2017 Homilies (Written)

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John 14:15-21; 5-17-2020 (As Built; Amite #399)

  1. Resilient. Can you take a hit? Take a left-handed compliment? Can you withstand a punch? Resilient. 
  2. If I were to ask you “Who had the most popular hands in the world?” I wonder what you might say. If I were to ask you “Who had the third most popular hands in the world?” I wonder what you would think. One might say “Well father, it's the hand in the movie “The Passion” that held the nail into the palm of Christ before they struck it.” Could be. If I ask you “Who had the second most popular hands in the world?” someone may say “Well father, in the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel there are these two hands. There are two fingers only inches apart.” But if I asked you again “Who the most popular hands in the world would be?” I wonder, I wonder what you would say. It's the 1500s. His name is Mr. Duer. He is the most resilient man in all of Germany. That has to be the most hard-working man Germany has ever seen. There's nothing he can't do, there's nothing he won't do. This man can do. He needs to. 18 children, I wish you could see the ladies faces up here, I'm just telling you, 18 mouths to feed not counting him and mama. He worked all day, every day, twice on Sunday. If you were to ask Mr. Duer “Tell me what you did for a living.” He said “Well, for the practical end I'm a goldsmith, but if you want to make a living today and feed some 18 mouths, you better be a coal miner. You better be mining some coal.” and Imma tell you there was nobody more resilient that man to make sure that he can take care of his children, his wife, himself. But I gotta tell you, his oldest son, Albert, chip off the old block. That boy could take a hit. That boy could persevere. He was absolutely the carbon copy of resilient. They are sleeping one night, 18 of them, in one bed. Albert's the oldest. He leans over to his next youngest brother and says “Tomorrow, tomorrow after Mass, tomorrow after Mass,” making sure you Catholics caught that, he said “we're gonna flip a coin. Whoever wins will go to school, the academy, where you'll learn a trade. Maybe you’ll be an artist, a sculptor, a painter. You will do something and whoever goes will make a living, and when they graduate they’ll come back and get the other one of us who lost the flip.” His brother said “No, we can't do it that way. We're going to stay and work together.” He said “No, we can't because if we keep doing this we're just going to end up in the same spot. Tomorrow after mass we flip a coin.” Albert makes sure that his brother wins the flip, sends his brother to school. I can tell you, this man is a talent. He was a protege long before he got started. He was a household name in Germany, and he hadn't even finished the academy. There's not a painting he couldn't do, a sculpture he couldn't make, nothing he couldn't do with construction or art. As a matter of fact, by the time he graduated, he was already selling items more than you could ever imagine. He did a painting of Adam and Eve, second-to-none. My brothers and sisters in Christ, he did a painting of animals in the forest. You only thought Adam and Eve was a good painting. Man, by the time he gets out he decides it's time to return home. They can't believe it. The quote prodigal son is coming home, man, a household name around the United States and even around Germany. As a result of such, they welcome him home. Man, his brothers are there, Albert, they welcome him. He stands up and before they get started, he said “Let me make sure my family and parents understand. I want to thank my brother Albert for if he doesn't do what he does, then I can't be what I can be. I want us to stand and give praise and thanks to the good Lord, but also to thank Albert for what he did, and to raise our glasses to him.” As a result, Albert stands up and says “All we need to do is pray. I can't even lift my glass. You see, my hands have been broken so much that I've broken every finger at least once. I've got enough arthritis that I can't even hold the glass, but man your consideration is more than you know.” He said “Albert, let me do something for you so that people will recognize you. You know that hand in the movie the passion that's holding the nail, the third most popular hands in the world, is Mel Gibson. The hands that were used at the Sistine Chapel to show God the father's hand and Adam’s hand, that gap in between (audio cuts) free will (audio cuts) might as well be a (audio cuts), those are Leonardo da Vinci's hands. And the most popular hands in the world, the ones that you see in every gift shop, every time you see it on billboards, you see it in stores, you see it in churches, you see it in synagogues, you see it in every denomination. It’s a set of praying hands. Those hands are not the hands of Jesus Christ, those are the hands of Albert Duer, absolutely resilient is why we have it today. 
  3. That is exactly what that gospel is about. I will not leave you orphans. I will send the Holy Spirit, The Advocate, and he will be with you. Now, they will not see me, they will no longer recognize me, they will not see the Holy Spirit because they do not know him, but I will be in you and you will be in me, and if you keep my Commandments, I'll be with you till the very end of times. I will not leave you orphans. You must be resilient because people will not see me, nor see or understand me, and much less you, but you must finish what we have started. Now stop, you’re a first century Jew. you and I are at the Last Supper. This is when this conversation takes place. He is in a room, according to the Saints, about 35-40. It's got a table in there that's in the shape of a U. The good Lord sat at the top, Judas sat in the middle of the U, and the Apostles sat around the side. He has now decided to wash their feet. He has had a conversation with Peter that not only do I need to wash your feet, Peter says wash my hands too, and he says no Peter that's not necessary in your head as well. He's already said that somebody's going to betray him, Judas has got up and left, and he's told Peter that you're going to deny him, and now he's telling them “You must keep my Commandments.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, they are not sticky notes. They are not guidelines. They're not suggestions. There's just not ways to think about on your route. They are commands. He wrote them twice in stone, and just so you know, they were written all the way around the commandments. There's writing on both sides. He wrote them twice because Moses broke them when he came down the mountain and they were worshiping the golden calf. He needed another set to go inside the tabernacle. My brothers and sisters in Christ, do you understand, if you do not know the commandments, then how is it you plan on keeping them? Let me ask you another way. Do you think the people in heaven know the commandments? Do you think they learned them after they got there, or do you think you had to learn them before they got there? And if you didn't learn them before you got there, then you would have never even made purgatory so therefore you and I would have had to learn them now. My brothers and sisters in Christ, the first three Commandments deal with our relationship with  God. The next seven deal with our relationship with one another. Of all the commandments, remember this. If you break anything from the numbers two through ten, you broke the first one. You can't say I love God with my whole heart, mind, and soul and then turn around and say I have missed Mass, I have cursed, I've disobeyed my parents, I murder, adultery, steal, bear false witness, coveted the neighbors goods and spouse. You break any of those, you broke the first one. There is only one commandment that's contingent. You do this, man children listen to me, and this will happen. You don't do this and I assure you there will be a price to pay. The problem is you and I only know the front half, Honor your mother and father. You know the rest of the commandment? Honor your mother and father and you live a long life in the land that I've given you. Dishonor them and your life will be tumultuous. That is the whole commandment. It's the only one that's contingent. The good Lord is telling them if you don't know these Commandments, and in the words of St. John the Apostle, “If you say you love him but you do not know the commandments,” his words not mine, “you're a liar.” How many do you know? That's the problem. 
  4. My brothers and sisters in Christ, throughout the history of mankind our greatest players are those who are resilient. There is nobody more resilient than Peter himself. My brothers and sisters in Christ, think for a second. You are Peter. The first time you meet Christ you're in a boat. You've been fishing all night. He comes out to the pier. He steps in your boat as you're coming in and says “Let's go out again.” You've got a carpenter that stepped in your boat and is telling you how to fish. Can you imagine what's going through Peter’s head when he says throw the nets out? “Oh, imma throw them out. Oh yeah, man, they're gonna catch a boat load.” Exactly right, a boatload indeed, and as a result of such, Peter drops in the boat and says “Depart me Lord. I am a sinful man.” You know what’s amazing? How many of you and I wiped in would have just got out of the boat and pray to God that we never cross paths again. That we’re so embarrassed that it happened. That there wasn't people here near us, thank God, so I'd be embarrassed even more. The next time Peter is in a boat, there's a storm coming up, and all of a sudden, Peter is doing all he can do. Then, he gets frustrated because the good lord is asleep in the bow. I mean, what do I need a carpenter for? To build a boat? Man, all of a sudden “Lord, do you mind? We are about to parish.” The good Lord gets up and rebukes the wind. Listen, he rebukes the wind. The wind is inanimate. For him to rebuke an inanimate object, there must be something in the wind that was animate, i.e. the evil one, hence why he rebuked it. That’s why he rebukes demons. My brothers and sisters in Christ, Peter is so resilient that he just lets it fall off of his back. How do you and I know he’s resilient? Because the next time he's in a boat, and the good Lord is standing out, and he says “Lord if it is you tell me to come.” “Come Peter, Come.” He begins to walk. He does walk on water, but when that wind blows and that head turns, man, all of a sudden, he begins to drop, and then he begins to sink, that he's exasperated, he calls for help. My brothers and sisters in Christ, how embarrassing could it have been that you think you could walk on water? Notwithstanding, there's other guys that boat. Nobody budged, but at the end of the day Peter is resilient. Do you know the next time that he's in a boat? It's after the resurrection. He had been fishing all night with six other apostles. He sees the good Lord but he doesn't recognize him. The good Lord yells out “Children, have you caught anything?” “No.” “Throw to the right. Throw to me.” They catch so many fish John says “It's the Lord.” Only Peter jumps in the water and swims a football field, a hundred yards, just to be next to a charcoal fire. Here's the irony, the reason they use the word charcoal, it's only been used twice in Scripture. The same place that he denied Savior three times, and now he's going by the same type of fire so that the good Lord can ask him in front of other people, the Apostles. “Peter, do you love me?” “Well, yes Lord.” “Peter, do you, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord, yes I do.” “Peter, do you love me?” He said “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” “Yes, and that you will learn to love me Peter, albeit upside down.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, you can say what you want about Peter, that man is absolutely resilient. He actually called him Satan one time when Peter disagreed with him. Not like you're a bad guy Peter, you misunderstood, it's just complicated, it's over your head, he called you Lucifer yet Peter keeps taking the hits. They said he cried so much on the day of the crucifixion that the tears that he cried and the creases in his cheeks remained 33 years later till his death on the cross. You don't think Peter went anywhere in scripture to talk to people and somebody doesn't yell out “Well aren't you a piece of work. I mean, really? Here you are telling us what to do and not to do, and you denied our Savior. He called you Lucifer. He tried to get him to wash your whole body. You try to walk on water.” Peter can take a hit because he knows what it means to disappoint our Lord over and over and over again, but he's absolutely resilient and not giving up. I would love to meet the Peter of the year 66. On the way to his crucifixion according to tradition, he turns to his wife who was martyred that day according to the saints and said “Go with God.” That's the Peter I want to meet. Could there be anybody equally as powerful and resilient than Mary Magdalene? She had all seven demons. I mean, nobody in scripture- you've got one, pride, anger, gluttony, lust, avarice, sloth, and envy. You might have one, maybe two, maybe got the trifecta. Seven? Do you even have an essence of your own? She has all seven demons. My brothers and sisters in Christ, she is so devoted to Christ, when she is finally exercised, she'd rather be near a “dead Savior” quote/unquote than alive people on Easter Sunday. Not even the Apostles went to the tomb. My brothers and sisters in Christ, don't you see? She's got to go by soldiers that took advantage of her. She's got to go by a rock that she can't budge. She's got to break a seal that Pilate sealed himself, and as a result of it, she doesn't care. Say what you want, do what you want, I will be here. I will finish what I have started. He is the Messiah. First to see the risen Christ, even before Peter himself. 
  5. My friends in Christ, 2000 years later, how resilient are you? How resilient are you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, when you get into that argument with your spouse? Are you resilient enough to not let it become personal? Are you resilient enough, my brothers and sisters in Christ, when you get into a disagreement with your spouse, that at the end of today, even though you were not wrong, you apologized for the peace that did not come to your family? You want to hear the devil laugh? Argue with your children and your spouse. He loves it, and he will go to the edge of the world to drive a wedge between you and your family, between your children and your parents. My brothers and sisters in Christ, how resilient are you, that you will not keep score as if somehow or another you’ve got to win every argument? Can you be resilient enough to walk away without having the last word? Are you resilient enough when somebody else gets credit that you're okay with that? When somebody gives your job to somebody else and they get the credit you're okay with that? Are you resilient enough to take a hit when you know that hit was destined for somebody else, but you can take it and they can't? My brothers and sisters in Christ, how resilient are you in defending our faith? How resilient are you in learning our faith? My brothers and sisters in Christ, is not a complicated faith. We’ve got to stop blaming the church because they didn't teach us. They told us not to read the Bible. They told us that we shouldn't do this, and that we shouldn't do that. It's your soul. Your soul is on the line, and so is mine. At some point I'm responsible for my soul, so you must learn the faith. You must be resilient in wanting to learn the faith. My brothers and sisters in Christ, are you resilient, that even if you wake up on a bad day that you will not share that venom with other people because you are not a morning person? Let me help you. You ain’t an afternoon person either. You wake up on the wrong side of bed of nails and now it's my fault. “Well father, you don't understand that one church says this, one preist says this.” Man, how resilient are you in learning the faith, and digging your heels, and planting your flag? How resilient are you, that when somebody says “Let us pray.” “In the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit.”? How resilient are you in teaching your children to stay the course? Don't you see? At the end of the day, you and I are only going to hear two things. You're either gonna hear “Welcome home my child. Job well done. Boy have I (39:09 audio cuts out) welcome to my table of all of my saints.” or “Depart from me. I know not your name. You didn't acknowledge me in public, and I refuse to acknowledge you before my father. How resilient will you be in sticking to the faith, and defending your family, and keeping your head down, and learning those Commandments. I promise you, it's going to break you back when you least expect it, and there's nothing I'm going to be able to do to help you. They're just ten. 
  6. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I leave you with this, of all people, George Carlin, of all people. The quote had something to do with the devil. My brothers and sisters in Christ, remember the devil is out to get you, and he will go to the ends of the earth to put that thought in your head to get you to argue. He was speaking of the devil when he says “Just because the monkey is off your back, you won the fight, you were resilient, you took the punch, and you moved on, just because the monkey is off your back doesn’t mean the circus left town.” Resilience wins the face, wins the race as well. 
  7. Amen.
  8.  

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