2017 Homilies (Written)

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Matthew 14:22-33; 8-9-2020 (As Built; Amite #411)

 

  1. Portrait, as in a self-portrait. A painting of oneself. 
  2. It's the 1970’s. His name is Phillip. Phillip is a U.K. boy. He is a United Kingdom boy through and through. His mom worked for the circus, and his dad, well, he was a commercial pilot. If you and I were to ask Phillip “What was grammar school like?” he said “It was a little tumultuous.” he said “It was different every year I’m in a different country.” If you were to ask Phillip “How was high school?” he would say “It's an unmitigated disaster.” he said “Not only am I going to different schools in different countries, I have such a thick dialect, man, it's just, you were just the poster boy for being bullied.” he said “It was tumultuous. I finally did graduate,” he said “but man I didn't know what I wanted to do and then my parents told me of a story that my great-grandfather was a stand-in of all people John Wayne.” He said “That's it, I’m going to be an actor.” He does a commercial for Pac-Man of all things. It gets him started. He does another one with Charlton Heston called Treasure Island. It's going okay, but then, man, the wheels start to come off. I mean, let's just face it. There's not many people in demand that have a different dialect, and so thick, to do American movies. He gets in a couple movies. One of them was called the Hustler. It was okay. He got in another one called Little Woman. It was a little better, and he said “But man, no matter what I touched, it just seemed to fall apart.” he said “I was the poster child for somebody that thought they could, but they really never had it.” Then, all of a sudden, he gets his first big break. He gets the 3:10 to Yuma, the movie, and man all of a sudden people start to pick their head up and notice. Then he's in another one where he does a little bit of everything. He's kind of multifaceted. He gets in a movie called Hostiles, where he's in a fort and he's in out the wild wild west, and they're trying to break into the country, so to speak. It did okay, and then all of a sudden, man, things started to bounce his way, and finally he gets his big break. He is the first non-American, or un-American, if you will, a non-American to play the role of Bruce Wayne. That absolutely did no good, I could see that from here. Man, my brothers and sisters in Christ, matter of fact if they did a portrait of him today, he would tell you “Man, if you're gonna do a painting to me, I want to be in my costume.” he said “Man, it's got over 100 moving parts.” he says “Go to the bathroom first, because once you’re in that baby, you ain't coming out for a while.” he said “The whole movie was claustrophobic.” he said “Man, you got to think about it. I’m the first guy to play Bruce Wayne that's that's a non-American.” he said “Man, I’m in Batman Returns, man, I’m in the Dark Knight, the Dark Knight Comes Again.” Remember my brothers and sisters in Christ, you know him as Christian Bale. Okay, you don't know who he is. He's Batman. That's the point. It's all about a self-portrait.
  3.  That is exactly what that gospel is. You know it's amazing? If you and I were to paint a picture of Peter, this would have been the gospel that we would have painted. Here he is in a boat with the other eleven. The good lord is out because remember, the first time he's with the good lord, it's just him and the good lord fishing. It's midnight because they fish at night. Remember. This is the sea of Galilee. As a result, man, he says “Lord, I’ve been out fishing all night.” “Throw your nets over Peter.” You know how Peter threw the nets out. “Lord, I’m the fisherman. You're a carpenter. You want the nets out? Great, great, there they're out.” They catch so many fish that it almost sinks the boat. He drops in the boat and says “Depart from me Lord. I’m a sinful man.” Just him and the good lord. The next time Peter's in a boat, a storm's coming. The good lord's asleep in the bow. You know the story. “Lord, do you care that we're about to perish.” He didn't wake him up because you know why? Because he's just a carpenter. I’m the fisherman. I’ve been on this scene my whole life. Man, this is my home away from home. I’m the man. And now, all of a sudden, man, he can't even take care of a storm. This time the good lord is saying “Yeah Peter, you have confidence in me when I’m right here. Well, this time I’m going to be 50 yards out there.” “Lord if it is you tell me to come.” “Come.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, that's the portrait we painted Peter. He's walking on water, the wind begins to blow, he turns his head, and, man, next thing you know he's drowning. That's the portrait we paint, but I bet you if we ask the good lord to paint him, I bet you he would paint it differently. I bet he would paint Peter crucified upside down and I bet the words at the bottom of the painting would say “This is my rock, and I did build my church on him.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, that's the portrait that God painted for Peter, not the one that you and I paint all too often. 
  4. Now stop, go back in scripture. The good lord has just fed 5,000 to 10,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish. For you and I as a devout Jew, that brings back a lot of memories. That all of a sudden they don't have enough food to feed one million people in the desert, and then all of a sudden manna falls from the altar of God, and as a result you and I as a Jew would start to think “Wait a minute, that looks awfully familiar.” Five loaves of bread and two fish. The number five represents the first five books of the bible. The number two will now come to represent a new beginning, the old and now the new testament. Twelve wicker baskets full. You and I now know that the number 12 was significant because there was 12 tribes, there were 12 apostles, and now we have 12 wicker baskets full. As a Jew, you and I are starting to say “Man, this sounds awfully familiar. Is this bread from heaven like it was out there, and it was blessed bread?” and make sure you understand this. My brothers and sisters in Christ, when they are out after he's already fed everybody, please make sure you understand, the good lord did not feed one of the ten thousand people. He only fed the twelve, and then said “Now, you go feed them.” “Why?” “Because I’m not going to be here in a couple years. They will look for me and they will not find me, but they will find you, Peter, James, John, Nathaniel, Bartholomew, Thomas, and you too Matthias. Therefore, I will not baptize. I will not hear your confession, because you will look for me and I am not here, so I only feed them.” This is why priests give communion to the Eucharistic ministers, and the Eucharistic ministers feed you. You cannot self-communicate, only the priest can. That's why I consume the host at the mass. Make sure you understand. The good lord goes up to the mountain to pray by himself. Every Jew that would have been there would have realized “Wait a minute, the only people going up mountains, Moses goes up to talk to God, Elijah goes up and hears God in the whispering, and all of a sudden he's going up to the mountain to pray.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, they are on the water from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m.. This is very common for the Jewish people to be out on the water. Remember, the Sea of Galilee is the hub. Everything revolves around the Sea of Galilee. Still to this day, did you know today that you and I could not fish with a reel, cane, or pole? You can only net fish on the Sea of Galilee because that's how they did it. They're net fishing, my brothers and sisters in Christ, from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m.. The cock crow is the 3 a.m.. Then, when the good lord tells Peter “You'll deny me so many times before the cock crows.” that type of situation, that's where he's at. That's the time frame in which Peter is out there on the boat. My brothers and sisters in Christ, think about what's happened. They see him walking on water. He's just fed ten thousand people. He's went up a mountain, and now he's walking on water. This is why they drop in the boat when he finally gets in and do him homage. For a Jew, when you say you give somebody a homage, what you're saying is you're going to do one of three or four things. You're either going to bow, you're going to genuflect, you're going to kiss his foot, or you're going to lay prostrate on the ground, so for them to say we did him homage, they have now come to have in the theophany, like Moses talked, and Elijah saw, well now we've come to believe because when he said “It is I. It's ergo a mi.” It is I am, so now they've come to recognize him, so now this is the son of God. That's why you hear them say what they want, and remember this, say what you want about Peter. There are 11 other guys in that boat, and nobody moved. Moreover, when he was drowning, they still didn't move. Nothing like a good set of friends. Can you imagine them all on one side of the boat with those little bitty alligator arms “Here Peter, grab my hand.”? My brothers and sisters in Christ, make sure you understand. Peter did walk out there, the good lord did save him, and he did walk back to the boat. The good lord never carried him, so Peter did walk on the water. My brothers and sisters in Christ, the portrait that Christ would paint would not be the one that you and I just painted. “Why did you doubt, O you of little faith?” as the good lord is pulling Peter from the water. I’m telling you the one he would have painted is him upside down preaching for three hours the gospel with the adage at the bottom “For this is my rock, and I did build my church.” Go back in scripture. I bet you if I painted a portrait of someone, you and I may not know who he is, but if God painted the portrait, you and I would recognize him immediately. Case in point, if I told you that he was a farmer's farmer, he had two sons, he was married, a devout Jew, he is a big man, and if you and I would have taken a portrait I’m sure it had been with his wife and his children in front of all their crops, not a speck of blood to be found. But I bet you if we took a picture and made a portrait like the good lord did of this man, you and I would have seen him carrying a cross with no family in the picture, drenched in blood, trying to hold our good lord, and you would have said “Man, that's Simon of Cyrene.” Isn't it ironic that Simon Cyrene may have painted himself this way, but the good lord now has a new portrait, and because he does his name's in the book of life and we don't even know his last name. We just know he's from northern Africa. What if I painted the picture for you that all of a sudden, man, he's in his white robes. He would have had gold tassels, a golden collar, he would have had gold trim, he would have had sandals that were immaculate, he would have been part of the Sanhedrin, he might have been standing next to a big beautiful column, he might have had several books in his hand, and you would have said “Man, that is an important man.” That's the portrait that he might have painted, but then all of a sudden the good lord decides to paint a different portrait. He's outside of a tomb. His white beautiful garment is covered in blood. His hair is disheveled. He has no fame or no fortune, and he's bound in front of a tomb with his head against the rock saying “Forgive me Lord, for I have been a sinful man.” You would have known him as Joseph of Arimathea. Two years later, he's had to leave the country because his life is in danger. He actually starts an abbey. My brothers and sisters in Christ, if this guy painted his own portrait, I bet you it would have been in front of all of his legion. I bet you he'd had his helmet in his hand, his hand on his sword, he would have had all the ribbons, they would have standed up in front, and as soon as you saw his face you'd have said “Man, that's the man.” But I bet you the portrait that the good lord would have had is that he would have had his back to the painter. He would’ve been facing the crucifix with his sword on the ground and his helmet rolled to the side with the words “Truly, that man was the son of God.” You would have known him as Longinus. My brothers and sisters in Christ, if you and I would have met Saul, the portrait would have been a man with many horses and beautiful homes. He's taught by Gamaliel himself. He'd have had all the books laid out in front of him with money, fame, and fortune, and I bet the portrait that the good lord has of him is his head on a chopping block with no books, no money, no fame, no fortune, he's balding, he’s almost probably to a point of his life where he could barely just even stand up. That's the Paul that Christ would have painted. 
  5. Well, now here you and I sit 2,000 years later. My brothers and sisters in Christ, if somebody or yourself was to paint a portrait about you, or I was to paint one about me, what would we put in the picture? Would we put all our diplomas on the back wall so everybody can notice how intellectual we are? Maybe they’d put all our patents, and trademarks, and copyrights, all of our intellectual property so they could understand our prowess. Maybe we could put a bank statement at the bottom, so they could show how much money we accumulated as if it was ours. Maybe they had all our sports memorabilia. Maybe they had all our knickknacks. Maybe they would have had our favorite dress, our favorite clothes. My brothers and sisters in Christ, don't you understand? Every one of those items, every one of those items are immediately worthless upon our death. The minute that portrait was painted, it is now useless because not one of those things will go forward with us. My brothers and sisters in Christ, if you painted a portrait of yourself, would there be anything on you that somebody would look at it and say “Look, they're in the top right hand corner on the shelf behind those six books, to the right, down an inch. I think it's a rosary.”? Would you even have a rosary in your picture? Would you be carrying a crucifix in your hands? Would behind you be an image of Christ? If you're a Eucharistic minister, would it be you holding a chalice? If you're an altar server, would be you holding a cross? If you're a reader, would it be you here at the podium holding the book of the gospels? My brothers and sisters in Christ, ask yourself “What would be in your portrait that would go with you to life everlasting, and what in that portrait would be of this world, the world that will come to an end? If Christ painted your portrait, which he will, and is doing as I speak, what would he put in the picture? Which one of the seven deadly demons would he say that's behind you, that seems to be over encompassing? What would he have in front of you that he said ‘That's the God that you worshipped in lieu of me.’?” Was it your money? Your camp? Your car? Maybe it was all the deer heads behind you. Maybe it was all the fish you caught. Maybe it's all the memorabilia, and your sports, and your awards. Where in that picture would Christ say “Now that is a child of mine.”? My brothers and sisters in Christ, remember he is going to paint a portrait. The question for you and I is what would be in that? If you had to pick five things, just five, okay, four, one. You pick one thing to stick in there so that at the end of the day when Christ says “Now that is a child of mine.” would you be standing there with a crucifix? Would you have a bible in your hand... that you've read? Would you have a rosary? Would you be on your knees with your head bowed? Would it be a computer with your face buried in it? Would it be your cell phone so you can text and all we get is the top of your head? Is it your car, your house, your camp? My brothers and sisters in Christ, you and I are painting a self-portrait, and it will be corrected by Jesus Christ on the day of our judgment. That's the problem, it's going to be way late into this game. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I am begging you. You must learn to find your knees. You must go to the sacraments. How would your children know that they are following the right church if it's not a part of our daily life? Well, there she is praying the rosary again. Well at least somebody's praying. Oh there she goes, she's got to go to mass even when we're on vacation. Don't tell me you couldn't find the church. You can find Disney World, you can find the church. You can find another country, find the church. My brothers and sisters in Christ, will your children know when they see you in a portrait that's mama, that's daddy, that's my spouse, that's my children, those are my parents, man, they go nowhere without making sure they pray. They got religious books all over the house. Man, they can't turn into a room without seeing a crucifix, or the picture of the blessed mother. Don't you see? If the portrait you paint does not have some relic of Christ, then why would he welcome you home? He wouldn't because this is why we're here. You came in on this day, we're going home on this day, and on that day there is no more mercy. There's just judgment. You had all this time in between to make a portrait of yourself. 
  6. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I leave you with this. Of all people, President Lincoln. I don't know what you may think of President Lincoln, it's irrelevant, but if you were to ask people back in the day “Tell me, What did Abraham Lincoln look like?” there was a man that was going to be at a debate and when he saw President Lincoln, he quote said “I’ve never met a man so ugly, so disfigured, it was almost repulsive.” In the debate, the other gentleman stands up and says “Mr. Lincoln, if I were to paint a portrait of you, I would paint you as being two-faced.” Mr. Lincoln stood up and said “Do you honestly believe I’m two-faced?” The gentleman said “Absolutely.” He said “Well, if I had another face, don't you think I would have changed it by now?” Man, my brothers and sisters in Christ, make sure the portrait that you paint has some relic of Christ, more relics of Christ than relics of the secular world, for that is going to be the portrait that Christ will come to. 
  7. Amen.

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