2017 Homilies (Written)

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Matthew 26:14-27; 4-5-2020 (As Built; Amite #393)

 

  1. Complaining, Complaining. 
  2. It’s the 1950’s. His name is Anthony. Anthony lives in Syracuse, New York, and Anthony will tell you that his life was tumultuous -hills and valleys- it just always seemed to be that way. He loved his parents and his parents were immensely talented. They seemed to love what they did, just regrettably not with one another. They were both sculptors. They were both artists. His mom was even a poet. But earlier on they separated. He lived with his mom and he will tell you Man, grammar school, well that is uneventful. Highschool, man, he said he was more hit and miss. According to mom, It was far more misses than hits. He barely gets out of highschool. And then he’ll tell you that two things changed his life. He’ll say at the age of ten, he did a play- the Wizard of Oz. Anthony plays the cowardly lion. Knowing when you find out who he is, there is no way that he could have ever been that part for real. It just didn’t fit his demeanor, but it tells you what a great actor he ultimately became. The fact of the matter is he said playing that role at the age of ten and being in a gang changed his life. He’ll tell you that he was in an Italian gang. They called him Bobby Milk. It was because of his fair complexion. He also had a birthmark. And as a result, He’ll say early on, it added to more chaos, but later in life, he was so thankful that he got out of it. He goes to his mom because life is up and down and he starts complaining about this and that and that he has nowhere to go and hes working for money and he needs this, that and the other. His mom finally sat him down and said “Stop. Enough with the complaining. It’s getting you nowhere. I put some money aside and you are going to get one chance at this. I don’t want you to complain that you didn’t get your shot and I don’t want you to complain that you didn’t make it. I’m gonna give you the chance to do whatever you want. I only have limited funds.” He said “I’d like to go to New York and be in a play. I’d like to be in the movies. I want to act. She sends him and hes in different movies, different plays. The first one that he was in was Bedrooms in Manhattan. It didn’t go too well. As a matter of fact, he will probably tell you it wasn’t one of his better movies. And then he gets into another one called Bloody Mama. He said he only thought the Bedrooms in Manhattan was a bad movie until he did this one. He said surely it can’t get any worse. Then, he does The Executioner. Boy, he has hit rock bottom. He is at wit’s end. He’s going back to his mom and hes about to complain and she said “Oh no, you run this all of the way out. No need to stop to complain now.” He gets one more chance. A talent agent calls him and says “Look, I want you to put 25 pictures together of face shots and ect. ect. and then we are going to put this together in front of some executives.” Instead of getting the same picture, or different views if you will, he gives him 25 different costumes and different characters. They loved it. Man my brothers and sisters in Christ, to this day he will tell you that when he does a part he is all in. He will do whatever it takes to study the part. No use in complaining about the time in the essence it’s what he loves to do. He’ll tell you that when he decided to portray a boxer, he did it in a movie called Raging Bull, he gained one hundred pounds just to do the act. Then, he got involved in another movie where he was going to be a taxi cab driver. He said he spent two months driving a cab. And then all of a sudden, he needed to be on Broadway, but they said he needed to play a musical instrument. He learned to play the saxophone. Man, Anthony, a.k.a Bobby Milk, becomes one of the greatest actors in our day and he does so because he throws himself totally into the role. You’ll rarely see him complain about the hours and the time and the price he had to pay to get there and what’s amazing is of the top one hundred movie quotes Anthony has 10 of them. It’s amazing, my brothers and sisters in Christ, In one of the movies he played Al Capone in the movie the Untouchables. And in the movie he makes the statement “You know I grew up in a tough neighborhood, a kind word would go a long ways. A gun would get you all the way through.” He was in another movie where he played a gangster. He was with Billy Crystal in a movie called Analyze This. Billy Crystal is a counsellor trying to help a crime boss to stop being a crime boss, and in the movie they both walk around to Billy Crystal’s truck to get something out, and of course Anthony steps back and says “Man, that, that’s a nice trunk. I bet you could fit three people in there.” He is in another movie, my brothers and sisters in Christ, called Midnight Run where he is a bail bondsman and he gets so mad at the guy that he’s chasing. He tells him that if you don’t be quiet, I’m gonna introduce you to fist villa. Man my brothers and sisters in Christ, the movies that this guy has been in, even in a movie like Goodfellas, where he makes the quote “There’s two things that you need to understand, don’t rat on your friends and keep your mouth shut.” He’s in a movie like the Godfather. My brothers and sisters in Christ, he is in Meet the Parents. He was in the movie the Heist. My brothers and sisters in Christ, His name is Robert Di Niro. And one thing he said is what his mom told him is forever true. There’s no need to complain about it, it won’t get you anywhere. 
  3. That is exactly the point of the gospel. Nowhere in scripture did you hear Christ complain about what was about to happen to him. You didn’t hear him bemoan and belittle. You did not hear him scream and call out. You didn’t hear him curse or in any way get close to sin. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I need you to remember this. According to the saints, St. Brigid, St. Catherine Emmerich, Blessed Mary of Agreda, the good lord carried a cross 12 foot tall, 8 foot wide. He carried it one mile. My brothers and sisters in Christ, from the minute in the garden of Gethsemany to the minute he says “It is finished.” he is beated, according to the three saints, over 6,000 times and yet he never complains. When the anxiety is so great in the garden of Gethsemany and he begins to perspire blood, he doesn’t complain. My brothers and sisters in Christ, did you know they offered over one thousand insults against Christ from the minute in the garden of Gethsemany to the minute he says “It is finished.”? He received over one thousand insults. Do you know what is amazing? You and I get insulted in one day. We get a bad email, a bad text message, somebody said one thing negative. We can have 100 positive things said something. Somebody says one thing negative and for the rest of the day, if not into the next day or next week, we are still mad about it. We are still losing our patience. We are still complaining. We will still complain about it years and months later. My brothers and sisters in Christ, according to the saints, did you know that they spit in his face over 100 times? They spit into your face or my face one time I can tell you where we are going to be for the next 24 to 36 hours. Surely in the local prison. My brothers and sisters in Christ, they said they beat him on the head over 100 times. They kicked him in the stomach over 100 times. They said the crown of thorns alone, the crown of thorns alone, gave him 100 pricks to the head 20 were legitimate holes. Three of them were mortal. So whether we beat him or not or crucify him he will die by the crown of thorns alone, but he never says one word. Do you know according to the saints, and according to tradition the only time he let out even one scream was when they laid him on the cross and they put the first nail and the first hit on the first nail into his palm. He let out a scream. He heard his mother scream and he never said nothing until the end, until the words he needed to proclaim. 
  4. My brothers and sisters in Christ, throughout scripture, complaining has never brought anything to anyone except sin. Go back in scripture. Think for a second. Everybody who has complained- James and John at the last supper “Lord we would like to be on your right and left.” The good lord says “Stop. James, John I love yall. You do not need to be on my right and on my left. Can you drink of the chalice that I’m about to drink?” “Well yes, sure, yeah Lord. Yes we can.” “Well maybe so, but the right and left is not for you. It has been given to somebody else.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, can you imagine John’s face when he walks up the hill with Mary Magdalene and the blessed mother and sees two thieves on his right and left also being crucified? I’d bet you his first thoughts “Thank God for unanswered prayers.” Why bother complaining about it? My brothers and sisters in Christ, what is it about Martha and Mary “Lord if you’ve been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.” Complaining because Lord if you would’ve just came when I called you, which was two days ago, now four days ago, my brother would be alive.” “Martha, Mary, bring out the light. I am the truth. I’m the way.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, Martha and Mary you see, the blind see, the lame walk, and the dead rise. Why now do you question me? Why now do you complain? Man, can you imagine their thoughts when Lazarus- “Come out”.- what could have been going through their heads? My brothers and sisters in Christ, according to tradition, small t, Peter meets with our good lord prior to Pentecost, when he ascends into heaven, and asks him “Lord, why did you appear to Mary of Magdalene?” complaining that “You’ve appeared to her first before you appeared to me. Am I not your vicor? Am I not your first pope? Is my name always first on the list, and Judas’s always last? Am I not the one that will convene the council? Am I not the one that baptised several thousand people? Did I not do the miracle? Was I not the one you changed the name for?” and then the lord looks at him, standing face to face, and says “Peter, when I was on the cross, I looked for you. And where were you?” I can’t even imagine what must have gone through Peter’s head. Man, I should have never complained. His response probably hit him to the very marrow of his bones, and for the rest of his life. What about the pharisees, my brothers and sisters in Christ, who complained because a blind man was cured on the sabbath? I mean, he can see. As a result of being blind would not the sabbath be even easier for him to walk around, to eat, to even get a drink of water, to go to the well, to find family or friends? I mean, all he did was give him sight. He gave him everlasting sight as well. 
  5. My brothers and sisters in Christ, here you and I sit 2000 years later. How much time do you and I spend complaining? My brothers and sisters in Christ, I am almost convinced that it is an inalienable right. We have the right to life, liberty, and the right to complain. My brothers and sisters in Christ, how often do you and I complain? You know that there was a survey done that says that the average person complains every 15 minutes. That has got to be an old survey. We’ve got that down to a science. My brothers and sisters in Christ, we complain about anything and everything. We feel that it is our right to inform others as if they had asked for our opinion. We complain, my brothers and sisters in Christ, that we are in South Louisiana. We complain about the temperature, the weather. Look, we have two seasons, humid and less humid. That is all we’ve ever had. My brothers and sisters in Christ, man, we complain when it rains and then it sunshines. We complain whether or not the day is cloudy or it’s not. We complain that we have to go to work because, man, there are just other things that I want to do. My brothers and sisters in Christ, we complain about anything and everything, including our country, our president, we complain about the virus. Thank GOD that you and I are in this country, fighting that virus. You and I oughta drop to our knees and thank God every day, that we live in the greatest country in the world, with the greatest resources, that we have a roof over our head and clothes on our back, and food in our stomachs. But we pass judgement and we condemn. We talk about gossip and we email and text message and talk about people behind their back as if we know all there is to know about them. We complain about them so incessantly that we are the judge. We actually tell the good lord “Get out of those shoes, I’m stepping in them because I know people, and I know where they come from or where they’re going. I know all there is to know, and therefore, my judgement is final.” and I promise you, the words will not stop echoing out of your mouth before your judgement will be before the christ. My brothers and sisters in Christ, you and I need to stop complaining about anything and everything. Do you complain more than you say thank you? Do you complain more than you say “I’m sorry”? Do you complain more than you say you’re welcome? Do you complain more than you complement? Do you complain about the traffic? The house? The school? Your spouse? Your children? The work I do? The work I don't do? How I should get paid? How I didn’t get paid? My brothers and sisters in Christ, It is almost contagious. Og Mandino was right. You complain so much that it’s contagious, and then everybody is that way. My brothers and sisters in Christ, don’t you understand? Complaining gets to a point where it becomes imprudent, and imprudent is a sin. It’s the wrong thing the wrong way. At some point you and I will realise that Lincoln was absolutely spot on, and his answer was “It is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, I am begging you that the next time you decide to open our mouths, to stop and ask yourselves “Will this judgement come back on me? Will this complaint resonate with our lord?” 
  6. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I’ll leave you with the words of an anonymous prophet, I guess if you will, but he made a great statement. He’s a very holy man. He made the statement that people enjoy complaining. People enjoy complaining almost as much as doing nothing about it. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I’m asking you. I don't care if you’ve got to peel it and eat it like a grape. Stop complaining. Start praying. They need it, we need it, and he needs to hear it.
  7. Amen.

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