2017 Homilies (Written)

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John 6:51-58; 6-14-2020 (As Built; Amite #403)

 

  1. Recognize, recognize. 
  2. The year is 1812. Our country, our colonies, are at war with Britain yet again. Man, Britain’s plan is real simple. We're going to amass all of our armada, we are going to drive it, if you will, or sail it, if you will, in Chesapeake Bay. Once we get into Chesapeake Bay, we're going to take over parts of Maryland and the port. Once we get there, we're going to march on to D.C.. The plan is working seamlessly till they get to Bladensburg right outside the port city. As a result of it, it is the biggest battle of the Revolutionary War. There is carnage everywhere. I’m telling you, there’s Redcoats, there's colonists, there's militia, there's farmers, there's people who are just trying to help, man, anybody and everybody. The Redcoats have done the damage. It goes down in history “as the greatest disgrace to the Americas”. They've decided to march on. They march on to D.C.. They burn the city, they burn the white house, they burn the capitol building, and then have to repaint it with only they have of white paint, hence the term White House. As a result of it, man, the carnage is so great still at Bladensburg, they go find a Dr. Bennis. He said when he gets there, he said there are so many bodies, the rumor has it, that he could walk across the field without touching the ground by just stepping on that many bodies, and he didn't care. Redcoat, colonists, militia, friend, or foe, he's helping everybody. For a week's time he is amputating, he is saving, he is burying, he's doing all he can do. Meanwhile, the redcoats have taken over Capitol Hill. They have burned the building, and they’re now coming back. They get to the city, a little small city outside of Maryland, they decided, well, this is going to be easier said than done. Wine, women, and song. After a couple hours, we have more wine, more women, more song. The problem is it happens to be Dr. Bennis’s hometown, so as he's finally getting in from Bladensburg, what does he see? They're burning buildings, they're ravaging people, they're taking advantage, I mean it's ugly. He gets into a brouhaha with two of the men, beats him up pretty well, probably deserving of it. They throw him in jail. One of them escapes. He goes back all the way to Chesapeake Bay, he gets the admiral, the admiral gets their group together, they come find Dr. Bennis, they haul him all the way back to Chesapeake Bay, put him in a ship, put him in the bottom of it, and put him in irons. As a result, man, the colonists are furious, so who better to go than Mr. Key. He's a prominent attorney, he's a loyal colonist, so they get him. Man this is what happened. They go through the story of Bladensburg, Dr Bennis, the pillaging and the plundering. He finally goes out to Chesapeake Bay. He arrives on the ship of the admiral, says “Admiral, I understand you have one of our colonists, Dr. Bennis.” He said “Yes, we do.” He said “Well, I need you to let him go.” He said “That's not going to happen.” He said “Let me make sure I understand admiral. That man saved two-thirds of your group. You got them here today. You wouldn't have half the soldiers you got if it wasn't for that man. He single-handedly kept people alive in Bladensburg.” He said, as true statement, “Good point,” he said “However I cannot let you leave now. We're about to bomb a fort. If you go they'll know where I’m at. They'll know our strength. You're going to have to just stand and bear it.” he said “But when it's over, we both walk free.” He said “Absolutely.” Well, he explains to Dr Bennis the story. This is what's going to happen. Then, all of a sudden, man, the bombs and the rockets start, and, man, you would have thought that the world had come to an end. Dr. Bennis is yelling up “Tell me what you see.” He says “Man, there's bombs bursting in air,” he said “there's this red glare that has come from the rockets,” he said “the smoke is so great, but I can still see the flag. Truly we are the land of the free and the home of the brave.” I pray you recognize that as the Star-spangled Banner. If not, this is going to be an ugly death up here, I can just promise you. My brothers and sisters in Christ, that is the point. It's recognition. 
  3. That is exactly what that gospel is about. It's recognizing Christ for who he is. My flesh is true food, my blood is true drink. If I am not in you and you are not in me, you will not have eternal life. He says it five times in seven verses. My flesh, my blood. How is it, two thousand years later, we still can't get it right. It's a relic, it's a theory, it's an understanding, it's conjecture, it's just a representation. He never said it. He is the word made flesh. Do you think it's ironic, coincidental, it's a happenstance that he is born in the city of David, the city of bread, he is born in a manger, a food trough, and we call him the bread of life, and he just echoes that sentiment, that he is the bread for the life of the world? My brothers and sisters in Christ, 7 times in this in this gospel he uses the word I, me, or myself, yet nowhere does he say anything else about some type of understanding, or just conjecture. Now stop, you are a first century Jew. You know the old testament like the back of your hand. You know the Psalms by heart. Please, the ten commandments, I’ve got those memorized in my head. In Deuteronomy I tattooed them on my children's forehead. My brothers and sisters in Christ, this is what's happened prior to him making the statement. Christ is in the middle of a synagogue. He is two blocks from Peter's house. He's right off the Sea of Galilee where he's making the statement “My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” Right before he gets there, he's coming through Samaria. He meets the lady at the well. You know, the one that was married five times, on her sixth husband. Remember, seven to a Jew is the most complete number of the world. Seven days of creation, seven years to build a temple. The lady does not stay with that husband. She becomes a follower of Christ. We believe she ultimately becomes a religious. He's the seventh husband. Once he leaves and visits with her, he goes to a place called Capernaum. He meets an official there. That official tells him that his son is ill. He tells that man don't worry about it, your faith will save him. At that hour, the seventh hour, his son was cured. When he gets back to his home in Capernaum, he asked him “When was he cured?” They said “The seventh hour.” The good lord has just walked through Jerusalem, and as a result of it he's at the pool of Bethesda, the pool of Bethesda. This is where the cripples or handicapped would go. They would wait for the water to ripple because they believe that the angel Michael may have come, and then they get in. The man is so crippled and handicapped he can't get in, so the good lord tells him to pick up his mat and walk. 38 years, 38, he's standing by that pool. To a Jew, that number represents the amount of time that you were at the mountain of Kadesh until you entered the promised land. This is where Moses broke the ten commandments. For a Jew, you and I would have picked up on that number, that it's significant. It goes into the 40. Now, my brothers and sisters in Christ, the good lord is walking a little bit farther, and they're starving for food. Five thousand, remember, five thousand men. That means ten thousand men and women. That means fifteen thousand men, women, and children, five loaves of bread, and two fish. What's important for you and I to understand, it's a foretelling of what is to come. Do you understand that Christ did not feed one person? He only fed the twelve, and once he gave the bread to the twelve then he said “Now, go feed them.” Why? Because if I feed you directly you will never go to my apostles. If I hear your confession, you will not go to my apostles. If you hear my baptism, you will not go to the apostles. Everything must go through them. They are the start of the church. Pentecost is when things will begin. 
  4. My brothers and sisters in Christ, remember this. When the good lord said “Take this and eat, for this is my body.” When he said eat in Greek, it's trogo. Take it and gnaw on it. Chew it, swallow it. Does that sound like a theory, or a relic to you? My brothers and sisters in Christ, when you hear the argument that it says do this in memory of me, go back to the original language. How many times have I spoken to you? Everybody thinks the first prostitute in scripture was Mary Magdalene. The first prostitute in scripture was the translator, I promise you. If he translates it correctly, he translates it to enemiesis. Do this in sacrifice of me. In other words, my brothers and sisters in Christ, he's saying do it, do it, not have a recollection, understanding, you're translating it in English 2,000 years later. Go back to the language. Now listen to me my brothers and sisters in Christ. In the old testament, there's things that you need to understand. In the garden of Eden, there were two trees. One of good and evil, and one of life everlasting, and he reminds Adam and Eve that if you don't eat of the tree, and as a result of it you will live forever. What's his last words in the gospel? That if you eat of me you will live forever. As a Jew, you and I would have picked up on this. We would have known instantly what he's getting at. My brothers and sisters in Christ, remember this. When the good lord is making this proclamation, my flesh is true food, my blood is true drink, I can just see the walls, if you will, I could just see the walls of the synagogue begin to crumble. I could see all the Pharisees and Sadducees lined up shaking their head saying “Well, we couldn't have missed it. We're a Pharisee, we're a Sadducee.” He is two blocks from Peter's house when he finishes the proclamation. Peter is walking up to him as they walk back to his house. “Lord, do you know what you're saying? You're saying that if they don't eat of you, they're going to think you're cannibalistic.” He doesn't change his mind. He doesn't say “You know what Peter, let me go back in and fix it because we're just going to lose votes, as if I came running for an office.” The fact of the matter is that he tells Peter again “My flesh is true food, my blood is true drink. If I’m not in you, and you're not in me, you don't have eternal life.” That's it Peter. No ifs, no ands, no buts. You're either in, or you're out. Make your call. Man, do you know the next line are those people who left him. Do you know what line that is in scripture? John 6:66. There are forty thousand faiths in the world today, and only us have the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. There were only two faiths when Christ started the church. You were either Jew or you were Catholic. That's it. Catholic means according to the whole. It becomes so popular, it becomes universal, but if you do these four things, you break bread, you sing psalms, you listen to the apostles, and you gather, then you are no longer Jew but you are Catholic. Almost 1,200 years, there are only two guys in the game. Martin Luther shows up, a former priest marries a former nun, and all of a sudden we got 40,000 people to deal with now. You think the good lord sat on his hands for over a thousand years and said well they'll figure it out, it's close enough, give or take? If there was a problem in the church, he would have addressed it. Especially the teaching about his body, blood, soul, and divinity. My brothers and sisters in Christ, remember everything in the old testament is a foretelling of what is to come. The old testament is never greater than the new. The old testament is just a foretelling. The new testament is a fulfillment. Think about what people are telling you when they say the Eucharist isn't true. My brothers and sisters in Christ, in the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were drawn to a tree and they took from it. In the new testament, the good lord and his mother were drawn to a tree, and he put his hands to it and they nailed him to it. In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were drawn to sin and brought sin into the world. The good lord is in the Garden of Gethsemane, and guess what. At the end of the day, he brought salvation to the world. Adam and Eve came with no sin and left with sin. The blessed mother and the good lord came with no sin and left with salvation of the world. The new testament is always greater. Why is it that when Jonah, and yes he's a real person, any proper name is no longer parabolic, Adam and eve don't get their name till after they're kicked out of the garden which means names are important. That's why you and I have names. As a result of it, Jonah descends. He's in a whale. He dies in the whale. Read the story, it's a funeral dirge. The people believe that that's a great sign, and what does the good lord say? That that might have been that way in the old testament, but in the new testament there's a greater sign than Jonah. I will descend to the dead for three days, but with it I will bring salvation. All Jonah did was return to Nineveh. Noah only saved eight people. The good lord said “I’ve come to save the world.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, the new testament is always better, so if the old testament had blessed bread from heaven, when manna fell they believe it fell from the altar of God, and they believed that was done by Saint Michael and it was blessed bread, are you telling me now, 2,000 years later, he got it wrong? That in everything else, the new testament is far greater than the old, except with the most important thing of all, the bread of life, that the Jews had it right that it's blessed bread, and all we get is a relic, so now the old testament's more important than the new? No way, no how. You just made Christ to be a liar. There are some 20 words in Greek and Aramaic that say theory, conjecture, understanding, a relic. He uses none of them. “My flesh is.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, I’m the God who is, and who was, and who is to come. He's not coming. He never was. There's no one to wait for. It's the same is. It's astin. 
  5. My brothers and sisters in Christ, here you and I sit 2,000 years later. Will people recognize that you believe in the Eucharist on how you receive it? When you come to receive him, will everybody else that's watching say “Now that was a disciple of Jesus Christ. He believes that the Eucharist is true.”? We sit at home because of a pandemic. I don't care what you believe about it, but it doesn't change the fact is you can't receive the Eucharist at home, so at some point you and I are going to have to step out. Somewhere along the way you and I have the courage to receive the body, blood, soul, and divinity. You got to suck it up. It is awfully frustrating to be part of a church that at times we proclaim it to be one thing, and when the pandemic comes we start acquiescing. You either believe in him, or you do not. You either made the gates of heaven, or you did not. Will people recognize that you are a good Catholic because the way you make the sign of the cross before you eat in public? Will they recognize you as a good Catholic when they say lead us in prayer, and you're saying oh they're getting a Hail Mary today, and you pray it clearly, and distinctly? Will you make sure and defend her honor and her veil, and stop blaming the church for not teaching you? It's your soul at stake. Stop blaming the priest and the church. You learn as much as you care to learn, and at the end of the day, she's true. I’ve already been or studied almost everything out there. I’m telling you, she is true. We have been unfortunate in how we've handled and spoke with y'all, it has been unfortunate that we haven't educated you in the manner that we should, but at the end of the day we can only do so much. At some point, it'll be your soul that will stand before him. You will be there naked and alone. Will Christ reckon you as a child of his, or will he not? What is going to be your excuse? “Well you don't understand.” “But I think I do.” “No you don't. You see, it wasn't my fault.” “Well it couldn't have been mine.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, It's paramount that you receive the Eucharist. Don't you walk out them doors and leave these gates with the same worry that you walked in here with. Have you forgotten that this is his house? Have you forgotten that he is God and we are not? Stop being hypocritical. He is either God, or he's not. If you came here, and you bent your knee, and you received him, then that's who it is. He is the great I am. All things come through him. Not a hair on your head gets touched. Nothing happens in your world until he ordains it, and if he wants it then you suck it up and run with it, because at the end of the day, that's what he wants. You and I will never get better at being a good Catholic Christian unless we are pushed. We become lackadaisical. We start staying at home. It becomes too easy. The Eucharist is everything. If you leave here with that same worry, that is the height of being hypocritical. People need to know that you're a follower of Jesus Christ, that you believe in the church, that you believe his mother was ever virgin, and that it begins and ends with the start of the apostles. 
  6. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I leave you with this. John Paul II was spot on. Every problem in the world, every problem in the world, the solution to it is the host. 
  7. Amen.

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