2017 Homilies (Written)

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John 17:1-11a; 5-24-2020 (As Built; Amite #400)

 

  1. Anyway. It was never between you and them, it was always between you in him, anyway.
  2. It's the 1970s. His name is Allen. Allen lives in Englewood, New Jersey. He's one of three kids. His mom... well she's a travel agent. His dad owns a little bookstore. He does a little singing on the side, but that's just- that's just to make ends meet. As a result, they do okay, but if you were to ask them to describe Allen and ten words or less, you would have heard man he is focused, he is driven, he's like a laser. I guess maybe it was the blue eyes and the focus that maybe gave him so much of a concentration, but I digress. In high school, he was the consummate athlete. He was the star of the football team. He gets a scholarship to Columbia and Allen's got to make a decision, but he never thought it would come to be. He got a scholarship to play football, but for some reason Allen loved the theater. He goes up to Columbia. The season’s about the start- Spring practices. He’s coaches, he's got recruits, he's got alumni, and, man, they're telling him we can't wait for you to join in. It's all about the team. And Allen said “Well, it's really not. It's really about what I think I need to do, and someday for my family, anyway, but I thank you for your consideration.” He leaves school because he wants to be part of the play “Oklahoma”. He literally goes to the University of Oklahoma, Allen does. He get a part in the play, and I got to tell you, he's pretty good. As a matter of fact, he's so good in the play that people start to recruit him to come do their plays. “Grapes of Wrath”, “Streetcar named Desire” there was even one called “Balaam”, and I got to tell you he knocked it out the park. He's so good, as a matter of fact, that he's decided that, man, if I'm good at the theater maybe I should try TV. Well, they come to him and say “Wait, you can't go to television because, well, the financier is need you at the theater, your friends need you at the theater, I mean the actors and the producers need you at the theater.” and he said “Wait, wait a minute, wait a minute, I hear you, but it's not just about y'all is it? I mean it's about me too, anyway.” So he goes and he gets on a couple of series. He gets, and I don't know if y’all remember, Barnaby Jones. There was a series called Chips Rockford Files. Well, man, bits and pieces. Next thing you know he gets a chance to play in a movie called Coma. Exactly. It takes, but the problem is somebody saw it in a good way and said “Man, we need you in movies.” By this time he's married. Well the people on the TV series, man we, Allen, we can't let you go because, man, we have an income. We have endorsements. We have other actors. They need you in the shows.” and he said “Wait a minute, it's not just about you and them, it's about me and my family, anyway.” As a result, man, he starts getting in movies, and he gets in movies that maybe at first didn't seem very popular. One was called Jacknife. Another one that he got involved in which did okay was, it was just a little bitty miniseries. But of all people Clint Eastwood sees him and gets him in the movie Absolute Power. Clint Eastwood plays a jewel thief and Allen plays a detective trying to catch him. Next thing you know he's in the movie called the Firm with Tom Cruise. He's playing this FBI agent that's trying to help, if you will, kind of catch Tom Cruise in a way. Well, man, next thing you know when he gets done with Tom Cruise, he jumps to Tom Hanks. He's in Apollo 13 he plays Allen Krantz, the man that's the head of the whole Apollo system. And as a result of it, man, his popularity begins to grow. He's in national treasure with Nicolas Cage. My brothers and sisters in Christ, he's even in the movie Alcatraz with Nicolas Cage, and you know him as Ed Harris then again, you may not know him as Ed Harris. My brothers and sisters in Christ, he also played Black Bart in a whole different life prior to when all of this ever got started. You know what's amazing is they interviewed him not long ago, and somebody made the comment to him “Mr. Harris, you know when you play football it was about the competition. It was about you versus them,” he said “When you're an actor is it still that way?” He said “No, it's not that way. It's never been that way. It's always been about competition within myself, anyway. 
  3. That is exactly what the Gospel is about. The good Lord is trying to tell his apostles “You worshipped me, but you doubted. You doubted because you think it's between you and the Pharisees, you and the Sadducees, you and the essenes, you and the zealots. You worried about Caesar, you worried about Pilate, you’re worried about Herod, you're worried about the Romans.” He said “It's never between you and them. It's always been between you and me, anyway.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, think about it. He takes 11 men and they go up a mountain. He gets up in the mountain, they worship Him, but they doubted. And then he says to them “All power, y'all listen to me, all power, all has been given to me, from the center of the earth, to the surface, to the rocks, to the trees, to the sky, to the birds, to the stars, to the planets, to the angels above. All has been given to me. Go therefore baptize all nations, and I need you to baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.I want you to teach them to observe all of they have commanded. I've been with you and will be with you to the end of time. Now stop, you’re a first century Jew. You're either looking for the Messiah, or you have reason to believe that he might be the Messiah. My brothers and sisters in Christ, just make sure you understand how this conversation is taking place. They are up on a mountain. Every first century Jew knows anybody that goes up the mountains gonna be tied to Christ. Moses goes up a mountain, talks to God, breaks the Ten Commandments. Elijah goes up a mountain, ends up talking to God directly, and actually has to veil his face. My brothers and sisters in Christ, they have the Transfiguration where Peter, James, and John see Christ transfigured. For them to go up a mountain as a first century Jew explains to you and I there must be so significance. Maybe this guy, Christ, is God. My brothers and sisters in Christ, when they go up a mountain and all of a sudden, remember my brothers and sisters in Christ, whenever you hear anything to do with a cloud that has to do with worship, divine worship. That means Christ is divine. Only God can be in a cloud. Go back in the Psalms, go back to the prophet Daniel. Everybody speaks to the cloud as a means of transportation, if you will, for God. My brothers and sisters in Christ, you got to make sure you understand the words that he uses. When he says worship, that means they either layed down, they knelt, or they bowed. Only people who believe Christ could be the Messiah would have done that. That's why you and I as Catholics when we come into the church we genuflect before the tabernacle. This is the reason we kneel during the consecration, because we're before him. That's the whole point. So for them to worship, he caught them, and this is what bothered Christ, is you worshiped me, you lay prostrate, you knelt, you bowed, and then you doubted, and it's more than just Thomas doubting. My brothers and sisters in Christ, when you hear the words “I will be with you until the end of time.” He's not saying that once time ends, good luck to you, nice knowing you, I wish you the best of luck. To the Greeks, to the Jews the Greek word is heos which means once I say this time, it's irrelevant what happens over here. I only want you to focus on this point backwards. I will be with you until it is time for you to come home in which I will judge you and separate the sheeps from the goats. I'm going to be with you because I'm leaving and you're gonna start to doubt. This is why, my brothers and sisters in Christ, as Catholics when you hear  the scriptural passage Mary did not have relations with Joseph until she bore him a child. If you and I read it in English 2000 years we're gonna assume that they had relations because until means to change the point and direction. It does not to a Jew, and never did to someone who knew Greek. He's saying only focus on the point that comes beforehand. My brothers and sisters in Christ, isn’t it amazing that he brings eleven apostles up to the mountain? And here's what you're not being told, they're not the only eleven there. Matthias is there. Barnabus is there. The only reason Matthias could become the twelfth apostle is because he's there during the crucifixion, the resurrection, and the Ascension. He's a first-hand witness, that's what apostle means. Only the twelve have experienced everything including the blind see, the lame walk, and the dead rise. My brothers and sisters in Christ, this gospel is so powerful. Listen when he tells the Apostles go therefore and make disciples of all nations, listen listen, teaching them, teaching them to observe what I commanded you. He never said teaching them to observe what I wrote in the Bible. In other words do as I do and say as I say. Teaching them is what we call in Scripture the Great Commission. Go and do what you saw me do and teach them to do the same. My brothers and sisters in Christ, this flies in the face of Sola scriptura, where it's Scripture alone. Does scripture ever describe the Trinity? Does it ever use the word Trinity? Not hardly. Does it ever use the word until about Peters death? No it doesn't. It doesn't tell most of the Apostles’ deaths. Am I to assume that Peter and some of the Apostles are alive? My brothers and sisters in Christ, it doesn't explain the word Purgatory either, but guess what, Purgatory's an English word. That books written in Greek. You got to make sure that you study scripture. You study for everything that it's worth. You get everything out of it. He's telling them to go do what you saw me to do- our traditions and teachings. My brothers and sisters in Christ, do you know why he said it? Did you listen carefully? Did you hear him? Go there and baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. He never said in the name of the Father, in the name of the son, and in the name of the Holy Spirit because if he does that then we have three different names and three different Gods. This is why he only says in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is why I can't baptize in the name of the creator, redeemer, and sanctifier because you're saying one created, one redeemed, and one sanctified. This is why it's so important that we be careful of the words. Do you understand that Christ must flee. He must go because he's going to give us salvific grace, faith, hope, and love so that we will have faith in Him, hope to see him, and one day love as he loves. If he stays here on Earth, there will be no need to have faith because he's right there. There's no need to hope, you can touch him. You just learn how to love more. This is why he must go because you and I come over this day we're going home on this day. Everything in between the day you come in the world and the day you and I go home is nothing more than a test that you will have faith in him, that you will hope to stand before him to hear the immortal words “Welcome home my child. Job well done. Welcome to the table of all of my saints.”, and that you and I were loved like he asked Peter to love. “Peter, do you love me?” 
  4. My brothers and sisters in Christ, go back in Scripture. All of our best players knew that it was never between them and anybody. It was only between them and Jesus Christ. Longinus, the one who stabbed our Savior, can you imagine how it must have been for him? Put yourself in his shoes. You are the Centurion. Pilate doesn't have a chance of controlling of those crowds without this guy. Everybody, even the soldiers, respected this guy Longinus. When his word was spoken, I believe even to a greater point than Pilate. If Pilate said go left and he said go right, boy, I would love to see how that played out. For him to do what he did at the crucifixion, imagine. I want you to take this man, lead him through the streets. 100 soldiers will be around Jesus Christ. There will be a town crier in front calling out all the despicable crimes of the three. Your job is to get him one mile through the town and crucify him. How is it that you can go your whole life being a Centorian. You've got the respect of legions of men. You get him up on the crucifix, and you stab him, and then you say truly that man was the son of God. He realized that it was not between him and Pilate, him and his friends, all the people that he fought. This whole time it's been the relationship between him and him. My brothers and sisters in Christ, if you're Paul, do you think Paul's worried about what the Sadducees think of him? Or the Pharisees? Or the zealots? Or the Essenes? You think Paul really cares about what other Christians think of him? Or the twelve think of him? Paul knows that the relationship is between him and Jesus Christ, anyway. It has nothing to do with anybody else because at the end of the day I’m only gonna stand before Christ, so it really doesn't matter what anybody else has to say. The argument is not with the Romans. It is not with the Greek. It's not with the Persians. It’s not with the Babylonians. It's not with the Sanhedrin. It really doesn't matter because at the end of the day I'm checking out on this day and my judgment will be immediate. There will be no negotiations. There will be no barter. There will be no mediation, arbitration, or excuses. Paul is the consummate understanding of the way and the truth and the life. 
  5. My brothers and sisters in Christ, here you and I sit 2000 years later. Don't you understand? The conversation and the argument it's not between you and your competitor, it's not between you and your neighbor, or you and your doctor, or you and your spouse, or you and your children, or your neighbors, or the people who work, or your co-workers and your boss, the whole problem is between you and God. The problem is you and I think the relationship is this way. It was never was. It was never intended to be. He is God and we are not, thank God. The relationship is this way. It's covenential. He established seven covenants with mankind. He established it with Adam and Noah, Abraham and Moses, King David, the good Lord, and heaven itself. Blessed are the poor in spirit, the first beatitude. If all you have per say is just a personal relationship with a divine being, then you have flown in the face the first beatitude. Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are those who have a childlike reverence for God. Blessed are those who fear the Lord. They know that they have disappointed him in their sins, and they just can't stand before him and accept that. My brothers and sisters in Christ, don't you see? It has nothing to do with the email, it's got nothing to do with the text message, it's got nothing to do with that, it has everything to do with Christ. It's not between you and me, it's between you and him, anyway. Before you send that email, that text message, respond to a conversation, talk to your boss, your coworker, your children, your spouse, before you talk to your neighbor, can I tell you the conversation should first be between you and him, anyway. That is why he says “I am the way, this way, I'm the truth and the life.” Martha and Mary come to him. “Lord if you’d been here my brother wouldn't have died.” Martha, Mary I’ve been here for three years. Three years you've walked with me. The blind see, the lame walk, the dead rise” “But yeah, but lord I know that on the last day we’re (audio cuts) but my brother has died.” Can you imagine their thoughts when he says “Lazarus, come out.” Man, if I had just not said those words. If I hadn't sent that email, wrote that letter, picked up that phone call, if I hadn't judged those people, or condemned them. My brothers and sisters in Christ, don't judge anyone. You know not the crosses behind those doors. They are so big and profound your jaw would drop, your head would spin, your knees would wobble, and you’d drop to the ground and beg God to forgive you that you ever pass judgment. I hear confessions all day, every day, and twice on Sunday. I'm telling you there's things behind those doors that would make you say thank God in heaven that it's not me. 
  6. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I'll leave you with this. People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. You forgive them anyway. If you are happy, people will be jealous of you. You be happy anyway. If you are honest, people will try to cheat you. You be honest anyway. If you are successful you earn false friends and true enemies. You succeed anyway. If you're kind people were telling you that you have selfish motives. Be kind anyway. Give the best you have. Give till it hurts because at the end of the day it was never between you and them. It was between you and him anyway. 
  7. Amen.

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