2017 Homilies (Written)


John 14:1-12; 5-10-2020 (As Built; Amite #398)


  1. Worry, worry, anxiety.
  2. It's the 1950s. His name is Jamie. Jamie lives in Montgomery, Alabama, and if there was one thing you need to know about Jamie, Jamie loves movies. I'm talking he would watch him all day today, all day tomorrow, and twice on Sunday, and there is one movie Jamie loves more than the rest. I mean, he loves it, my brothers and sisters in Christ, Code of the Secret Service... Code of the Secret Service. He could watch it all day today, all day tomorrow, any day all day, part of the day, some of the day, my brothers and sisters in Christ, to a fault. One day his dad comes in, he's watching Jamie, and Jamie of course is watching the Code to the Secret Service. As a result, his dad walks in and says “That's it, enough with the movies Jamie. Enough with Code of the Secret Service.” he said “Son, the movie is terrible, the acting is horrific, and not to mention the fact that I'm worried that if you keep watching this movie about the Secret Service, you're gonna be one.” He said “Well dad, that's why I like it. Someday I want to be a Secret Service agent.” He said “See? Now you know why I'm worried.” As a result 40 years later Jamie Parr becomes a Secret Service agent, not just any agent, he becomes the agent, the agent for the president, the president none other than Ronald Reagan. As a matter of fact, Jamie Parr is there that day as he should have been guarding the president. This is the day when Hinckley fires four shots. He hits the president, he hits the Secretary of State, he hits a police officer, and another agent. If memory serves, the police officer and the agent were killed and the Secretary of State was severely injured, but when the shots were fired, if you were watching Jamie Parr, you would have known he had spent his entire life for that one instant. According to the records, they said “Man, he moves with such speed and precision.” they said “Man, he knew what he was doing. He knew how to do it, what he needed to do, where he needed to go.” he said “If it hadn't been for Jamie Parr, if it hadn't been for Jamie Parr.” Man, he picks up the president he literally carries him over to the limousine, he throws him in the back, he lays on top of him, he reaches over, slams the door, tells the driver take off, he gets on the walkie-talkie, he calls it in. “The president has been shot. We are taking him to this particular Hospital” I mean you could hear the frantic, the anxiety, the worry. Man, on the receiving end they come back and say “No Jamie, you have to go to this hospital. This is what he needs to go to.” “We don't have time. It's of the essence. He's been hit. It looks serious from what I can tell. We are going to this hospital. You get the nurses, you get the doctors, you get what you need. You get the staff, you get them to this hospital.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, as they are pulling up, Jamie says “Man, you can see the doctors, the nurses, the gurney.” Man, people are running out to the car. He picks up the president. He lays him on the gurney. Man, all of a sudden, man, the doctors are coming in and out of nowhere comes Nancy Reagan. She is screaming at the top of her lungs, “Man, Ronny what happened? How did this happen?” and only in a Ronald Reagan esque way he yells out “I forgot to duck.” Next thing you know, the doctors get in. He said “Don't worry Mr. President, you're in good hands.” He looks up at him and says “And I hope you're a Republican.” Man, my brothers and sisters in Christ, next thing you know, they operate. You know the story. Ronald Reagan comes out really well. The next day, he's in the recovery room and they allow a few, if you will, reporters in. They’re interviewing him and he says “You know President Reagan, Mr. president, if it hadn't been for Jamie Parr, you probably wouldn't have made it.” He says “Oh I know.” He said “You know I worry a lot about this man, what's going to happen one day. I try not to worry too much because I knew Jamie was all around, always around, always there for me, and thank God he was again,” he said “But I was worried.” and they said “Well you know, Mr. President, did you know that way back in the day he used to watch a movie called Code of the Secret Service and that's what made him become a Secret Service agent?” Man, President Reagan says “Man, I do know that.” He kind of smiled to himself. He said “Man, and while I'm speaking of that issue,” he said “I have to tell you that movie is absolutely terrible.” He said the acting is absolutely horrific, and he said I'm not even sure, and they said “Well Mr. president, why do you think they had the movie. He said “Well everybody's got to eat.” He said “Well, how did you know the acting was so bad?” He said “Well I ought to know, I was the one playing The Secret Service agent.” Man, my brothers and sisters in Christ, all that worry was for no reason. 
  3. That is exactly that gospel. My brothers and sisters in Christ, did you listen to our Savior speak? Do not, do not, do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God, have faith also in me. In my father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not what I've told you, then I'm going to go ahead of you and prepare a place for you, and if I go ahead of you, and I prepare a place for you, I will come back, I will come back. I will come back and take you there myself, so that where you are I am, I am, and then you know the way. Thomas says “Master, we don't know the way.” “Thomas I'm of all people. I'm the way, the truth, I'm the life. My brothers and sisters in Christ, now listen. You're a first century Jew, and you need to understand how this conversation comes about. If you and I were there when this conversation takes place, with Thomas and Phillip and the apostles, my brothers and sisters in Christ, then you and I would only have to go back to the Last Supper. Now remember, the Apostles are not sure what is to come, but you can see there might be an exalted understanding of their position, that a little more fame and fortune may be coming their way, and what the good Lord is trying to do is say “No, that's not quite it.” So how does he begin? He puts on an apron and begins to wash their feet, and begins to tell them “No you're not going to start up here, you're gonna start out on the floor.” and then Peter's having the conversation with the Lord “If your gonna wash my feet then wash my head.” and he's telling Peter “Peter, you need to stay focused.” You can tell the anxiety is starting to grow in the room. They're starting out on the bottom. And then all of a sudden, he talks to them that he's going to be crucified, and that he'll be beaten and scourged, and man, all of a sudden, man, the anxiety is rising even more. Then, he tells them that there's one of you is going to deny me. Now the anxieties coming up almost to above their heads, and then he's got to tell Peter you're going to deny me three times. My brothers and sisters in Christ, the anxiety is off the top. The meter is pegged, and as a result their anxiety and worry is so great they can't even function. Now stop, on the side note, my brothers and sisters in Christ oftentimes you hear the term that there's many mansions in heaven. That's actually a poor translation. My brothers and sisters in Christ, actually he's talking about a room. He's talking about an area. He definitely does not use that word to describe a mansion. My brothers and sisters in Christ, why he's talking to them, and also you need to make sure you understand this, Thomas isn't the only one in the conversation. When Thomas says “Master, I mean, I don't know the way.” and Christ says “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” You know what the irony is? When the good Lord went to see Martha and Mary and they asked the Lord “If you'd been here, my brother wouldn't have died.” Thomas is with them when he says “I'm the way, the truth, and the life.” This is now the second time he's heard it. And Philip, My brothers and sisters in Christ, if you and I are there when he's explaining to Philip, you had to know that the good Lord must have taken a step back, and look not just at Philip but all of the Apostles and said “Are you not devout Jews? Surely you know Scripture. You want to see the Father in heaven. You all know that that's not possible. Go back and look at the story of Moses on the mountain, and the glory cloud would come down. Did Moses not ask to see God the Father, and the only thing that he was going to be able to see was his back as he walked by? In other words, I can't allow you to see his face because if you do then you're now in heaven, and you're no longer here. What if you're Elijah? He's looking at Philip and wanting to say “What if you had been Elijah? When you're up in the mountains looking for me in the earthquakes and the rains and the Thunder and the lightning, and then you hear me in the whisper of the wind, and you had to veil your face so that you wouldn't see me, but yet you asked me can I see the father.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, Philip and Thomas are so worried. Do you ever ask yourself why nobody ever says doubting Philip? But yet they all doubted, all the Apostles, my brothers and sisters in Christ. The worry had gotten so great. 
  4. Go back in Scripture, all of our best players are warriors, but it doesn't change the fact that they had to get over it. My brothers and sisters in Christ, Martha and Mary, their brother Lazarus is dying. He’s sickly. Two days into his sickness, they send for the good Lord. The good Lord purposely waits till day four. That means Lazarus had to be dead for four days. Why? Because the Jews believed that you can resuscitate somebody up to three days. The good Lord wants to make sure that everybody knows that when he tells Lazarus to come out, man, he is dead. This is why he tells the Apostles, because they got confused. You remember the story. Before he goes to Martha and Mary they wait a couple more days. Then he sits with Thomas and the Apostles and he says we need to return. Thomas says master I'll go and die with you because he knows if he goes back to the city, there's people that want to stone him, yet nobody remembers Thomas ever saying those words. Remember this, Thomas was speared to death. When he gets back into the city, Martha and Mary come out to him at two different times with the same questions. “Lord have you been here my brother wouldn't have died.” and you could see the Lord if what do you mean “Well Lord if you'd been here we were sending messages for you. I mean if we were in day two he was gone and now it's day four. If you just been here.” “Martha, Mary, I'm the way. I’m the truth. I’m the life. Take me to the tomb.” He's been to the tomb a hundred times. He's been on their grounds a hundred times. He's been in their house a hundred times. He doesn't want anybody to believe that he manipulated anything, so they take him and when they roll it back, what does Martha and Mary still say? They're still worried. Lord if you open the thing up y'all are worried that the smell is just gonna be horrific, and then he tells for him to come out, and he calls him by name. “Lazarus, come out.” They worried for four days, and for absolutely no reason because he's the way, and the truth, and the life. My brothers and sisters in Christ, go back to Peter. Man, think about the first time Peter ever meets our Savior. He meets him in a boat. It's at night. It's late. Peter's been net fishing, and as a result the good Lord gets in his boat it's the third or fourth hour, and as a result of it they go out on the lake. Peter doesn't want anything to do with it. And then next thing the good Lord tells him “Throw your nets over.” Peter throws his net. There's so many fish that Peter drops in the boat and says depart for me Lord I'm a sinful man. They're in the same boat, and it's just two of them. He's teaching Peter you're worried about things of which you have no control. All things come through me, and so he's teaching Peter well it's just them two. The next time they're in the boat there's a storm going up. Where is the good Lord? Asleep in the bow within arm's reach. Man, the storm is so great Peter thinks I'm a fisherman. I'm not gonna wake up a carpenter. Why? I don't need a boat built I can manage. I've been on the sea my entire life. I am the consummate fisherman. And as a result, the storm is so great. Lord do you mind, we're about to perish. He has faith only because the good Lord is right there. That's why he's not consumed with so much anxiety and can't function because the Lord is within arm's reach. The good Lord gets up and rebukes the wind. Now, to rebuke an inanimate object there must be something in the wind, otherwise why would you rebuke it? There must have been some diabolical aspect. And at the end of the day, he calms it to such a point and looks at them as if to say “And your worry was what again?” The next time Peters is in a boat the good Lord is some 50 yards or so off the bow. Lord, if it is you tell me to come. “Come Peter.” Now give him his due, he does walk a little bit. 11 other guys in that boat nobody moves but the fact of the matter is he turns his head because the wind blows. His worry and anxiety grows. He totally had forgotten that he had the nerve to step out of the boat. He had the nerve to continue to walk, and the fact that matters, my brother and sisters in Christ, anxiety and worry became so great the good Lord had to immediately reach down and save him and pull him up. And they do walk back to the boat, nowhere does it say the good Lord carried him. The next time Peters is in a boat, he's by himself. He doesn't even recognize the Lord on the shore. This is after the crucifixion and resurrection, and he says “Children, have you caught anything?” Peter and the Apostles yell out “No.” He said “Throw to the right. Throw towards me. They catch so many fish it about sinks the boat, and then when someone yells out- John- “It's the Lord,” Peter has absolutely no worries. he swims 100 yards, a football field, to get to our Savior. The good Lord was teaching Peter that you're going to continue to have faith. You’ve got to get rid of that anxiety. You controlled it because I was in front of you in the boat, when I was in the bow of the boat, when you saw me off the starboard in about 50 yards, and now you recognize me and you swam 100 yards to get to me. He says you need to stop that worry and anxiety. My brothers and sisters in Christ, they fed 5000 men. That's 15000 men, women, and children, remember the Jews only count the men, with five loaves of bread and two fish. He multiplies it and then Christ feeds the twelve, and then the twelve feed the 5000 or 15000 people. Remember, Christ does not feed any of the individuals. He's getting them used to the fact that he is now going to feed the twelve, and then when he leaves the twelve will continue to feed you. Man, if they didn't worry about feeding 15000 people, then why any worry or anxiety at all, and that's how it's been for Martha and Mary, for Mary Magdalene who went to the tomb, and Peter himself. 
  5. So my brothers and sisters in Christ, here you and I sit 2000 years later. How much of your day is spent in worry? How much of your week is spent in worry? How much of the month is spent in worry? How much of your life do you spend in worry? Every minute of every second of every day, If you counted up the minutes that you spend in worry, how much time is it? Is it in your conversations? Is it in your prayers? Is it in your thoughts? Is it the way you walk around town? Is it shown in your actions and your words? My brothers and sisters in Christ, that is the problem. We are worriers, and for all the wrong reasons. My brothers and sisters in Christ, how much time you and I spend worrying about money, whether or not we're going to be able to make the payment on the house, whether we can make the mortgage, make the rent, we're going to make the car note, am I going to keep the lights burning, am I gonna be able to pay the bills, am I going to be furloughed, am I going to be laid off, am I going to take a cut in pay? How much of your day in the past month hasn't been spent worrying and consumed about money? That's what he's trying to get to you about. Nothing happens and until it comes from the good Lord. Not a hair on your head gets touched. So, if you're consumed about paying the bills, the mortgage, and the rent, and the car, and this job, and a furlough, and lack of money, he's telling you “You must come to me.” Let me ask you how much time do you spend worrying about your job? Will it be open? Will it remain? Will we get the contract? Will we not? Will they move me along? Do I need to go somewhere else? Will the schools open? Will they not? How much time do you spend worrying about the doctor's appointment? I got the test. I got to get to the doctor. I ain't consumed with waiting for the results. I got to make sure and get to him, and even if I get good results, I still worry about the next test which is coming. My brothers and sisters in Christ, don't you see? That's the point. You and I are consumed with worry. We're worried about relationships. We are worried about our families. We are worried about our children. We're worried about whether or not they're going to make it or they're not. Are they going to marry this person or not? Should they be dating or not? Are they on drugs or alcohol? We are so consumed with worry, you and I cannot function. And the good Lord is saying “Enough. Enough. Worry has no place in here.” Everything begins and ends with Jesus Christ. Not a hair on your head will get touched until he's ordained it. Not a bird can fall from the sky until he's ordained it, and if he brought you to it, he will bring you through it. The fact that matter is you and I have no faith. That is where the problem lies. The more we worry the less faith we have. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I'll tell you this. CK Chesterton wrote a book. CK Chesterton wrote a book called Screwtape Letters. The story takes place between Lucifer and his son, if you will, and as a result of it, he's talking to his son about how to affect you and I. As a result of it, his son is saying “Dad, I got this.” he said “Son, listen to me.” he said “No dad, I got it. I'm gonna get this group of people with pride. Then, I'm gonna get that other group over there in the back that's anger. I'm gonna get that group that's toward the middle now I'm gonna get them with lust. I'll get the group in the back corner I'll get them with sloth. I'll get this other group with envy, and I'll get this other one with avarice- money.” He said “Son, what happens if those groups that you named don't get hit by that demon? What if pride needs to be over there where gluttony, and gluttony needs to be where lust is, and lust needs to be where sloth is, and sloth needs to be where money is at?” he said “You want to get these people? All you got to do is steal their peace. Get them to worry son, and you'll get them all.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, listen to me. When you worry, you take counsel with the evil one. He hates you. The very mention of your name causes him to spit. You've been made in the image of Jesus Christ, and as such he knows that if he puts the thought in your head, you will consume it. That is very expensive real estate up there, so why do you give him so much time. You allow them to roam free. You and I worry about anything and everything. It's incessant to a point that we can't sleep. My brothers and sisters in Christ, we can't eat, or we eat too much, or we worry about this. We can't even have a beautiful night out. We can't even go walk. We can't even pray. My brothers and sisters in Christ, listen to me, three people can put thoughts into your head. He can, you and I can, and so can he, and he's gonna put that thought in there thats going to consume you to worry. And at the end of the day, he wants you to worry. He absolutely has no say on this. He cannot control what happens or doesn't. He does not have the final say. My brothers and sisters in Christ, he hates you so much that he will actually make it up and make it a lie, put it in your head, and hope you buy it, and guess what. We do, and that is the problem. You walk out these doors today, you will turn off that television back at home. Today, if you walk out of here and in this mass with the same words that we had when we started it, you have made one of three mistakes. You have forgotten that this is God's house, you have forgotten that He is God and we are not, or worse you took it back. You gave him the worry and anxiety only to take it back as you went out to your car- you turned off the television. You've allowed the devil back into the real estate. My brothers and sisters in Christ, do you know that of all the prayers we say in mother church, in every country, every hour of every day, in every language, we only pray for one human emotion, and you know it's amazing? We say the prayer every mass, and then we just say it, and it's only because tell me God doesn't know his children. Deliver us Lord from every evil. Grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us free from sin. Protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ. It's the only human emotion we pray about, worry. 
  6. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I'll leave you with this. Worry, worry is worshiping the problem. Worry is worshipping the problem. Cut it loose and let it go. All things come from the Messiah. He brings you to it, he'll bring you through it.
  7. Amen.



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