2017 Homilies (Written)


Matthew 22:15-21; 10-18-2020 (As Built; Amite #421)


  1. Portrait, as in a self-portrait. A painting of your own doing.
  2. The year’s 1990. His name is Philip. Oftentimes, he goes by George, but Philip is really where it resonates with him. He is a UK boy from the very beginning, born and raised in the UK. He will tell you that his parents were good people. They didn't make it very long, but they were good people. He'll tell you his dad was a commercial pilot, he'll tell you his mom worked in the circus. She was actually a clown in the circus, the head clown, be that as it may, and as a result of it, he has three sisters, and he said they traveled a lot, commercial pilot, you know, the circus, and if you asked him “Philip, tell me about your life.”, he'd say “Well, man, growing up was tough.” He said “Man, I had that thick accent and then we moved and we traveled,” and he said “Man, it was just tumultuous. I mean, there was bullying, there was fights,” and he said “Man, it was just the accent.” You know, if you ask him today “Phillip, what was it like going to visit your mom in the circus?” He said “You know,” he told the reporter “I met my first girlfriend and I had my first kiss,” he'd say “at the circus.” and he started laughing. The reporter asked him “Why are you laughing?” He said “Well, I guess, I guess I’d ought to be happy that my mom didn't work in a zoo,” and he said “but it worked out,” he said “They got a divorce and, man, you know it is what it is.” They asked him “Well, when did you think you might want to act?” and Philip said “Well, along the way, because everywhere I went I was the new kid on the block, I always wondered what it was like for other people, so I always wanted to walk in their shoes, and when you want to walk in other people's shoes, you kind of always want to play their role.” He said “Then I hear my dad stood in for John Wayne,” and he said “Man, that was all it took.” He said “But let me tell you,” he said “It was no better roses for him.” He said “Man, I started out, some of the shows that I did,” and he'll tell you, he said “Man, there was one,” he said “I did that if it hadn't been for Charlton Heston, I’d never made Treasure Island.” He said “Man, I was involved in another one,” and he said  “It was so bad,” he said “We're just gonna skip the name,” he said “It just, it just didn't work.” and then he said “I thought, well, maybe if I could just get a little bit out of it.” and then another one was called In the Rising of the Sun. Gave him a little notoriety. Then, he got into a show called Anastasia. Man, people started to pick their head a little bit. Then, he said “Man, I got on another wrong road,” and then he said “Man, it was going south.” He said “I got into one called Little Women,” and then he said “That didn't work. Then I got into a show called Hostile,” he said “Man, the whole show was hostile.” He said “Man, it was almost like no matter what I did, it was going south,” and then he said “I get a show called the 3:10 to Yuma.” and he said “Man, the world starts to change.” Then he says “I get another one called the American Psycho, say what you will, but it was pretty good.” Then he says “I get in another one called the Machinist.” He said “Then my notoriety really started to grow.” Man, then he said “I started getting in no matter what I touched.” He said “It just seemed to turn to gold.” He said “If we had to pick one movie that you did, that if they wanted to paint up a picture of you, a portrait of you,” he said “what would it be?” Philip said “Man, if I had to paint a picture of me and my acting ability,” he said “I would only pick one show,” he said “Now look, I don't like superheroes. Mario Brothers is my type of superhero,” he said “but it's got over 100 moving parts just in the costume.” He said “I’m claustrophobic, you put this costume on you become real claustrophobic.” He said “I am the first non-American to play Bruce Wayne.” I’m the first non-American to play Bruce Wayne, big bat in the sky, big bat in the sky brothers and sisters in Christ. He says “One thing I tell you about getting up into this uniform, you better go to the bathroom before, because once you get it on you ain't getting off in time.” He said “Man, it was everything I thought it was to play batman.” He played in the Dark Knight, the Dark Knight Rises, and you know him as Christian Bale. Okay, for the eight people who know who he is, God bless you. You know, it's amazing my brothers and sisters in Christ, they interviewed him afterwards. Do you know he's never seen the movie Dark Knight? He's never watched the movie that he was in. They asked him “Was there anything you did in the movie that was not portrait-esque of batman, that if they think of you, they think of batman, they think of the costume, is there one thing you did in the movie that was not very batman-esque.” He said “Oh, absolutely.” He says you know, the signal goes up into the sky, they're calling for Batman, Morgan Freeman's in the room in the movie, Michael Caine, they're having a meeting because Morgan Freeman's the head of the of his business, and of course Michael Caine is his butler, per se, and as a result, they're talking to him. He's supposed to be pretending to be asleep because they don't know whether to wake him because the sign is in the sky. He's sound asleep through the whole thing, they actually had to wake him up and do the skit over because he forgot to wake up. Man, my brothers and sisters in Christ, it's all about the portrait. 
  3. That is exactly the gospel. “Whose image is on the coin?” They said Caesar. “Well then give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, but give to God what is God.” Now stop, let's make sure you understand, you're a first century Jew. You need to understand where this is taking place. The good lord has just run through the temple. He has turned over the table of the money changers, on a sidebar remember this, when people say the good lord got angry in the temple, to a point, he never loses control. That's the difference between being upset and being angry. Angry oftentimes connotates a lack of control. How do you and I know that Christ didn't lose control? Because when he's in the temple and he goes over to the table of the money changers, he turns over the tables and everything, and then when he gets to the table where the doves are, he only turns over the stools because if he turns over the table, he'll kill his own creation. He has now done that in the temple. He's given them two parables to the Pharisees, one about the vineyard, that the king will build a great vineyard, he will lease it out, and then the people that he leased it to won't pay it, and then now he's got to bring judgment upon them. They don't get it. He talks about the big wedding feast that nobody comes and as a result he has to throw a man out because his soul is not clean. They still don't get it, so they want to know by what authority are you now throwing these things around, running out our animals, throwing over the coins, telling people to leave, and that this is the house of God, and you're playing God. How is it you could do this? So this is what they do, so you understand who the power to be are, the Herodian’s are people who follow Herod, King Herod. King Herod is a butcher and a murderer. He is titled king of the Jews because he wants you to believe that he's a Jew. He's not, he's an Edomite, but what he's learned is if I don't play well with Caesar, then I’ll never have control, so what he is very much a Roman but he wants to be seen as a Jew. This is why he's so mad when the wise men come and the wise men say “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?” when he's the king of the Jews. He is killed his favorite wife, favorite, he has killed three of his sons, he killed 50 Jewish leaders to take over their role to become the new king of the Jews, and if this isn't sad enough, the day before he dies he convenes a council with his centurions and says “Everybody on my council must be killed on the same day that I die so that people will at least weep at my funeral.” They fulfill that wish. This is how diabolical. He's all about Rome. They're part of the group that's going to see the good lord, the other group are the Pharisees. They are called the separated ones, they are very popular politically, they have a lot of clout, they have a lot of money, and as a result they are Jews, but they don't want to cause problems with Rome because they just got to deal with them. The only thing the Herodians and the Pharisees have in common, besides hating each other, is they hate him more, so now they're bringing him a coin. The coin is a very particular coin, it's about the size of a dime called the denarii. You would get one a day for every day that you worked, that's the payment. On it is a picture of Tiberius Caesar. Tiberius is the son of Augustus, who followed Julius. Those are the only two Romans that they believed were divine, so on the coin it has “Son of the divine” so this is why the good lord is saying “Well, whose image is it?” They said “Caesar.” That's right because Tiberius is the current Caesar. Well then, give to Caesar what is Caesar’s but give to God what is God. Now, my brothers and sisters in Christ, remember, they're trying to get the good lord to make a statement. If you tell us that you're not going to pay Rome’s taxes, they're going to accuse you of sedition and then they will take care of business that way. If you're saying that you have more allegiance to that image, then they're going to say “Well, if you go back in Exodus, God talked about no graven images.” This is why the good lord's answer is so Godlike. If it's his image then give it to him, but if it belongs to me, then give it to God. Now remember, you are a Jew, so whenever you hear the word likeness, that goes all the way back to Genesis. Please never forget this, only Adam, and to a certain extent Eve, were made in his image and likeness. Image that you are like God and that you have dominion over the animals and that you are like him in that you have no sin. Your image is that you are a king, and you have no sin so you are like me. When Noah comes off the ark, what does God tell him? “You've been made in my image.” He never again says anything more about being like me because of original sin. Adam and Eve didn't have original sins, so they were like God in that way. That's where the good lord is going. You're bringing sin to the table, so you want to be like him? Then give it to him, but give to me what is mine. 
  4. Brothers and sisters in Christ, go back in scripture. If you had to paint an image or a portrait, or if I put an image or portrait up here and I said “Who is this man?” and I dropped this painting down and you see him carrying a cross with our savior, clinging to him, you'd say “Oh, that's, that's Simon of Cyrene.” If I had showed you an image of a woman sitting there in our hands and holding a veil with the image of Christ, you'd say “Oh, that's, that's, that's Veronica. If I tell you there's a woman reaching out to touch his tassel, now remember, Christ is a Jew, the tassel is not at the bottom of his feet, it's up in his garment, he's wearing a prayer shawl, so to get this high up through all the apostles, but yet she touches it, you and I would now know too that is also Veronica. We believe that tradition holds that that was her that touched the veil, that touched his tassel and had so much courage to stand in the road of the crucifixion. If I told you, brothers and sisters in Christ, that he's standing there looking at Christ and says “Truly, that man was the son of God.” and he's holding, he turns, and you notice he's holding a spear tip with blood on it, you would say “Man, that's the image in the portrait of Longinus.” 
  5. My brothers and sisters in Christ, nothing's changed in the world in 2,000 years. If I showed you an image of a lady called the Mona Lisa, an image would immediately come to your mind. If I told you Washington is standing in a little boat crossing the Delaware, an image would come to your mind, a portrait. If I told you dogs playing poker, yes, a portrait would come in your mind. Well, now here we sit 2,000 years later. If somebody was to come paint a portrait of you over yesterday, just yesterday, what would that painting look like? Would you be angry? Would you be mad? Judgmental? Condemning? Would they be showing you in prayer? Would they even show you holding a rosary in your hand? Would religion be anywhere in that picture? Yesterday? Last week? Last month? Last year? If the good lord said “I’m going to paint a painting of you using only your words that you used all last year, the painting is nothing with you in the front and me and behind it every word we used. What would be the caption he would write at the bottom? Sailor, because we cursed like one? Blasphemer, because you used my name or you dropped the f-bomb? Out of the mouth of Satan is where that one came from. Would he have gossip, slander, a man or woman after my own heart? Just your words? What if it was just our actions, and man they had a painting last week, last month, or last year of just our actions, the things we did, what would be at the bottom of that painting? Would it be apostolic? A disciple of Jesus Christ? Would it say lukewarm, where I will spit you out of my mouth? A fence walker, we never pick one side or the other? My brothers and sisters in Christ, we say it's all about the party, nothing but elephants, nothing but donkeys, we only follow the Lamb. Don't ever forget that because that's how our portrait is going to be painted. At the end of the day, if the good lord was going to paint us a portrait, the ID that you and I were going to use to get into heaven, it's our passport to heaven, what would it have on it? Would it have a backdrop with all our degrees? Irrelevant. Would it be a backdrop with all the things that we've accomplished and all of our awards? Inconsequential. Would it be all the things that we've done with our family and trips? That's nice, but when it came to painting you and I, what would the good lord have painted? What will you and I have painted? If there's only one image behind it that will dictate whether we enter the kingdom or not, what will it be? Will it be a crucifix with a corpse on it? We follow our crucified Christ, Saint Paul's own words. Would it be the statue of the holy mother? Would it be a big rosary? What would it be that allows us to get into heaven, and I can tell you if that one image is not the most dominant image, if it is not the portrait that God wants to see, we are late. We are too late. The judgment will be final, no arbitration, no mediation, no negotiations, no nothing. The one thing that you and I must have in our image, and it must be the dominant part of the image, so much so that you don't even recognize anything else in it, not the degrees, not the awards, not the prestige, not the people we know, not the ceremonies we attended, or the places we went. The one thing Christ will say, and everybody else would say in our family, “Now that's a portrait of him or her.” Will it have a rosary and nothing else? Will it have the ways of the cross? Will it have the seven sacraments? Will it have a sign of the Eucharist? Will it have the last rites or confession, or will it only have six sacraments because we confess our sins directly to God, even though confession was in play before Christ came into the world, Leviticus 5 and 6? My brothers and sisters in Christ, I am begging you. You do not know the hour or the day. What portrait will we paint that the good lord says “Oh no, you can take that out, irrelevant, inconsequential, immaterial, that has no bearing. Been better you never took that picture.” What is it that you and I must have in that painting? That's how you and I must live. Don't you see? It's the only thing that matters. You came in on this day, we're going home on this day. Everything that takes place in between is only a test to see that your followers of Jesus Christ and his church. All I’m asking you is you and I do not know what is to come, the painting that you and I paint must have only one image behind him, and it better be tied to his church because otherwise brothers and sisters in Christ, we have nowhere to go. What's going to be our excuse? Man, that's how the world wanted it? I just, I just, I just, I can't do that lord. I just, I couldn't see that. Well, I just didn't believe it was that important. Don't you understand? The church is everything, it's his church, that's why he formed it. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I’m begging you to stop and think about what you're doing in every aspect of your life. Live in the moment. You're in an arena in Florida Parishes at Amite, Louisiana participating in the sacrifice of the mass. Everything is irrelevant, you're here. 
  6. My brothers and sisters in Christ, and I’ll leave you with this. Our world has lost its way. We have no compass, we have no moral compass, we are not following the teachings of the church, and I’m telling you right now that if you and I don't learn to stand up on our own two feet and start following the teachings of the lamb, we will pay a price, that our children and grandchildren will wish we never walked this path. I am begging you to be careful on how you vote because it begins and ends with his children. That goes with capital punishment and euthanasia, but woe to you who put somebody in that spot because you think they got a better plan, or policy, or economics, or understanding, or they just get along better. I don't care and neither will he because all things tie directly to Christ. You have no plan, you have no economics, you have no supply, you have nothing without me. You don't even have life, you don't even have zoe. I am begging you to make sure you understand the portrait that you and I paint is the way we live our lives, and if the dominant painting in your background is not of the church, there's nothing I’m going to be able to do, nor you. My brothers and sisters in Christ, be careful on the portrait that you paint. 
  7. Amen.



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