2017 Homilies (Written)

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Luke 24:13-35; 4-26-2020 (As Built; Amite #396)

 

  1. Born again Catholic. Born again Catholic. 
  2. The year is 1861. Our country is about to embroil in a great war, the Civil War if you will. Man, Lincoln has his hands full. People are drawing up sides, man, quicker than they could imagine. The North and the South. As a result, man, it's amazing to find that out of everybody that's choosing up side there are two people that are not. You see, in a small courtroom in Atlanta Georgia, which usually holds about maybe 50 people, today almost has 200 people in it. I mean, they have lined the walls to hear the argument. See, these two young men are arguing, and of course, they're going against the city of which they sit and where the judge and jury take place. Man, it is so crowded that when the judge comes in, he hits the gavel, calls to order, and he said “Let us begin. Counselor, the two men you represent, please proceed.” He said “Your Honor, I represent this young man here, and his friend Phineas- Phineas Miller. He's the money man, Phineas is. The other man, the inventor, He said “We are here because these people have stolen our product. They not only have stolen it, they are utilizing it, and they are making money from it, and we are here for restitution. It's just that simple. He sits down. The other attorney stands up. The judge says “please, please proceed.” He said “Your Honor, please, we're god-fearing people. I mean really? We're going to we're going to rob and steal this guy- his patent if you will? We're going to take us money? Please. Nothing can be further from the truth.” For three days this argument goes back and forth, and back and forth. Noise outside-  it becomes deafening to a point that the judge hits his gavel, tells the bailiff “Look, whatever the noise is out there, I know to shut it off.” He shuts it off, and the judge goes back in and says “Look, it's time for a verdict.” He turns to the jury and he said “I need a decision. Is it indeed true that these people have this product, and that therefore need to be restituted? In other words, are these people right there's no such thing?” The jury comes back and says “Your Honor, we don't believe that ever such a product ever existed, much less that there's any restitution. My brothers and sisters in Christ, the foreman couldn't have gotten the words out of his mouth when the young inventor got up and literally ran out the courtroom. He kicks open the doors. He's out in the middle. He is $50,000 in debt. It's the start of the civil war. He can't believe what his whole life that he put together is now going down the tubes. While he's standing in the middle of street trying to figure out which way to go, all of a sudden, he hears that noise. The same one that he heard in the courtroom. The same one that he recognized. He walks down the street, he goes over to a barn door, he kicks it over, and there it is, the cotton gin running smooth as silk. That young man- Eli Whitney. The height of irony, the clouds of the bailiff catch up to him, they throw him in jail. Why? Because he's $50,000 in debt, and he owes so many people. They throw him in jail, and he says “There is no way I can ever pay this back sitting in here.” Their answer? “It’s your problem not ours.” He sits there, and he's just trying to decide where do I go from here, if anywhere. They finally decide “Well, we might as well let him go because he surely won't pay us back there, not that he probably ever will.” Eli Whitney gets up and begins back to his house. When he gets there, there is a telegram for him, telling him that there's yet a new day, a new beginning, born again. It's a letter from the President of the United States, President Lincoln, telling him that they need interchangeable musket parts.  My brothers and sisters in Christ, Eli Whitney makes his fortune from interchangeable musket parts, and, if nothing, would have died dead broke if it had been left up to his previous piece of equipment, the cotton gin. My brothers and sisters in Christ, it's all about starting anew, born again, Catholic. 
  3. That is exactly that gospel.  My brothers and sisters in Christ, listen to what's going on the gospel. He takes the bread, he breaks it, he blesses it, and then he feeds them. My brothers and sisters in Christ, at that moment, it is the first mass outside of the Last Supper. As a result, he disappears. He's the bread. Listen to me. He disappears. He's the bread. This is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, he is born in Bethlehem, the city of bread. This is why he's born in a manger- a food trough- so that he could feed people. This is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, I say body of Christ and not body of Jesus. Body of Christ is his divinity. Hence, this is why brothers and sisters in Christ, as a devout Jew you and I would have known that the fourth cup that you would have had at every Passover meal takes place at the crucifixion. My brothers and sisters in Christ, when he says “It is finished.”- the final and fourth cup. As a result of it, he says “It is finished.” and he gives up his spirit. In other words, he controls when death comes. My brothers and sisters in Christ, and then he is now dead and passed, they stab him and yet he still believes. This is because he is divine. This is why a quote “dead man” quote unquote can still bleed. This is why he can walk through locked doors on Easter Sunday night, but yet they can still touch him. He can still eat food. My brothers and sisters in Christ,what he's trying to tell the people- this is how I will come to you from this time until I come again. I will be the bread, hence the Eucharist. My brothers and sisters in Christ, stop. You’re a first century Jew. Let's make sure you understand. Emmaus is several miles outside of the Jerusalem, direct East. It's a little more of a journey than most people think, but notwithstanding, these two men, one of them Kleypas, if you will, eventually he will become one of the 72 disciples. In other words my brothers sisters in Christ, think about what's going on. They've walked out of the city, and it's probably his son according to church fathers. His son's name is Simeon. He will actually be born again as a bishop, the second of jerusalem. Kleypas has a wife, who's name is Mary, who is also at the crucifixion along with Mary. He too will be one of the 72 disciples, Simeon will be. My brothers and sisters in Christ, as they're walking along, all of a sudden, they are kept from seeing Christ. Christ has, if you will, veiled himself, so that he can make sure that they understand what it means to now be truly Catholic. My brothers and sisters in Christ, as a result of it, now of a sudden, their eyes are open as he takes it, breaks it ,and blesses it. This is why at the Last Supper he says it is a new covenant. In other words, it won't always be like it was with a lamb, or turtledoves, or a bull. It is now going to be the bread of life. I am going to feed you for life eternal. I am time. I am past tense, present tense, and future tense. My brothers and sisters in Christ, he's saying this is how I'm going to feed you from this point forward. My brothers and sisters in Christ, on the road to Emmaus, when they unveil their eyes, and now that they see that he is now the bread of life. This is why manna Falls every day, in every country, in every hour, in every language in the church. His church. My brothers and sisters in Christ, remember, if you believe that the Eucharist is a relic, a theory, a conjecture, an understanding, it is, in the words of my prior life, it is just a memory. Do this in remembrance of me as if it's a recollection and just your basic intellectual understanding. My brothers and sisters in Christ, what you just said in those few words is that the Old Testament is more important than the new, because in the Old Testament they got blessed bread from heaven. As a matter of fact my brothers and sisters in Christ, they believed he was angelic bread that fell from the altar of God, by Saint Michael to them, and therefore they got blessed bread, and all we got was a relic. My brothers and sisters in Christ, it can't be true. My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. If I am not in you, and you are not me, you will not have eternal life. ??? in Greek. I'm the God who is, who was, and who is to come. Use the same Greek word. Are we now to assume that he meant it theoretically, that he wasn't there? Is he coming? My brothers and sisters in Christ, go back in time. Everybody that started out in scripture started out one way, and then yet they are born again, Catholic. Remember this my brothers and sisters in Christ, this is important to you and I. The word Catholic means according to the whole. It became so popular, it became universal. If you read in the first couple chapters in the Acts, you'll see that they gathered under one house, one roof. They sang songs, the responsorial Psalms. They broke bread like you just heard it, like we do everyday, and they listen to the readings of the Apostles. If you did those four things, you were no longer considered a Jew. You were considered to be Catholic. So much so that the word became so popular, it shows up in letters even as far back as the Year 100. My brother and sisters in Christ, what ??? wrote is if you were looking for God, you are looking for Christ. Find the bishop, and if you found the bishop, he will be in the Catholic Church. My brother and sisters in Christ, you are either Jew or you were a Catholic. That's how it was for the first thousand years. All the other games, and I know for I've been a little bit of most of them, if not all of them, not to mention study the rest. At the end of the day, I can tell you mother church is true, so when you were born again, maybe you need to be born again, Catholic. Think about it. 
  4. Go back in Scripture. Here's a guy that starts out as a fisherman. He's got a couple of boats, he is married, he's got one brother, and all of a sudden when he starts out he's nothing more than a fisherman named Simon, then all of a sudden becomes Catholic. He becomes Cephas in Aramaic, and as a result, he becomes Protos, the first apostle, the lead, the dominant, the first to speak, the first to cure, the first to baptize, the first to determine who will take Judas's place- Matthias. My brother and sisters in Christ, you can go look at Saul. At one minute he's a devout Jew, and a killer of Christians, and all of a sudden, man, he is blinded for three days. He is cured, and for several years he studies and finally becomes the Paul that you and I know. Born-again, Catholic. As a Jew, and as a devout Jew, he believed that the Eucharist was the body blood soul and divinity. iIn his letter to the Corinthians, it’s not the bread we break, it’s not the bread we break- the body of Christ, it’s not the blood we drink, it's the chalice. Is it not it not the blood of Christ? Why would a devout Jew several years after Christ is gone still proclaiming that that is indeed true when most Jews believe that if you drink of an animal in Leviticus, as a result you were basically on your way to hell. My brothers and sisters in Christ, think about the young lady that touched the tassel of Christ. She's hemorrhaging. She can't wait to touch him. The crowd is so packed around him, the Apostles asked “Oh, so let me understand Lord. You want to know who touched you? Look around you.” “Somebody touched me.” She is so scared of having to admit that finally, with the courage that can only come from Christ, and to be born again, “It was I.” His words to her- “Your faith has saved you.” And just so you know the rest of the story, according to tradition, she's the woman that is standing in the middle of the crucifixion, that is blocking it to get his face wiped in the veil- Veronica. Her name means true icon. That's called born again, Catholic. My brothers and sisters in Christ, if you are Matthew, you are a devout Jew and you are all about the money. When you finally meet Christ, the only thing you care about is no longer per se being Jews as you are being Catholic. More importantly, my brothers and sisters in Christ, it had nothing to do with money. My brothers and sisters in Christ, did you know that Lazarus- all the money and fame and fortune, the wealthiest man of all Israel and as a result a close friend of Christ, with the two sisters Martha and Mary? Do you know after the crucifixion he walks away from all the fame, and fortune, and money to actually become ordained, and subsequently a bishop, ordained by Peter himself? My brothers and sisters in Christ, did you know that Mary Magdalene left her world of the seven demons to yet be born again Catholic, and to follow the Blessed Mother and John to Ephesus, and to help the poor, and now a saint? 
  5. My brothers and sisters in Christ, here you and I sit 2,000 years later. It's time for you and I to be born again, to be born again Catholic. You and I need to stop apologizing for being Catholic. Let me ask you, if the police were told to go out and arrest you, if they saw you wearing anything Catholic, whether you said anything or not, your house, your car, whatever it may be, would they come and arrest you, or would they even know that you're Catholic? My brothers and sisters in Christ, would they know it by the clothes you wear, that you are Catholic? Would they know by the medals that you have that you were Catholic? Will they know by the house they drive by that they would see a statue out front, as if we worship statues and plaster, please, we all have intellects, would they know that you're Catholic? If somebody said “Let us pray.” would you make the sign of the Cross clearly and distinctly? On a side note, in a humorous note, one day I'm meeting with some friends from high school and one of makes the proclamation, he goes “Man, Padre, I'm glad you joined us. I ain't seen you since high school.” Of course I'm in my cassock, my dress if you will. He said “Man, let me start the prayer.” and I remember thinking “Lord, he can pray. Please begin.” He gives me this *Father Mark makes the sign of the cross in one quick motion* That's right, you saw it. I said “What is that?” He said “Oh, it's the Sign of the Cross.” I said “No, no, I don't know if that’s a steal signal, or you laying down a bunt, or it's a hit-and-run. I don’t know. What is that?” Do you think the good Lord put his arms on the crucifix like this, or did he have to extend them all the way out, even to the point of dislocating? Would people know you're Catholic, when you say a word or not, by what you wear, how you act, how you intercede with people? Will they know it if they walked into your office? Would they walk in and say “Wow, truly this person is Catholic.” A young man approached me not long ago. He said “Father,” he said “I really want to start out on the right foot,” and he said “I've been hired to do this job, and so I'm leaving one organization to go to another,” and he said “What do you think?” and I said “Well, I'm gonna give you a gift.” I gave him a statue of the Pieta of the Blessed Mother holding the Christ child that was done in Rome, and you've seen the pictures by Da Vinci. As a result of such, he says “Well, I'm afraid if I put that out there though, people, I don't know how that will respond.” You know what’s amazing? Everybody wants to hire, be associated with, or have friends with, or know people who are honest, driven, straightforward, god-fearing, family people, and yet the one person that gave us all those attributes is the Messiah and possibly through the intercession of his mother, but yet we don't want anybody to know that. You know what’s amazing, my brothers and sisters in Christ? There was a bishop in Philadelphia who made the statement that we made our religious life so private, we couldn’t make it public now if we knew how to. How true, how true. My brothers and sisters in Christ, that's the point. If you were so worried about what other people think, then you shouldn't be Catholic because at the end of the day you are either a follower of Jesus Christ in the teachings of the church, or you are not. The excuses of “Well, the church didn't teach me.” enough of that excuse, it's on you. Learn the faith. You got a book, you got an intellect, read and study. Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ. You need to understand where he sits, where his apostles are, why she is where she is, and why we have the sacraments. Stop blaming everybody else. You want to be born again Catholic, then you got to do what you need to do. “Well, it's got too many rules.” You don't even understand. Let me ask you, if you were God, would you not have chosen how you would like to be worshipped? If you were God, would you have wondered, or would you have put it in black and white how I want to be worshipped because if I don't put it in black and white, last time I did this you worship a golden calf. Today we worship all kinds of gods, football, basketball, baseball, travel ball, kickball, my ball, your ball, I commune with God in nature, I can spell his name. My brothers and sisters in Christ, you need to learn your faith. More importantly, you need to learn the faith of Holy Mother Church. Will people know you're Catholic by the way you act when you speak or not? Would you be even on the precipice of being arrested because they know that you are Catholic when they walk into your house, when they get into your car, when you do something or talk to somebody? My brothers and sisters in Christ, it ends and begins with you. It is your soul at stake. If you do not acknowledge Christ in public, he will not acknowledge you before his father. How simple is that? You either in him, or you're not. You either believe in him or not. I mean, this isn't Piccadilly, you don't get to pick and choose as if somehow or another the good Lord came down and said “You decide.” Oh, but you do in his free will, on whether you will be a follower of him, according to the whole. My brothers and sisters in Christ, Mark Monroe made a great statement. He said “Either the church started out Catholic and then became Protestant, or it started out Protestant and became Catholic.” My brother and sisters in Christ, according to the whole. You were either a Jew, or you were Catholic, there's no in-between. She is true, and you and I need to make a decision on where we stand and plant our flag. No more of this mediocre, no more of this “Well, I'm not sure.” then find out. Enough already. 
  6. And I'll leave you with this. What a great quote by St. Maximilian Kolbe. “If you will not have Mary as your immaculate mother, you will not have Christ as your brother.” Born again Catholic. 
  7. Amen.

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