “Look, you’re making good money but you’re not the lead, so you’re only going to make so much, but if you ever got onto a series, ??? do you think you could make the choice to jump to doing a series instead of doing movies.” He said “You know if I do this you cant just jump back, It doesn’t work that way.” They pray about it. Let me tell you, she is a devout Catholic, he is a devout jew. They make the jump. The next thing you know, my brothers and sisters in Christ, he is in one of the most popular series of all time. He plays the father of George Costanza in Seinfeld. Man, my brothers and sisters in Christ, Mr. Constanza, if you will, and then from there, he is in the King of Queens, where he is the father-in-law to the couple that lives there. And as a result, man, his popularity grows leaps and bounds. Yeah my brothers and sisters in Christ, you know Issac. You know Issac as Isaac Jerry Stiller. My brothers and sisters in Christ, what you don’t know about him is an interview he gave later in life and he asked them he said you know Mr Stiller, you’ve got a very popular son in Ben, and he’s been in a lot of movies, you’ve done movies and you’ve done this, but what is the greatest decision you’ve ever made- the greatest choice you’ve ever made. He said “Without question, marrying my wife. Best decision I have ever made. Best choice I could have ever made. Whether I had made it or not, man, thats how the world begins for me right there.” As a result, he said when did you know she was the right one, and he said “well, it was at dinner. We kind of started reconnecting again, and, man, I kind of came from a very poor family. So, I really wanted to wine and dine her so I take her to the most expensive place in all of Brooklyn.” He said “Man, it is so expensive that I saved, I crimped, I borrowed, I did what I could, I wanted to make sure that it was the best meal” and he says “When she sat down, she looked at the prices on the menu and ordered a cup of coffee.” Man, the reporter jumped up right then and said “So that's when you made your choice that she was the right one.” He said “No, It’s when she got up and stole the silverware and put it in her purse.” He said “That's when I knew she was the right one.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, it is all about choices. 
  3. That is exactly the gospel. It’s time to get up. It’s early morning and nobody’s arisen. The savior “is dead” and I’m going to a tomb where I know there will be soldiers and a boulder that I can not move, but the choice is mine, and boy oh boy does Mary Magdalene make the right choice. My brothers and sisters in Christ, because she does get up on Easter Sunday, she is the first to see the risen Christ. She even converses with an angel. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I want you to stop for a second.  There is some things that you and I need to know as a first century Jew. You and I live in that day. Tombs are not something that you and I would have free access to. As a matter of fact, If you were considered Christian, we may not even get our name on a tomb, maybe just a number. So the fact that they got in front of the tomb and Joseph of Arimathea gave up his, that was no small token of appreciation. Joseph of Arimathea is now not going to ??? cave, and build himself one for his departure. Chances are he is gonna be buried like the rest of us. You also need to understand that when Mary Magdalene gets there, please remember my brothers and sisters in Christ, that she speaks and converses with an angel. That has absolutely so little of an impact on her, that unlike the other soldiers who were pretending to be dead, she is standing there conversing because she is more concerned about the choice of where her savior is than what this angel has to do or not to do. Courage. My brothers and sisters in Christ, when the apostles finally get there, Did you notice that in the other reading- in the other gospel, that John gets there right before, but he only looks in. He doesn’t enter the tomb. He waits for Peter. The choice was John’s to enter or not, and his choice was that Peter is Protos. Peter is always listed first. Peter is the only one who has his name changed. Peter is the only one with God the father spoke and said “This is my son. I am well pleased. “ He is the only one that has the conversation, that says you are the son of the living god. He is the only one that is cured. He is the only one who has fought the fight. He is the only one that is baptised. He made a choice to give reverence to Peter, and when he walks in the tomb, I want you to make sure you understand. When he walks in the tomb, and you notice that the face mask, the burial cloth on the face, is in one side of the tomb and the shroud is on the other. This is important for you and I as Jews, because we know from Lazarus that when he said “Lazarus come out” remember the way they would bury him would be that they would bury and they would tie your hands and feet so that you could not move. What did they tell Lazarus? “Untie him” is what the good lord said. Why? Because Lazarus could not do it himself. And remove the burial napkin. Noone can remove the burial napkin except him. That is why it was placed so many steps away. To show that I literally got up and walked and I placed that over here. I am the one that untied and rolled it like it was supposed to be. It took a conscious effort. Where can it be done? I am showing you that so nobody could say it was just coincidental. It was just happenstance. That is just how things are. My brothers and sisters in Christ, as a first century Jew, would you and I  heard that then we would have known that nobody could have done that. It couldn’t have been thieves stealing the body, you would have taken the body and the garments. Nobody would have separated and have put the death mask or the death napkin over there and left the other garments here. The only thing worth anything is the garments.
  4. My brothers and sisters in Christ, go back in scripture. All of our best players are people who have made the great choices. By the same token, all those that have made poor choices are the ones whose names are no longer even in the book of life. My brothers and sisters in Christ, Pilate had a choice. He could simply give them Barrabas or he could say “Man, my wife is worried about this. She is concerned. She has had a dream. I’m sorry but we’re not gonna kill him. I may beat him, I may scourge him, but that’s it.” But he had a choice and he made it, as cowardly as it was. When he asked Christ “What is the truth?” What he doesn’t understand, he being Pilate, is that’s the point. The truth is standing before you. This is your moment of truth, Pilate, and you’ve chosen poorly. My brothers and sisters in Christ, If you’re King Harrod the Great, you had a choice either to go worship the new born king, or you do what you’ve chosen, to hunt him down and kill him. You subsequently die a few years later, a tumultuous death. My brothers and sisters in Christ, do you find it ironic, coincidental, happenstance, that all four people who judged Christ took their own life? Their own choices. Judas- What's the very last sentence that Christ says about Judas? “It’ve been better if you have never been born.” Pilate ends up taking his own life because the people that he is arguing about killing Christ are arguing about the issue of water. You’ve got, also, Harrod the great grandson, who takes his own life, and Harrod the great took his own life as well. My brothers and sisters in Christ, for everyone that makes a diabolical decision or a poor choice, they had to live with the consequences. More importantly, there’s people in scripture that made a great choice. His will be done. At 14 years of age, he is the mother of the messiah. At 14 she made a decision that forever impacts the world. His will be done. St. Joseph makes the decision that I can in no way divorce her and cast a shadow upon her. I am just going to walk away. I’ll be seen as a deadbeat dad but what difference does it make what other people think of me.  It’s none of my business. What a great choice, so that no dispersions fall upon her. Did you know in Peter’s last words according to tradition, small t, he tells his wife, he was probably persecuted on that same day, go with God. Say what you want about Peter and all the mistakes he made. He called him Satan, he denied our savior three times, he tried to walk on water, he tried to argue with the good lord “I want to wash my whole body and just not my feet” at the end of the day, when push comes to shove, the man was crucified upside down, and for three hours proclaimed the gospel and his last words- “Go with God.” Well done. Well said Cephas, Peter, dominant, the rock, the boulder.  My brothers and sisters in Christ, throughout scripture, great people make great choices, and the reason they make great choices is that they put their hands together before they try to make the decisions. 
  5. Well, now here you and I sit 2000 years later. Some of us are often times not making the right decisions. We are not making the right choices. My brothers and sisters in Christ, How many times do I hear people say “Father, I just curse a lot. That is just how it is.” There are 40 thousand words in the English language. 40 thousand, and you get stuck on three or four of them, two of which- the f-bomb, the gd- are mortal. You can't find any other words? What a poor choice that is. “But Father you don’t understand, I-I-I’m not an angry person, but that is how God made me.” No, he didn’t. No, he didn’t. You just heard the book of Genesis. Six straight days, all things were made good. He made you good. You have chosen. You have had the choice to be angry, and you still blame everybody and everything. You go to work angry. You come home angry. You are with your boss, your wife, your children. You are angry and it’s constant and it’s incessant and the problem is that it is contagious, and it’s destroying your family, and the problem is, at the end of the day, that you do control. You do control your attitude. You have a choice, and it’s a poor excuse to blame the good lord and say “Well, I’m just angry.” Well look what’s happened to him. This has happened. This has happened. Look, you want to have a pity party? Have one. GREAT, you finished? Now GROW UP. CLEAN YOURSELF OFF AND GET BACK IN THE GAME, because at the end of the day, It’s not between you and them, It’s between you and him, and being angry about it doesn’t solve the issue. The problem isn’t the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. THAT is the problem, but at the end of the day it’s a poor choice on your decision. My brothers and sisters in Christ, how many people go through life and are always negative? The glass is always half empty. Man, it can be a beautiful day, it could be sunshining, and man, we are just complaining that it is just too humid. We can win the Lotto and we’ll complain about taxes. Man, you can be on the beach enjoying just the most beautiful of days. The sun could be setting. You are under the umbrella. There is no one out on the beach. There is a slight breeze. Man, you just feel good. You’ve got you a big old glass of... holy water… and then all of a sudden, something happens, and you snap. You start thinking about yesterday. You start worrying about this. Somebody brings up somebody else's name, next thing you’re so angry, you’re so mad, you’ve done ruined the whole day. You had a choice, and you’ve chosen poorly because you’ve allowed the evil one to get in your thoughts and roam up there. That is expensive real estate. Do you not understand that out of your thoughts, three people can put a thought in your head? He can, HE can, and you and I can. When that thought brings negativity, causes you to get angry, causes you to start cursing, can I ask you to stop for just a second? Take the second and ask yourself “Where is this coming from? Why now? Why to me?” My brothers and sisters in Christ, every day on this earth, you’re either walking towards him, or you are walking away from him. You are never neutral to him. You’ve got to control that anger. You’ve got to control that language. You’ve got to stop with the negativity. Man, you could suck the life out of Mother Theresa. The problem is that it is contagious and it affects everybody else. You’ve got to stop thinking well man, the glass is half empty. Well get another glass, or if that's the case, pick it up, suck it up, and get in the game, because 90% of people don’t want to hear the problem and 10% of people think that it’s your problem and not theirs, and the problem is it spreads. It’s like gossip and slander. It’s the greatest sin of our day, and it’s out of Lucifer’s own mouth. My brothers and sisters in Christ, when I hear people start to gossip and to slander, and they are on Facebook or their emails, well I’m just saying, you know what I’ve heard? Well it’s true, as if somehow or another bearing false witness is exonerated because you are telling the truth. Bearing false witness means that you are not a true witness to Jesus Christ. More importantly, you are breaking the commandment love of neighbor. What you’re saying is that because it’s true, I’ve got the right to judge. No you don’t. Nobody condemned you. Nobody crowned you king, and it’s pretty sad and despicable that you believe that you can pass judgement on the fly, as if you know their sins, you know their crosses. My brothers and sisters in Christ, do you want to talk about a poor choice? If somebody’s name is on your lips, it is so insecure and unsafe that the mere mention of their name causes you to mortally sin. We’re disordered. The problem is yours because you made the choice. You have free will. My brothers and sisters in Christ, There’s one thing in our lives that you and I need to stop doing, and there’s one thing in our lives that we need to start doing. That’s right, we’ve got free will and the choice is yours, but so are the consequences. Not only do you have the right to choose freely, but the consequences that come because of your choice is equally great. 
  6. My brothers and sisters in Christ, What I’m asking you to do, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, “It is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” You may be slow in making a decision, but you never walk backwards. What I’m asking you to do is make the right choice. That sometimes the decision to say something is not to say something. Even though you know you’ve got a great answer, and the answer is true, and they need to hear it, sometimes the answer is that I just better pray for them. “But no, you don’t understand Father, I need to (audio cuts) this, these people are not helping me, my family’s not helping me, my love ones, they always want something, it's always about the money. They never get along. The problem with my children-” Stop. Stop. All things come through Jesus Christ, and if he brought you to it, he will bring you through it, but I will tell you this, you better get up and dust yourself off and get in the game. If you want to have that pity party then go have it, but for the love of God, get in it and finish what you’ve started. The choice is yours. It’s your soul at stake. It’s your soul. At stake. The choice is yours.
  7. Amen.

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