2017 Homilies (Written)

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Matthew 15:21-28; 8-16-2020 (As Built; Amite #412)

  1. We, or just me. It's about I. 
  2. My brothers and sisters in Christ, the year is 1775. Our country, our nation, moreover our colonies, are involved in a great dispute, a great battle, the war, the Revolutionary War. The king has made his decision, and that is final, but I got to tell you, it may have been a war for the colonies, and it may have been a war for our nation, and it may have been a great battle, but I gotta tell you for Patrick his war had already started seven years ago. He met the woman of his dreams, Sally. Man, they were soul mates from the get-go, like teeth in a gear. He would tell you that their life, even though they came from two different worlds, he would tell you “Man, my wife, she came for means.” He said “We couldn't rub two sticks together.” He said “She lived, if you will, on the right side of the tracks. I didn't even know there were tracks. Everything her family touched turned to gold. Everything I touched... turned brown.” Good, some of you got it. My brothers and sisters in Christ, man, and he says they were doing well until their sixth child. When Nettie came into the world, then problems abounded. Man, it was almost something traumatic that must have happened to his wife Sally. Man, it's just psychological, and physical, the mental. Man, she started forgetting people's names, his children's names, his name. She started getting out of control to a point that the only one that could even physically be around her would have been just Patrick. As a matter of fact, he said he worked hard just tried to keep her together and friends would come over and say “Patrick, man, it's time. Maybe you need to isolate her more.” A kind way of saying put her away. His words to them: “This ain't about me, it's about we. In sickness and in health, in good times and bad, till death do we part. It's about we.” He said “Where do you want me to place her? In the building that they call quote,” this was the name of their building, “The Home for the Insane and the Idiots.” He said “No, I can't have it.” They decide to leave him be. Man, next thing you know within a month a writer comes up to him. He's sitting on the porch with his children and his wife. He said “The country is convened. The assembly of Virginia has been called. We need to go to the legislature. They're asking for a vote.” Patrick said “Don't go to the assembly, Redcoats will be watching. Go to the church, they won't know to look there.” Saint John of the Cross. Man, everybody's waiting to see where he stands. I mean, he's got children. His wife is... it's been a little bit of a challenge. Man, the country's about to go under. He walks in and it is packed in Saint John Church. I think people have literally come not just to hear the votes, they want to see where Pat sits. They have lined the walls. He walks in, my brothers and sisters in Christ, and only in the words of Patrick he said “My friends, my fellow countrymen, I have come here today to tell you there is no greater patriotism in the world, there's no greater honor in the world than to be a patriot of the United States, our colonies. Now, what I have to say may offend some, but if I do not say it, I will be a traitor to my country. If I am a traitor to my country and if I don't proclaim what I know, I’ll be a traitor to my messiah. I have petitioned the king. I have written the king. I’ve had emissaries go on my behalf to the king. I have done all that I can. I have supplicated him, I have paid him, if I were to show up he would put my hands and feet in chains and he'd probably kiss me on my cheek like that of Judas, but at the end of the day, give me liberty or give me death. My brothers and sisters in Christ, the words of Patrick Henry because it was all about we as a country, we as a family, and we as one, as a couple. 
  3. That is exactly that gospel. That woman is going on behalf of her daughter. I have come on behalf of her. There is not just me, it is all about my daughter. It's about we. Now stop, make sure you understand what's going on here. Remember, you're a first century Jew, you know scripture like the back of your hands. With that being said, when you go to the areas of Tyre and Sidon, if you and I lived in Jerusalem it would be several days journey to get up to the Sea of Galilee to where Peter lives at Capernaum. It would take us another 50 miles and another couple of days to get to Tyre, and then another couple days to get the Sidon, it's all on the coast. They are very pagan. They will worship idols, they will actually burn their children at stake and offer it to the gods, if you and I were to go back in the book of wisdom and read back, they would give you all the different degrees. This is where the good lord is going. When he gets there, you notice that this lady who comes to see him calls him “Son of David, have mercy on me.” For a woman in that pagan part of the world to make a public proclamation referring to him from the line of David, calling him lord, giving him homage, my brothers and sisters in Christ, this would have been unheard of for her to do it, and I could promise you she would not only not be welcome in her country, her life would be put in peril, but because it was that important that she be there on behalf of her daughter, she will endure. And what does the good lord do? Man, he ignored it. Would it not have been better that he just screamed at her, acknowledged my presence, breathed on me, looked at me? He ignores her so much so the apostles don't even speak to her. They speak directly to him. “Lord, send her away.” and the Lord makes the statement “I’ve come from the lost sheep of Israel.” Now stop, you're a Jew. Ten tribes to the north, Isaiah’s prophecy, they're going to be scattered throughout the world. The two tribes to the south will be overrun by the Babylonians. I’ve come from the lost sheep. Remember when he told Peter “Peter, feed my lambs, my apostles, feed my sheep.” That's the people of Israel, more importantly the 12 tribes. Take and then feed and take care of my sheep, I.e. you and I. My brothers and sisters in Christ, she is proclaiming him to be the messiah. They're ignoring her, and then she says “Lord, even the dogs get the scraps off the table.” The dogs would have been you and I, we'd have been the gentiles and the pagans, and he says “Your faith has saved your daughter as you wish.” At that very second, at that hour, the child is cured. My brothers and sisters in Christ, when you heard her say “Lord, have mercy.” this is where you and I get Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy. This is where you and I get it from, from her making the proclamation. My brothers and sisters in Christ, she's a we. She's all about her daughter. The powers and the prayers of a mother are so powerful and so could they be for you and I if we would pray with such intensity, and we would pray with such perseverance, and we would pray with such tenacity that no matter how many times the answer's no, you and I will stay the course. That's what she's bringing to the table, and she's bringing it on behalf of somebody else, not even for herself. 
  4. My brothers and sisters in Christ, go back in scripture. Look at all the great players in scripture that were weeds. Think about it. Man, there's Lazarus, the wealthiest man in all of his time. Man, there's nothing he's not involved in. Fabrics, clothing, crops, animals, he has everything. He is the guy of his day, and when the good lord is crucified and he resurrects, he walks away from everything. He takes Martha and Mary and they depart leaving the keys on the door, if you will, to whoever wants it. He eventually becomes a bishop in tradition. My brothers and sisters in Christ, that is the consummate we. Say what you want about Mary Magdalene, but at the end of the day she'd rather be next to a dead savior than a live person on Easter Sunday. That is a consummate we, and her reward, the first to see the risen Christ. My brothers and sisters in Christ, Paul, Saul who became Paul, that's a we. I’m gonna leave my fame, my fortune, my money, and everything so I can be beaten, I can be scourged, I can be stoned, and the ships I go on sink, and at the end of the day I’ll be beheaded. That is how important it is to me that I’d be close to Christ. My brothers and sisters in Christ, but for every one of the we, there's always a me. That’s Pilate. Man, if I align myself with that person, man, I’ll be kicked out of the armpit of the world. I won't even have a chance to ever get to Rome. Let me just wash my hands of it. 2,000 years later, you and I use the same analogy when we say “Oh, they just washed their hands of it.” His name is no longer in the book of life. Can you imagine?
  5.  My brothers and sisters in Christ, the point I’m bringing to you is very subtle but very true. Are you a we, or are we so narcissistic and self-absorbed it's all about me, myself included? My brothers and sisters in Christ, when somebody asks you to pray for them, will you say “Okay, but you need to pray for me.” No, no, are you going to pray for them like this woman? When you do your prayers, are you praying for others first and you last, or are your petitions first. Moreover, are you willing to pray for others and say “Lord if you take care of them, that's good enough for me.” and then our prayers never get mentioned? My brothers and sisters in Christ, when that friend calls you on the phone, and you know you're going to be on that phone for a good hour, you're going to be in the same spot one hour from now after you get finished because it's the same story over, and over, and over again, are you willing to sit and listen and to be the person Christ asks you to be, love of God and love of neighbor, will you sit and listen, again, and be sympathetic and caring for the cross that they carry, Simon? That's right, are you a Simon? Simon is a dedicated we. Simon is the one. I’ve got my children, I’ve traveled to Jerusalem, I’ve already bought my animal, I’ve got my one-year-old in unblemished lamb, I’ve come here for my week of Passover, and you're gonna conscript me to be in the army, to carry the cross of a thief and a murderer, next to two guys that I wouldn't spit on if they were on fire? His name's in the book of life because he's the consummate we. My brothers and sisters in Christ, will you stay on the phone with them? Will you pray for them when it's all said and done say “Let us pray for two or three gathered in our name.”? My brothers and sisters in Christ, when somebody calls you at work and says “Man, man, can you do this for me?” are you going to pull out the old calculator and decimal point and say “I’m sorry, that's above my pay grade. I just don't do that. It's not my job description.” or are we going to do what Christ would do because they called you, Simon? I don't care if they got everybody else's phone number but the only one they can find at work is you. I don't care that your family has all these issues and the only one taking care of mom and dad is you. Well Simon, that's because you've been called, and the graces are twofold upon you. Will you do it at work because that's what you do as a good Catholic and a good Christian? Will you do it when somebody says “Man, can you run this extra errand? Can you stay a little earlier? Can you get up a little sooner? When you get home can you help prepare the meal? Will you help the children? Will you help clean up afterwards?” or are you're just going to walk away? I mean, you did dirty the plate, you could at least clean it. Will you at least clean your room? I mean, you didn't have to build it. You didn't have to pay for it. All you gotta do is breathe oxygen and live in it. Can you help? Is it all about we? My brothers and sisters in Christ, look at the world we're in. We are self-absorbed and narcissistic. We want everything on our own terms including praying the mass. How diabolical. I want it on my terms, yet he carried a cross 12 foot tall, 8 foot wide, one mile. We beat him like a ridden mule. Over   6,000 wounds not counting the 8 inch nails in his hands, the 16 inch nail drove through his feet, which they had to back out because they got it wrong, the number of times they dropped the crucifix, which we believe was twice, with a crown of thorns on his head, which one gave him over 100 wounds, but I’ll be darned Father if I’m going to come out there and sweat. So be it. My brothers and sisters in Christ, at some point you and I have to become sacrificial. We have to pay the price to be what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ, which means we have to be last in everything we do. It's in helping others first, helping our family is first, helping our spouse is first, our parents and our children. If you answered every question as if you were in second place, you will be better served in the long run. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I am begging you to fight the fight of a self-absorbed world. That is what postmodernism is. It's all about me. I have a truth and it's my truth. There is only one truth, there's only one way, and it's Jesus Christ. It begins and ends with him. You're either a follower of him, or you are not. You either made heaven, or you did not. You're either in the gates, or you are not. There is nobody in heaven that is self-absorbed and it's all about number one, I can promise you that. That is why love of neighbor is so important.
  6.  I’ll leave you with this. There are a number of things that take absolutely zero talent. There are a number of things that take absolutely zero talent. Getting somewhere on time takes no talent, having energy takes no talent, putting forth effort takes no talent, putting forth passion takes no talent, Having the right body language takes no talent, and becoming a we takes no talent, but until you do, you will not have any of the ones I just mentioned.
  7.  Amen.

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