2017 Homilies (Written)

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Matthew 16:21-27; 8-30-2020 (As Built; Amite #414)

  1. Names, names. 
  2. If I were to ask you there's this quarterback, some may say mediocre, but we would probably say “Oh, he's far greater than that. He's probably our greatest player ever to put on a Saints uniform. They could probably rename the city, more or less.” I’d ask you his name, you'd say “Oh man, that's Drew Brees.” If I ask you who's the greatest quarterback in the day, some may debate the issue, but his name may be in the top two or three. If I asked you “Man, tell me of a great college coach.” some may say Nick Saban. Not here, but somewhere. It's Saban, my brothers and sisters in Christ, is the last name. My brothers and sisters in Christ, you may say his name is Ed Argeron. Man, he probably had the greatest college team ever in the last, well, two or three decades. They may be true. My brothers and sisters in Christ, and I know what you're saying “Well, yeah father I know those names because I’m part of the world. I understand the names of the world, I understand how they're applied,” so if I were to say he was a great actor, you would probably say “Well, tell me something about him.” I would tell you that he's probably one of the greatest actors of our day, has been for the last three decades. If I told you that he was in movies like the Bucket List, he was in Shawshank Redemption, he even played God almighty, then you would say “Man, Morgan Freeman.” For the six people that know who he is, y'all are all tax exempt. My brothers and sisters in Christ, if I told you that spaghetti westerns became possible, you’d say “Oh father, I know that. Clint Eastwood. Get to something that I may be marginalized in.” Abraham’s the father of Isaac, who's the father of Jacob, who's the father of Judah, who's the father of Perez, who's the mother of Tamar, who gave life to Perez, who gave it to Herziah, who gave it to Ram, who's the father of Aminadab, who's the father of sneezy, dopey, and grumpy. Ah, ah. Father, but we know those names. I just gave us the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Does that tell you how far we have fallen? We knew all about movies, we knew about sports, but when it came to the life of Christ, man, I could have thrown those names in, I could have probably thrown in, maybe I could have said his name was Vixen or Blitzen or some other name. Would we even have known it? My brothers and sisters in Christ, you know what's amazing? So let's say we understand the ways of the world. If you do not get seven out of ten of these right, then we don't even know the ways of the world. Seven out of ten, six out of ten ain't passing, and I’m even going to give you a bonus question to make sure that you could possibly make the promised land. If I told you who's on a $1 bill, you’d say “Man I got that, that's Washington.” If I told you a $5 bill, you'd say “Oh, man, that's Lincoln.” I got you. If I asked you who's on a $10 bill, some of you would say “Man, that's Alexander Hamilton.” If I tell you it's a $20 bill, you might say Andrew Jackson. You'd be correct. If I said a $50 bill, would you know that it's Ulysses Grant? If I tell you it’s a $100 bill, would you know it's all about the Franklins? If I told you it was a $500 bill, oh, well man, the test is going south. It would be McKinley if I told you a $1,000 bill, would you know it's Cleveland, Grover Cleveland? If I told you it was a $5,000 bill, would you know his name was Madison? If I told you it was $10,000, would you know that it's Salmon Chase? If I told you there's a $100,000 bill, I’m just looking to see if anybody looks in their wallet. That's all I’m doing right now. Would you know, my brothers and sisters in Christ, it’s Woodrow Wilson. Did you get seven out of ten? I’ll tell you what, I'ma give you a bonus question. The $2 bill, would you remember that his name was Jefferson? And I tell you what, for all the money we just discussed, they actually printed a $3 bill at one time. Would you have any idea whose name was on that? Santa Claus. True story. My brothers and sisters in Christ, It's all about the names. 
  3. That is exactly the point of what the good lord is doing. Now stop, get behind me Satan. You are nothing but an obstacle to me. Now you need to understand where this is taking place. Stop. You are a first century Jew. We have been traveling with the apostles now for over a year and a half, maybe two. It's going into his third year. He has dragged us all the way to Caesarea Philippi. That's the place up on the mountain where all the gods that were the people proclaimed where the god of pan was the intermediary between us and those gods, and he sat us in a big circle and he says “Who do you say that I am.” First words, Jeremiah, the prophet you just heard, Elijah, John the Baptist. You know what's amazing? They're all dead, but there must be something supernatural about him for them to use past prophets. He just asked him “Who do you say that I am.” Peter of all stands and says “Lord, you're the son of the living God, flesh and bones.” “Didn't tell you that, Peter. It could only have come from one spot, my father in heaven, and you Peter will be my rock.” Boulder in Aramaic because that's the language they would have spoke, not Greek, and lethos which would have been smaller rock. He spoke in Aramaic. Boulder, kepha, as a matter of fact, John refers to him. Sometimes We pronounce it Kephas. It's a hard k. It's a massive boulder. He just changed his name called him the massive boulder and for you and I guess what? As a first century Jew we knew that there was a stone inside the temple where the tabernacle and the temple resided. They called it the foundation stone, so for him to change his name and call him the boulder and then refer to him as the stone, my brothers and sisters in Christ, there's no doubt that he is protos, that he is dominant, that he is the lead and Judas would have been last, only for a temporary time until he's removed. The point being, my brothers and sisters in Christ, Christ now has changed his name. It hasn't been a day and a half. He has now told him “You went from Simon, to kepha, to Satan,” and then if that's not bad enough the good lord says “You're an obstacle to me.” Do you know what that is in their language? Scandalon. That's where we get the word scandal from. It means stumbling stone. Just an obstacle in my way that I will just kick aside. From Simon to massive boulder, and if it wasn't bad enough, he didn't stop, he called you Satan. I don't know about you, Christ turns and calls us Satan. Is that a good time to just dig a hole, and bury yourself, and be done with life? And now he's called him, nothing more than a stumbling stone, scandalon. 
  4. My brothers and sisters in Christ, go back in scripture. Names are important to you and I. In the garden of Eden, If I were to ask you, since you know so much of names, what was the name of the couple in the garden of Eden? Most of us would jump in and immediately say “It's Adam and Eve.”, and I would say stop and think. Adam, Adama means ground for he was made of the ground. That's why from dust we are and dust we shall return. That's why we play that game. That's why you need to be buried on holy ground. That's why you need to go back on the ground and not on a shelf, not up on a credenza, not up on a mantle or spread throughout nature. My brothers and sisters in Christ, in the garden of Eden when they ate of the fruit, what does the good lord do as he walks through the garden? “Man, Man where are you?” “I’m hiding.” “Why are you hiding?” “Well, I’m, I’m not clothed.” “Why is that?” “Oh it's not me,” first passing the buck, “the woman you gave me.” “Woman, where are you?” They're not calling them by names. He's calling them by man and woman. They don't get the names, or the moniker of Adam doesn't stick, until after they're kicked out of the garden where she picks up the name Eve. Therefore, names are important. He knew you in your mother's womb, the prophets Jeremiah, and Isaiah, and Elijah. He knew your name in your mother's womb. You and I are now going to be judged because if we lived in the garden there would be no need to have names because there would have been no sin, but once sin entered the equation we now all have names. My brothers and sisters in Christ, think for a minute. All the apostles that you know, however many you can name, how many of them do you know their last name? None. That's how important your given name is. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I want you to think about it. Go to the crucifixion. Everybody that's named in the crucifixion, if I told you what they did, I bet you know their name. If I told you that he pulled out a bowl and towel, you'd say “Oh, that's Pilate.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, 2,000 years later that's his moniker. He pulled out a bowl and towel. We know him by his name. My brothers and sisters in Christ, if I told you that he was standing there the whole time and his job was to get Christ from this point to this point, make sure you do not stop, make sure he does not die, make sure you crucify him because Rome will come, and if they hang me, I will hang you before me. Pilate’s conversation to none other than Longinus, but if I tell you that he turned at the crucifixion and said “Truly, this man was the son of God.” you would know his name is Longinus, and the irony is we're not sure of that other than his name is spear tip because we believed he was the one that speared Christ. If I told you that he, well, picked up the cross and carried it with Christ, you'd say “Well, that's Simon.” All we know he's of Cyrene in Northern Africa. If I told you he gave up his tomb, you'd say Joseph of Arimathea. If I told you that she stayed in the middle of the road and put an imprint on his face so that he could wipe it, you'd say that's Veronica. That is her name, we believe, but her name also means true icon. To this day on Easter Sunday it was with Pope Benedict and John Paul you would actually see that up on the altar on Easter Sunday. My brothers and sisters in Christ, there's only one name, probably more, but there's only one name, per se, that's more important than yours and mine, and that's his name, that every knee shall bend and every head shall bow. My brothers and sisters in Christ, you heard our savior say it. “I am the great I am. There is no beginning and no end. I’m the alpha and the omega. I’m the gatekeeper. I’m the shepherd. I am the messiah.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, if I asked you to go to the wedding of Cana, would you know the name of the couple that got married? It's been 2,000 years and we still do not know the name of the couple, which tells you how important it is that God be present at your marriage. It's so important that their names are not important. Come on, seven days? That's how long they've been there. That's why they need so much wine. Do you understand the significance of why Christ is there? Only at the petition of his mother and the minute she tells him that they are out of wine and he says “My hour has not yet come, what does this have to do with me?” She says “Do whatever he tells you.” She already knows that the minute she says that, his name goes from being Jesus the son of Mary and Joseph to the great I am. He's decided to go public early at her insistence. He is the seventh jar that blood and water will not flow from my side to the crucifixion, so I will fill the six jars you have here because six is incomplete and seven is the most complete number in the world. Seven days of creation, seven years to build the temple, seven jars, notwithstanding six jars, 30 gallons of wine each, 180 gallons. Catholic wedding, just saying. My brothers and sisters in Christ, herein lies the point. This is why you and I must get married in the church or eventually come back to the church to get your marriage blessed because we must be physically in front of him. That's why the sacraments are physical because he came back incarnational. That means he was here physically. That means we have to participate physically. 
  5. The question for you and I is is our name in the book of life, or is it not? Yes or no? You made heaven or you didn't. It begins and ends with do you know the commandments. Yes or no? It's all about your soul, my soul. Do you know the commandments? It's not going to be good enough to say “Well, there's thou shall not kill,” a heck of a start “They got that mom and dad thing. Oh yeah, and I gotta love God.” Three out of ten is not going to make it because if you break any of the other seven, you broke the first one, and the problem in the world today is that we trample on the eighth commandment, and don't even know it because we haven't committed it and there is no excuse for not knowing scripture. There is no excuse for saying the church didn't teach me. There is no excuse. “Well, they never mentioned it in school.” It's your soul, it's mine. You will be held accountable. On the day of our judgment, it's me and him. There will be no arbitrator, there's no attorney, there's no counsel, there will be no friends, and when he asks me “Do you know my commandments, Mark? I would like to hear them because you sure had easy problems trampling them.” What will be my answer? “Well, I didn't really understand it. You know the priest kept talking about it differently.” “No, I’m talking to you. I named you in your mother's womb. I gave you a soul. Do you understand that bearing false witness every time you open your mouth publicly against someone else to lower their standing you have broken the commandment, and to receive communion is now you've doubled down on a mortal sin?” It’s just that simple. You can call it what you want to call it and justify it because “It's true Father, got nothing to do with it.” Nobody said that you're the judge. The good lord said “I will judge you.” He just said “I will repay you according to your deeds.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, when you and I go to work, work is no means for people to know that we are tied to Christ. I’ll tell you what, my brothers and sisters in Christ, if you don't know the 10, I can only tell you, it's on you. I know my ten and I am guarded excessively about him because I know that'll actually separate me from our savior and I cannot receive the Eucharist or the sacraments of the church until I have joined him back. If I want my name in the book of life, I need to know the ten. Once you get past the ten, ask yourself if somebody was to describe you in ten words or less, if I mentioned your name, what would be the first words out of their mouth? Would it be about your hobbies? “Oh, he's a fisherman. He's a hunter. She's this. She's that.” Would it be your work ethic? Would it be your personality? Would it be your temperament? At what point would they say anything about your faith? If we're that far down the food chain, we got a problem. If somebody goes to describe you by name and the word Catholic doesn't show up to numbers three, four, five, six, seven, whatever, that's problematic because the problem is the ways of the world according to Saint Paul in Rome 2,000 years ago is still true today. At the end of the day, your name has got to be in the book of life. It's going to be predicated on how you act. It'll be predicated on your ability to withstand and take the hits, to receive the commandments and follow them, so when somebody meets you, if I ask them to describe you, would they say that was the disciple of Jesus Christ? That woman is Catholic? That husband is Catholic? and then they describe them. My brothers and sisters in Christ, would they see it in the way you and I walk? Would they see it in the way you and I talk? Would they see it in the way we go about our jobs? Drive around town? Would they know it by just reading the emails over our shoulders? Would they know it by the text message that you and I sent just in the past week? 
  6. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I leave you with this. Your name and my name is all we'll ever have. We came into the world on this day and we're going home on this day. It's non-negotiable. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I am begging you. I study the saints that have gone before us and our church fathers and judgment day is not a picnic. I’m going to repay you for what you have done. What will he say to you and I? Will he say to you and I “Welcome home my child, I have waited and waited for you. I was so pleased to see you bring your children to mass. I was so pleased in how you educated them. I am so pleased. Thank you, thank you, thank you for introducing me to your family and your children, your friends and your work. At the tip of your tongue was my sign of the cross in my name. Welcome, welcome to the table of all of my children and my saints, for all eternity.” or will he look at you and me and say “Depart from me. I don't even know your name.”?
  7. Amen.

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