2017 Homilies (Written)

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Matthew 18:21-35; 9-13-2020 (As Built; Amite #416)

  1. Forgiveness, forgiveness.
  2. His name is Edwin. He lives in the year 1840-1860, and I have to tell you he is absolutely the greatest actor of his day, bar none. There is nothing this man can't do. Drama, murder, comedy, he's got it all. You think the actors of today, they hold near a candle to Edwin? I got to tell you, he is so good at what he does, he's not only popular in the United States, Edwin is equally popular in England. It's the 1840‘s 1860‘s. I mean, in two countries he did Macbeth for a hundred consecutive nights, packed every night. As a result, you know what's amazing about Edwin? Live and let live. He lives a simple life. Power, money, prestige, fame, he's got it all. There's nowhere Edwin can go without people seeing him, wanting to talk to him, get his autograph. If pictures were available back in the day, they surely would have taken them. Man he couldn't walk down the street on his own. That's Edwin. He really never cared. He was a very forgiving heart. Man, life is going good. One day, he's decided to take a train out of D.C. and he's waiting on the platform. You know, you've seen it in the old western movies right? That train starts coming in, that coupling is a little too big, and as a result you see that train come in, starts to shake. Same way when it takes off until that momentum kind of catches up. Well, the platforms back in those days would shake because they're attached to the rails. As a result, man, the platform is packed and ever how could you not miss Edwin. I mean, everybody knows him. They're looking, they're pointing, they're staring. Edwin stays in the back, doesn't want to be bothered. Loves people but rather be left alone. All of a sudden, man, the train's coming into the station and, man, there's a blood curdling scream only a mother could yell. As a result, man, everybody's frozen. She's yelling for her boy. He has fallen between the tracks. He's about to get caught between the cars. She is paralyzed with fear and she is screaming for her son. Nobody moves. Not one, less Edwin begins to fight through the crowd pushing or whatever. He gets to the rail, he sees the child, wraps his foot around the rail, grabs it with one hand, reaches between the cars and pulls him. There is no way he should have made it. That's Edwin. Gives the child back to his mom, stands him up, the mother can barely get the words thank you out, bawling her eyes out. The little boy is petrified with fear. Edwin has decided just to walk away. Man, the crowd couldn't believe it. If anybody who could have lost everything, that's Edwin. You know, it's amazing. Edwin lived his whole life like that. About the year 1864-1865 Edwin’s brother gets in so much trouble it leaks on towards Edwin to a point that it cost him everything. You know, when Edwin died, not a penny to his name. Lived in the same house, wore only two sets of clothes. You know, when they found him dead, they had a letter on him and everybody would tell you the only thing he cared about was that letter. Didn't care about lost money, didn't care that his brother ruined his reputation, didn't care about anything. It was a letter from a general working on General Grant’s staff, a thank you letter, now listen, thanking him for saving the life of a young boy whose father, the young boy's father, had been killed by Edwin’s brother. You see, Edwin’s last name is Booth and his brother is none other than John Wilkes Booth. The young boy he saved was Robert Todd Lincoln. The woman that screamed was Mary Lincoln. That's Edwin, forgive and forget. They said when his brother did what he did and assassinated the president, he just felt shame for him. He felt sorry for him and for the country to lose such a great man. 
  3. My brothers and sisters in Christ, that is the gospel. My brothers and sisters in Christ, it's all about forgiveness. Listen to what the good lord says. You must forgive. Now make sure you understand the setting and understand what the numbers and all mean. My brothers and sisters in Christ, according to tradition, small t, Peter is having a conversation about Judas. He's about had all he can stand. He's tired of forgiving him. Him and Judas didn't get along since day one. As a result of him, he's saying “How many times, Lord? Seven times?” Peter's trying to shorten the number. Peter's counting. The good lord, now if you translate it correctly, I would tell you that the translation is probably closer to 7 times 70 and not 77, but hear me out, this is why I believe this to be true. My brothers and sisters in Christ, go back to Cain and Abel. If you and I are a first century Jew, numbers are important. Seven is the most complete number in the world, seven days of creation, seven years to build the temple, three is the most perfect number in the world, father, son, and holy spirit, so sevens are important. If you go back to Cain and Abel, there'll be several years where Cain will be looking over his shoulder for what he did to Abel. In other words, there'll be consternation, anxiety, and worry. If you go a few more generations, there's a guy by the name of Lamech who kills somebody in a heated brawl, and as a result, it's 7 times 70. See how long it's starting to get? In other words, you committed the sin, there's your penance. You commit the same sin again, now your penance is growing. So now, my brothers and sisters in Christ, if you go into the book of Daniel, as a Jew you and I know that 490 is the ultimate in forgiveness, that if you want to be totally resolved from the sin, just pay up 490 years, 7 times 70. My brothers and sisters in Christ, this is why the good lord is saying you got to forgive, Peter, like the ultimate Jew, 7 times 7, 490 years. That means you gotta cut it loose and let it go because if you don't, then I’m not gonna pull the wood plank out of your eye until you have remitted all that you owe in the spiritual prison, heaven's hospital, purgatory, because no one enters heaven until you are perfectly clean, Revelations 21. Go back and read Matthew 5. My brothers and sisters in Christ, heaven's hospital was agreed to by the Jews. They believed in purgatory. What I’m trying to tell you is he's telling Peter be careful. You don't offer forgiveness now, you're going to owe me later, and you will not get out until you've paid the last penny. Now my brothers and sisters in Christ, stop. You heard the parable about the money that was owed. Remember, every time you hear a parable about this guy owed a huge debt. Remember, look for the twist in a parable. Something that's not logical, not reasonable, and here's the issue, when you hear huge debt, if you and I were to go back to the original language what you and I would find out is that he owed 10,000 talents. Stop, 10,000 talents, that's a gold coin is one talent. You and I would be worker bees in the days of the Jews in Rome, we would be paid a denarii a day, the size of a dime. The whole dime is yours to spend any way you would like, a day. Get sick, get hurt, not making it, no dime for you. You work a whole year, you get 365 denarii. One gold talent is worth 6,000 denarii. Think about it, what is that? 14-15 years of salary? 10,000 talents that you owe the king. My brothers and sisters in Christ, it's almost like 60 million days, 160,000 years of income. That's how much he owed the king. The number is exorbitant. You and I as a Jew said “Wait a minute, ten thousand talents? You're lucky you see one in a lifetime, see it not get it.” He's saying that the debt was owed was so great and the king absolved it provided that you paid it forward, but if you don't, I’m gonna get it back from you in either this world or the world to come, so when he goes to the guy, do you know how much he owes? A hundred denarii. A hundred days and he's throwing him in the debtor's prison. Remember, there's no prison for a murder, they just kill you. Debtors prison is just for debts, and the only way you get out is if you pay your debt or someone pays it for you, so to throw someone in jail for 100 denarii when you hold 10,000  talents, 60 million days, 160,000 years, that's when the good lord loses it. That's when the king says this is my righteous anger. 
  4. My brothers and sisters in Christ, go back in scripture. All of our best players understand it. Think about it for a second, you're Peter. You are going to be the leader of his church. For all eternity, statues will be made, keys in your hand, the bible in the other, if you will, and as a result, you will bound in heaven which you bound on earth. He didn't say it the other way. He didn't say you bind it on earth and you could do it up here too. He's saying wherever you bind, it it'll be bound that way on me too. My brothers and sisters in Christ, Peter has his name changed to kapha, boulder, massive, and Aramaic. In Greek it means something different, but they speak in Aramaic, the apostles do, to Jesus. Massive boulder, it also means foundation stone. To a Jew, you and I know that's what the temple was built on. He told Peter “Man, you're gonna be my boulder which I’ll build my temple, my tabernacle.” I know exactly where Peter sits. He sits number one. Now listen, Peter has denied him three times. If the good lord doesn't make a purposeful effort to forgive Peter, think about what Peter's doing after the crucifixion and subsequent resurrection. What does Peter go do? He goes fishing. He's going back to his old way of life. He's not coming back. He's lost. He only knows what he knows. The good lord is gone and then all of a sudden they're fishing. There's only seven of them. Maybe that's because they were only seven fishermen, I don't know, but I’ll tell you this. He swims 100 yards to sit next to a charcoal fire, the same type of fire in which he denied our savior. Only twice in scriptures that word is used, charcoal, and as a result of it, “Peter, do you love me?” Now all the apostles are there and Peter says “Well Lord, you know I do.” “Peter, do you love me?” “Yeah, you know I do.” “Look Peter, do you love me?” Lord, you know everything. You know I love you.” “I hope so Peter because someday they're going to take you where you don't want to go, and dress you like you've never been dressed, and they're going to do it upside down, and for three hours you'll proclaim my name.” If he does not forgive Peter, do we have a rock of which to build our church? Do you know Mary Magdalene went to our good lord according to tradition, big t not little t, three different times people are pulling away, the world's pulling her, money's pulling her, fame's pulling her, fortune, her looks are pulling her away. She finally gets in front of our savior. If he does not help forgive her, which we actually believe is the same woman that's about to be stoned in which he writes the sins of the other people, or the symbol of the sins, into the ground, will she get up on that day and go and go look for him on Easter Sunday, or would she say “Man, what's the point, whatever.”? If he does not forgive her, she will not be the first to see the risen Christ, my brothers and sisters Christ, but because he does forgive her, he's telling you and I that no matter how far you have fallen, I will always forgive you provided you come back to me. You've got to at least turn your head and acknowledge me. Do you know they said Peter cried so much for those three days that when Christ was gone that they said the creases in his cheek never healed. My brothers and sisters in Christ, if he doesn't knock Paul from the horse or chariot because it says he fell to the ground, he fell a distance, Paul had plenty of money, Saul back in those days. My brothers and sisters in Christ, has he become the Paul that you and I know where, in other words, he's bringing converts back to the church? 
  5. My brothers and sisters in Christ, here you and I sit 2,000 years later. How forgiving are you and I to other people? “No father, you don't understand. They have gotten on Facebook, they have gotten on the internet, they have gotten together at dinners and coffees and sat around the table and have trashed me.” Do you think they didn't do it to the good lord? Did they not do it to the blessed mother? You're pregnant and where was Joseph? Your son thinks he's the messiah? You don't think they spoke ill of the good lord, or Peter, or James, or John, or Nathanael, or Bartholomew, or Thomas, or Matthias, or James the lesser, James the greater? My brothers and sisters in Christ, how forgiving are you and I when somebody puts our name on the internet and Facebook and trashes us, how forgiving are we, or do we want our pound of flesh and then some? Do we want our restitution? Does the good lord say if they hit you on your left cheek to give them your right? Do you understand that for me to hit you on your right cheek, I need to backhand you? He's talking about verbal. My brothers and sisters in Christ, are you willing to walk away? Do you honestly want to allow them to attach themselves to you for days, and weeks, and months, and years, so much so that the mere mention of that person's name will cause you to get so mad, you could beat them with an inch of their life and walk away with a smile on your face, and the debt and the regret will pound you for the rest of your life? My brothers and sisters in Christ, will you be able to forgive it and let it go when somebody says man they've abused you and woe to them who's raised a hand to you, and if it was a priest then what waits for him you want no part of. My brothers and sisters in Christ, are you willing to walk away, and when you say you forgive somebody, it's it. There ain't no going back to the well. Don't get in an argument and then go back and bring it back up and say “Well let me tell you, that's great. Well, here, let me tell you what I thought when you did this.” Yes or no. You either forgave them or you didn't. Your word is your bond. That's all we've got. It is hard, but I got to tell you until you learn to forgive one another, you might as well put that suction right up to your heart. You could be on the most pristine day, you could be on the beach, you could be walking in the fields, you could be in the deer stand, the duck blind, the ball field, you could be walking with your loved ones, somebody mentions one name, you could take a tire iron out and finish the business. That's when you know it's gone too far. My brothers and sisters in Christ, when you're tired of being tired, tired of being tired, you will finally cut it loose because why did you allow somebody to get so attached to you that 10 years later you're still harboring it? Five years later, two weeks, two months, I understand it takes time, I get it too, but at some point you gotta cut it loose and let it go. I mean, how much more time are you allowing them to roll around in this real estate? Your mind is very expensive and you're allowing them to run rent free. Why? Because the devil has put the thought and you've entertained it, and now they take with you no matter where you go. You can be this city or another city, this country or another, this job or another, this relationship or another, and it follows you because you haven't cut it loose and said “Lord, I’m tired. I’m tired of them. I’m tired of the family. I’m tired of the relationship. I’m tired of the people at work. I’m tired of the people that I deal with. I’m tired of my neighbors.” At some point when you're tired of being tired, I pray that you cut it loose because at the end of the day, they're not spending one second worried about you. You're not even on the radar, never have been, never will be, and they do not deserve any more of your time. Enough, they have taken enough of your life. Cut it loose and let it go. Be done with them, and when that thought enters your head, give it back to the good lord. I don't care if you've got to do it a thousand times in a day, the more you pray the less the evil one will return. 
  6. My brothers and sisters in Christ, there's a great story, and I’ll leave you with this. There's a cab driver who, 20 years ago, was well above the curve. He decided to get his own cab and spent all the extra money putting thermoses in the back, hot chocolate, coffee, cold drinks, several different newspapers, he got so good at what he did that when people would come to the airport, they'd actually call him Uber 20 years before. He had a clientele that he never even had to show up for the airport, he just had to wait for the calls. One day, he picks this guy up and he says “I got to tell you, ever since I’ve seen what you're doing this is utterly amazing.” He said “Man, I got coffee back here, I got the Wall Street Journal, I got this, I got USA Today, I got what I want.” He said “Man, no problem. I just love what I do.” He's driving along, he gets caught behind a garbage truck, true story. He said man, that garbage truck pulls out, cuts him off. The guy in the back, he's already lost his control. He said “Man, I can't believe that bleep bleep bleep bleep guy did that. Cab driver never says nothing. The guy gets out of the truck, takes the garbage, and starts yelling and screaming and throwing it all about the car. Guy never budges, goes around and keeps going. Finally the guy in the backseat gets his composure and says “Okay, stop. You mean to tell me that what you just went through didn't bother you, hasn't pissed you off?” He said “Just because someone throws garbage at my feet, nobody told me to pick it up.” Same is true for you and I. Cut it loose and let it go.
  7.  Amen.

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