2017 Homilies (Written)

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John 3:16-18; 6-7-2020 (As Built; Amite #402)

 

  1. Signs, most importantly the sign of the Cross. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. 
  2. It's about the Year 1915 and his name is Mr. John Giles. Mr. John Giles. He works for the Indianapolis Star. He is working at his desk and on the corner of his desk, I bet you it's not even a foot tall, is a little doll, and every day he would come in in the morning he would bring the doll and set it in the corner and begin his day, and then at the end of the day he'd go back in his office and he’d pick up the little doll and he would take it home, put it on the counter. Next morning, same routine. It got so predictable of him bringing the little doll and sitting on the corner that people in the office used to stick their head in just to see if he brought it. Then, it got to a point where you didn't want to start your day until you saw the doll, and as a matter of fact they'd say “You know, every time I see that doll,” when the employees would say “it's a sign that all is good. That all will be okay.” As a matter of fact, all the employees started sticking their head in just to say good morning, moreover to the doll than to John. You see, it started with his daughter. His daughter is Marcella. She's about eight years old. They probably lived maybe a block away from work, and as a result of it, man, every Saturday morning she would walk through the little block, go up the steps to see her dad, and she would bring the little doll. You know, carrying it in her arm, the little hands and little feet just hanging over her little forearm, and she would talk to her dad, and her dad used to say “You know, I'm worried about you walking, albeit just a block, block and a half.” She said “Dad, you see the doll. That's the sign that it's all gonna be okay. It's all good.” Well, this goes on for a while, but what John knows is that the life of his daughter is short. She carries a very- she carries a tough cross. Her health is not good. So, one Saturday when it's snowing, she decides to come up. Well, now he's really worried. Man, she comes in. She's got snow in her hair, and on her feet, and on her face and, man, she's flushed, and her hands are cold. They almost look like the fingers are a little blue. Man, she's shaking, but, man, there's that doll drooped over her arm. He comes in and, man, he starts cleaning off her hair, and he tries to warm up her hands, and he blows in ‘em, and then, man, he tries to warm up her cheeks and he says “Marcella, why do you come on such a cold day?” and she says “Dad, you missed the sign. It's the doll. It's gonna be okay.” Well as time would go on and a year later, man, her health started to wane. Pretty soon, John would go home on Saturday and he'd go visit with her and talk to her, and then finally one day she decided I'm gonna make the trip to the office one more time. He's totally surprised. She walks in and she says “Dad, I need a favor from you. Man, he would have moved heaven and earth. She said “My doll doesn't have a face, and since you are a cartoon person,” that's what he did for the Annapolis store “would you mind making something on my doll.” So man, what he did is he took the doll on her little flat face and made a little triangle for a nose, two little black eyes with little lashes underneath, little eyebrows above it, put a little smile on it, put two little red dots on her cheek, and he said “Man, there you go.” Well not long later, Marcella returned home, and as a result of it, he started bringing the doll in and out. Next thing you know, it became so popular they said “Man, would you mind making a cartoon about it. So the next thing you know, he's making a cartoon. You see, the doll, according to the theory, when the little children would sleep, he would wake up and it would do all the things that it needed to do. As a matter of fact, her partner in crime was Andy. Yes Lord, Manna has fallen in Amite. Yes, you know the doll as Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy. 
  3. My brothers and sisters in Christ, that was the sign, and that is exactly what that gospel is about. Every time you watch a football game, somebody's got the sign John 3:16. Basketball games, soccer games, back in the day you would see a guy with rainbow colored hair behind every goal post. My brothers and sisters in Christ, that's the quote. “So God so loved the world that he sent His only Son.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, the point you and I need to understand is, yeah, that's the sign, but the ultimate sign is the sign of the Cross. The problem is you and I are so quick to do it, we don't recognize the power that it brings to the table. My brothers and sisters in Christ, whenever you make the sign of the Cross, you and I are agree that we are doing it in front of a triune God. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and in the Holy Spirit. We are also acknowledging the crucifixion because that is the shape in which it is made. We are also agreeing that when you make the sign of the Cross, in the name of the Father and of the son, that we are sinners and we are now forgiven. That's right. You're talking about forgiveness that comes through Christ and the crucifixion. My brothers and sisters in Christ, go all the way back in time. The sign of the Cross according to Tertullian, he said in the year 200-250 the sign of the Cross was so popular, so popular that it would be uncommon for you not to see it several times through other people during the day. When you wake up, you would make it. You go to bed, you would make it. Before you put on your shoes, after you put on your shoes, you went outside, you make it. You walk inside, you make it again. Before you eat, after you eat, the sign of the Cross had become such a sign. They borrowed it from the prophet Ezekiel in the Old Testament. Remember what Ezekiel said. Ezekiel is the prophet, so you know who he is. He is one of the big four. He's the one that's so dominant. He's the one that said “If you make the sign of the Cross on your forehead,” a taw in Jewish literature in other words, a Jewish letter. It's not an X, it's a T. It's a cross that you will be saved, and therefore when Christ comes and is crucified on a cross, therein lies the correlation. My brothers and sisters in Christ, if Christ dies in the year 33, and it becomes so popular that it's seen everywhere he goes by the Year 200, can you imagine how popular it must have been during the time of the Apostles? It is the sign, my brothers and sisters in Christ, that's the point. Now look, you and I need to understand just how deep that sign resonates with people. You and I need to understand how powerful it means in Scripture to make the sign of the Cross. My brothers and sisters in Christ, when I baptize you and your children I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. I do not baptize you in the name of the Father, and in the name of the son, and in the name of the Holy Spirit. Those are three different names, that means I'd be saying there are three different Gods. This is why I'm very careful with words, because we were baptizing under one name. They are distinct, but they are not separate. If I was to say tongues of fire, if I was to say a dove, if I was to say a cloud that you heard back in the time of Moses, you'd say “Oh, that's the Holy Spirit.” If I told you they call him the Cristus, he was God incarnate, he walked the earth, you say “Oh, that's Christ.” If I would say he's God the Father, then you would say “Well obviously the father.” Go back to Genesis, in the very beginning when the wind blew the waters. That's the start of where the Trinity is exposed. The word Trinity is not in Scripture, but yet it is paramount throughout all of Scripture. Whenever you hear the name Lord, it can even refer to God the Father and it also refers to God the Son. What does Thomas say when he sticks his finger in his hands and his hands and in his side? “My lord, my God.” What does Peter say when he commits the sin of “Lord I don't want to fish anymore. I'm exhausted.” He throws his nets out he catches so much. “Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man.” 
  4. My brothers and sisters in Christ, don't try to explain it with a clover, don't try to explain it talking about water being evaporated, and then it’s solid, and then it's liquid. My brothers and sisters in Christ, don't dumb it down. It is what it is. You and I will not understand the Trinity until we stand before it. All you need to understand is that they are distinct, but they are not separate. My brothers and sisters in Christ, St. Augustine made a great argument. He said one day, he watches a little boy run out into the ocean, get a cup, pick up a cup of the water, runs back on the shore, digs a hole, and starts pouring. He goes back and forth. Augustine gets so sideways about watching this, he tells the child “My child, stop. Stop. You're not gonna get the ocean into that hole.” and then the child turns and it's Christ, and he said “And neither will you understand the Trinity till you stand before me.” Distinct but not separate. That sign of the Cross is more powerful than you think. My brothers and sisters in Christ, you and I live in a world where we need signs. Signs were always paramount. how did Noah know that the world, man, it's been raining for forty days. When will it get better Lord? He's given the sign of the rainbow. My brothers and sisters in Christ, how did Moses know that, man, life is going to be ok when the Angel of Death passed over them and not through them. The Passover. How did Abraham know what will be the sign Lord that I am the father of all nations. He said when you see the sign of circumcision. The sign my brothers and sisters in Christ, we need the sign. When you get baptized that water that hits your head, that's the water to let you know your sin is removed. That's the sign. When you get confirmed I put oil on your forehead, that's the sign that you now have confirmed that what your parents said is true, that you do believe in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. You do believe the Blessed Mother was ever virgin. You believe Holy Mother Church is true. You go to confession. Do you not hear me say your sins are forgiven, go in peace? That's the sign that your sin is removed. How else would we know that things take place if we don't have a sign? How will you know when the Holy Spirit comes if the bells do not ring and I do not make the gesture? What water is to elements, what water is elements, is what the sign of the Cross is to gestures. My brothers and sisters in Christ, the sign of the Cross is a prayer in and of itself. We start the mass with the sign of the Cross. We end with the sign of the Cross because the mass is the prayer. My brothers and sisters in Christ, when you make the sign of the Cross do you understand what you're saying? Do you understand what it means? My brothers and sisters in Christ, Padre Pio. He says that oftentimes Lucifer would visit him in different images. Sometimes he would come as Christ, sometimes he would come as the Blessed Mother. He knows no bounds because he hates you more than you could ever imagine. He said he would come as Christ and Padre Pio said “I didn't know what to do. Should I drop? Should I bow? I don't know, I don't know.” he said “I'm starting getting nervous. Jesus Christ is before me. What do I do?” and then he looked at his hands and he noticed there were no wounds, and then he said one time the Blessed Mother came. He's so drawn to her Blessed Mother. Do you know that he would pray- I think it's like some 10 to 15 rosaries a day. A day. He said when he saw the Blessed Mother do I drop? Do I bow? Do I kneel? What do I do? What do I do? So, he said he just made the sign of the Cross, shaking in between, and she wouldn't respond, and then she just vanished because it wasn't her to begin with. My brothers and sisters in Christ, that is the power of the sign of the Cross. I'll give you an example. I saw a poster written on the side of a big open field. I don't remember where I saw it. You tell me what you would do. It's a massive pasture, massive pasture, and as a result of this pasture, there's a pretty nice-sized bull in the pasture, and on the fence it says please do not enter, but if you do make sure you can cross the field in 9 seconds because the bull can make it in 10. So ask yourself, would you be willing to gamble? Therein lies what Padre Pio is saying. Whenever you feel like you're in danger, you're not sure what you should do, think about what you're going to do before you make the phone call, make the sign of the Cross. Before you send the email, make the sign of the Cross. Before you walk into work and all that love that waits for you, make the sign of the Cross. Before you get in your car and you drive off, make the sign of the Cross. My brothers and sisters in Christ, you're not, you are not, contrary to what everybody may think, blessing yourself. What you are doing is you're asking the good Lord, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, protect me as I go. Thank you for the meal that I have eaten. Thank you for hearing my prayers. Intercede for me on this email, and on this phone call, in this conference, or the doctor's visit. What you're asking is for the triune God to come and intercede on your behalf. You are not blessing yourself. 
  5. My brothers and sisters in Christ, let me ask you. How courageous are you? In other words, when you gather with friends, and yes it is a very Catholic sign, well let me help you with that. For 1500 years from the time of Christ until Martin Luther shows up, there are only two faiths in the world. For all intents and purposes, you are either Jew or you're Catholic. My question is if we got it wrong for 1500 years then why did Christ sit on his hands and do absolutely nothing while his children just flourished and went nowhere? Why did he not send somebody and say “Stop, for the love of me. Stop what you're doing.”? But yet, no. My brothers and sisters in Christ, then we must not have got it wrong. Does it take a fallen away priest who marries a fallen away nun who believed that Mary was ever virgin, that purgatory does exist, that the Eucharist is indeed true for the most part? Those are the words of Martin Luther. Walk in any other church now and tell me what you hear about purgatory, the Eucharist, confession, or ever-virgin, but yet their founder believed it. My brothers and sisters in Christ, the sign of the Cross is powerful. When somebody asks “Will you pray for us?” in front of a group, do you have the courage to say “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” knowing full well no one else is going to back your play? You'll acknowledge him before God, he's not going to acknowledge it before his father. Will you be able to say that Hail Mary, or are you worried about push back? If you're not the one chosen to pray, will you still make the sign of the Cross, and I'm not talking one of these? I’ve done seen enough of that. Man, I’ll tell you a story. I go eat with my friends from high school. Father, Padre, let me start the prayer. I'm thinking “Lord, he knows how to pray. It's a miracle.” He gave me one of these. I said “What is that?” He said that's the sign of the cross. No, that's laying down the bunt, that's a hit and run, that's a steal. I don't know what that is. Is that holding, that's offsides? What is that? My brothers and sisters in Christ, the good Lord came short on the crucifix. Matter of fact, not only did he come short on it, they got to dislocate his arm to stretch him out to make sure he does make it. My friends in Christ, there's nothing more powerful in the world than the sign of the Cross. Never apologize for being Catholic. God, what a heresy. That's cowardice. At the end of the day, you stand proud. You make that sign the cross. You acknowledge him, and a triune God.
  6. I'll leave you with this, if you ever want to take the problems out of your hands and put them in his hands, just make the sign of the Cross. 
  7. Amen.

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