2017 Homilies (Written)

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Matthew 16:13-20; 8-23-2020 (As Built; Amite #413)

  1. Keys, keys, as in the key to the way of life, a key to peace, a key to understanding, a key to carry your cross. 
  2. Our country is embarked in a great world war, World War II. It has now encompassed the whole world. Britain has become quite concerned, so has the United States because if you are part of that war, i.e. a soldier, you end up in one of four categories. If you made it through the war, then you are obviously lucky. You were one of the very few. So you would get through the war either by making it, i.e. being alive, you would be wounded, you would be killed, or you would be a prisoner of war, which subsequently would be a death sentence for over half of them. As a result of it, more and more prisoners are being garnered, especially in Germany. As a result, the prime minister of England has got together with one of his generals, and he said “It's paramount that we save our soldiers, the POWs. It's a 50% mortality rate, and of the remaining 45% percent, they will come out damaged, if you will, physically, mentally, spiritually. Only a few percentage will make it out unharmed. It's important that we get them out. We need them out. We need the reinforcements. We need him to fight the fight. We need to call disarray in the country of Germany.” As a result, the general calls other generals to the table and he says “I need a plan on how to get our prisoners out. What would be the one key?” and they said “Look, before you get started general,” every one of the men there said “Look, there is one soldier that we think we need to speak to. His name is Clayton.” Don't get lost, his name is just Clayton. As a result of it, he said “Why is he so important?” He said “Well, general, he's... he's got a Houdini complex. That's all I can explain it.” He said “I’ve come to know him. He's the only one that's ever escaped a prisoner of war camp. He's the only one we know that's made it all the way back, and we need his input. He would be the key.” He said “Bring him to me.” He brings him. He comes in the general says “Well, tell me Mr. Clayton, what's the key?” He said “Well, there are three things that are important.” he said “First and foremost, you need to understand how a concentration camp works. If you become a POW, you were interviewed by a psychiatrist. That psychiatrist will evaluate each and every one of you and put you in the barracks, that way they have people thinking similarly. They know how to control that barracks. If they need to put you in like a quarantine, if you will, or they need isolation, they can do that too. There would be a 15 foot barbed wire fence around all the barracks. Another 15 or 20 foot would be another 15 foot fence around barbed wire in between it, landmines, dogs, bombs, guns, etc., and then another 100 yards out would be pill boxes all facing in with lights that would come on arbitrarily.” He said “You got to understand, once you get in your chance of getting out are tough, but there are some keys.” He said “Well, before you get started, what's this Houdini complex that you seem to suffer from.” He said “Well, growing up I went to see Harry Houdini and he gets in this box. They put it with chains, they drop it down, and next thing you know he's out, and I just knew that can't be possible, so I stood up in the middle of the congregation of the group at the circus and said ‘For a hundred dollars I bet you that if I take care of that box and I have somebody build it, you can't get out.’ Houdini said ‘Give me the hundred dollars I’ll take it and we'll do with it.’ He gets with the carpenter, he lines out the box, puts it out there. Next show they come, next Saturday, he said he comes, they put Houdini in the box, boom he gets out within minutes. He goes up to the guys afterwards and said ‘Man, I gave that guy a hundred dollars.’ He said ‘well no you only gave him 50.’ He said ‘No, I gave him a hundred.’ He said ‘No, he took $50 and he gave the carpenter $50 to build a box.’” and he said “Ever since then, I’m obsessed with getting out, so I escaped.” He said “What's the key to escape?” He said “I need three things. I need a map, I need money, I need a compass.” He said “Well, well maybe we could put it in the heel of your shoe.” and he said “Well all due respect general, and do what?” He said “Make sure you understand something, when you're outside that gate, you got one job, it's to run, and when you get tired, run some more, and when you think you're about to throw up, you keep running. You don't have time to take your heel off and look at it. What if it's raining and you got a map, or is it a compass, is it broken? I mean, you're gonna put your heel back on?” he said “General, it's not going to work. Give me some time.” Within a week, he comes back. He brings all the generals in. Clayton walks in and lays out this game on a board. Everybody looks at him and he says “That is the key.” and he said “Let me make sure I understand this. We've been sitting on our hands waiting for a week, you gave me this theory about all you do is run and you need a map, and compass, and money, and you bring out this game sitting on a board.” He said “That's exactly right.” He said “Explain it to me.” He said “Well, we're going to take the money, and where it says community chest we're going to put it inside the board, and then when it says over here chance, we're going to put the map, and over here at free parking and go to jail, we're going to put a compass, and in the middle we're going to put a guy like Mr. Moneybags, Grandpa Moneybags. A board game that you and I still play to this day, and you and I call it Monopoly. Over forty thousand men escaped P-O-W camps during World War II because of the game monopoly, because they gave it to the red cross and the red cross gave it to the Germans, and the Germans saw it as a board game to keep them entertained, all the while giving them the keys to get out.
  3.  My brothers and sisters in Christ, that is exactly that gospel. How well did we listen? “And to you Peter, I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.” Now stop, you and I are first century Jews. We are listening to this. It's important that you and I understand some things. Caesarea Philippi was about a one or two mile walk from where they were to get to where they needed to be, and if you and I were at Ceesarea Philippi, we would be sitting at the bottom of a cliff, the mountain would probably be to the tops of those trees. At the top of it would be the temple of pan, p-a-n. All the Gods would be up there, the same ones that you dealt with if you would have lived in the time of Moses, the same ones that they destroyed with the ten plagues. You would see the statues all up at the top, so he's asking “Who do people say that I am thinking that they may look and go up that way.” The intermediary between the gods and you and I is a guy by the name of Pan, Peter pan is where Walt Disney gets it. My brothers and sisters in Christ, it's a play on a theology that's diabolical. As a result, did you hear their answers? “So who do y'all say that I am?” Jeremiah, Elijah, John the Baptist, and prophets. My brothers and sisters in Christ, you know what they have in common? They're all dead, therefore the people that are responding must think there's something supernatural about it because it's not right, because he's doing things that they're not doing. My brothers and sisters in Christ, and when Peter says you're the son of the living God, he says “Flesh and bones didn't tell you that, my father in heaven.” Well, why didn't he tell it to the other 11? Because Peter is Protos. Peter is the prime minister. Peter is the eliakim of the new testament where he is now overseeing the whole house. My brothers and sisters in Christ, make sure you understand how significant this passage is. When he gives Peter the keys to heaven, did you realize this isn't whatever happens in heaven I want you to do it on earth, it's just the opposite? They're so important whatever you do here on earth is how I will handle it here in heaven. Oh yes, the Holy Spirit will come so you know the understandings of heaven, but it will begin here, and whatever you bind here will be bound, and whatever you leave loose, Peter, so will it be up above. My brothers and sisters in Christ, he has the keys and they're temporary because it’s the same way it was in the old testament with Isaiah.My brothers and sisters in Christ, did eliakim not get the keys from someone else, and he too will pass them on, hence why Peter will pass them on. Peter, Linus, Cletus, Evaristus, Alexander, Telesphorus, Hyginus, Pius, all the way to Francis. My brothers and sisters in Christ, this isn't one and done. Now, he changes his name. That's hugely significant to you and I because the people in scripture that got their name changed only happened only a handful of times, and it was very significant. Abram, which in their language would mean  father, or exalted father, is now called Abraham, the father of the multitudes. He goes from very little of a family if non-existent, to the family of multitudes. My brothers and sisters in Christ, Jacob to Israel, Saul to Paul, Simon to Peter, everybody knows that that name change is significant. This is why popes change their names, because ontologically they are changed to the vicar of Christ. My brothers and sisters in Christ, it's more going on in Peter's world than you think. He makes the proclamation “You are the son of the living God. You think it's ironic, happenstance, million to one shot that the apostle creed begins with Peter's words, “I believe in God the father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.” for he's the only one to have heard it. My brothers and sisters in Christ, do you think it's not significant that he's telling Peter even though you saw all this, you've now heard from my father in heaven? My brothers and sisters in Christ, do you know when he changes his name in the in the in the Arabic, remember Christ speaks to his apostles not in English, not in Greek, he speaks in Aramaic, and the word is kepha, k-e-p-h-a or kephas, we sometimes pronounce it Cephas in the readings in Greek, a little bit is pronounced that way but it's a hard C. My brothers and sisters in Christ, kepha means massive, boulder, and why is that important? Because you and I as a Jew know that they have what they call a foundation stone in the temple, which is the stone that they would have placed down and then put the temple, or the tabernacle, on top of the stone, and the temple on top of the stone. Therefore, your temple is built on the stone, and upon this rock I will build my church. Once again, every Jew would have recognized that that name change, and to make it a massive boulder if you translate it to the Greek it's going to mean little stone, but if you go to John's gospel, if you go later in Matthew, you'll hear even Paul and John refer to him as kapha, in Aramaic a massive boulder. This is why Peter's listed first and Judas is last. This is why Peter's name is mentioned over 180 times in scripture. The next closest apostle, John at about 30, and combined all the rest are less than. My brothers and sisters in Christ, that is why he's the first to make the proclamation. He is the first to baptize, the first to do a miracle, the first to make a decision, he's the first in the apostles creed because he is protos, he is dominant. My brothers and sisters in Christ, if you and I were to go back all the way in scripture and now that Peter has assumed the prime ministership over the house until it is time for him to return the keys, my brothers and sisters in Christ, do you know that when the pope dies they break his ring so that he can no longer seal documents, he can no longer stamp approval because the keys are about to be passed? 
  4. My brothers and sisters in Christ, if you and I were to go back in scripture, the key to peace in the world is Jesus Christ. It was back then and it still is today. When Moses has taken over 1 million people out of Egypt to the promised land of which only 2 make it. They're about to cross the red sea. Did you find it ironic that the soldiers and the chariots are coming, he's got the water between him and now the soldier's on the other end, and he's caught? The only way he brings peace is to pray to God and ask for help, for his intercession. The key to peace to Moses was God the father, and he opens up the seas, he crosses over on dry land, the miracle behind the miracle as most of them have, the deaf man who hears, and a blind man who sees and then begins to speak, but yet they never had the ability to learn the language, the second miracle. Here Moses crossing the promised land. For forty years, he feeds them on manna. Forty years they live off communion. One item and one item only. My flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. If I’m not in you and you are not in me, you do not have eternal life. My brothers and sisters in Christ, there are those who left him, John 6:66. My brothers and sisters in Christ, this is where the key to our life is. It begins and ends with Jesus Christ. Saul is blinded for three days in order for him to come to recognize the messiah, and he goes from Saul to Paul because the key to his world was not the trappings of being a Pharisee, the key to his world wasn't his money fame or fortune, his bank balance or his intellect, his key to peace in his life was Jesus Christ. My brothers and sisters in Christ, he believed the Eucharist is true. Go back and read first Corinthians. Did he not say, roughly around chapter 10, that this is the cup of blessing, which is the third cup, which is what we celebrate at the sacrifice of the mass? Did he not say that is not this chalice the blood of Christ? Is not the bread we break the body of Christ? My brothers and sisters in Christ, all the great players throughout scripture all knew that their peace begins and ends with Jesus Christ, with God, with the trinity.
  5.  The question for you and I is 2,000 years later, I think we've forgotten it, or we've acknowledged it, we have an understanding of it, we recognize it, but we don't participate in that peace. My brothers and sisters in Christ, how often, look in the world that we live in, we're in a pandemic world that has lost its way. We have no moral compass. We can riot on the streets, so much for social distancing, but yet I can't even pray inside my own confines because I can't put more than 40 people inside a church. My brothers and sisters in Christ, everything is boiled down to an issue of color. Did you ever think this would happen in our world, and I’m telling you there's only one thing that will bring peace back to our world, and that's Jesus Christ, and if you and I don't find our knees, we will never find a way back to peace. You want peace in your family? Then you all need to start praying together. You want peace in your family? Pray in the morning, together pray before meals, make sure you pray before y’all go to bed, pray as a unit. When you just get married, or your a couple and your children are gone, you want peace between you? You know you need to pray together. I do not care that you hold hands, sing Kumbaya, and enjoy the same movies. At the end of the day, it all begins and ends with Jesus Christ. If you do not have him in your life, you will never have peace. Do you not understand? It begins and ends with the Eucharist. That is where your peace begins and ends. You and I will not be able to generate it. We were already bent towards concupiscence from the very beginning of time. The only place peace was was in the garden, and once sin entered into the world and we left, the world is now the devil's oyster. Look at it. We have lost our way because we haven't found our needs. My brothers and sisters in Christ, you want a better relationship with your children, with your parents? Are you praying together? I mean there's only so much pop psychology to go around. You can only talk about it for so much, but at the end of the day you must learn to pray together because that's what's going to be the glue to hold you together. That's what's going to make you understand. My brothers and sisters in Christ, democracy only works if Christ stays in the game because you and I know deep down in our heart of hearts written Jeremiah is his name. He was written on our hearts, therefore we know intimately right from wrong, so when I’m asking you you got a problem at work? Then pray before you get there. Pray when you wake up in the morning. Okay, after you have your cup of coffee, now go pray. Pick a spot in your house for just a minute before you turn on the television. What are you looking for? Good news? Come on. You're going to read the front page, the sports page? My brothers and sisters in Christ, if you want bad news just wait for it. Watch news at the end of the day. Remember, it's got to begin and end with Christ. When you're in your car, turn your radio off and listen or pray. My brothers and sisters in Christ, turn your cell phones off. Stop worrying about the text messages. Learn to pray. It begins and ends with him. Don't you see? The Eucharist is our way of being fed. We're in the desert, and we will be here longer than I think people care to understand. My brothers and sisters in Christ, there's nothing coming, we haven't found our knees. Think about it. Do you honestly believe the good lord is going to allow you and I to go back to the way the world was just because we burned a few beads? We said a few prayers, and yet we're going to go back to killing our children. “Where are my children?” “Lord, we got a good economic plan.” “I did not ask you that. I want to know where my kids are.” “They're coming. Well, see we have free choice.” “To hell you are, and that's where you'll belong. You take care of my children. I took care of you and I came for you. Yeah you have choice, and I will hold you to it, but nobody has the right to touch my children of all ages, and of all colors, and of all religions, of all sex.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, I’m begging you to take time to go to adoration. I don't care if it's for five minutes or once a week. It's five minutes. You can't just drive by and stick your head in the church, go in adoration, genuflect, bow, and then walk out? Are you so busy doing your job you forget your job? Your job is to get to heaven. That's the only job you and I got. 
  6. My brothers and sisters in Christ, in Screwtape Letters, there's a story about Lucifer talking to a son, and his son says “Pop, them people I got them. Them people in Amite, I got them. I'ma get that group on pride. I’m gonna get that little group right there on anger. I’m gonna get the group in the back on gluttony. Hoo man, that group over there, man, that's lust. I’m gonna get this group over here that's average, sloth, money, and then I’m gonna get this group on envy.” He said “Son, you, you're not very bright. All you got to do is steal their peace and you'll get them all.” John Paul is right. To all the problems of the world the Eucharist is the solution. That's the key. 
  7. Amen.

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