2017 Homilies (Written)

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Matthew 5:1-12a; 11-1-2020 (As Built; Amite #422)

  1. Word, as in keeping your word. 
  2. It's the early 1900s and his name is- he goes by Alex and he would tell you that “Look, I was born in the U.K., I got moved to Canada, I ended up in Boston, Massachusetts.” and he's very reclusive. He's kind of an introvert’s introvert, but if you asked his dad and his mom they would tell you that his intellect was just, was so high it borderlined uncommon or unheard of. He said “Don't get me wrong, the rest of my children were good, but Alex was just almost steps beyond us.” He said “At the age of 12,” he said “here we are working on a farm trying to help and this man comes to him and ‘says Alex can you help us?’” Now, he said “He didn't talk to me, didn't talk to my wife, he walked straight to Alex, Alex is 12, and he said “I’m having problems with the cane, I’m having problems with the wheat. We can't get the husk off.” Alex gave him his word, “I’ll get on it and we'll come up with something.” Within weeks Alex comes up with a paddle system that's got nails on it, and as you put the wheat and the cane through it it actually beats it and tears it, and it actually separates, and then he figured out that if he sped up the rpms it would even do more. Man, that's Alex. Gives you his word, therein lies the fruit. Next thing you know, a neighbor comes by and says “Well, you know, I- I really don't know how to play the piano. Alex, can you help me?” and he said “Well, yeah. I’ll give you my word, I can do that.” Doesn't know how to play the piano, he learns by sound and ends up teaching them, and next thing you know, man, there's the word, matter of fact he's so enamored with that, with acoustics, a family comes to him and says “Alex, can you help us? My daughter, she cannot hear. We have no way to communicate.” The sign language we use today came from Alex. Man, it's almost as if, man, Alex is just a prodigy, if you will, and as a result man things start growing. Man, a friend comes to him and says “Alex, I need your help,” he said “The navy is coming and they want me to build boats for the navy.” And he said okay. And he says “What they want to do is make it faster and bigger.” And Alex said “Well, you mean besides just putting a bigger motor on it, right?” He said “The problem is that friction on that boat, on the bottom of the boat, in the water is where the problems are,” he said “Well, the navy's going to come out in a couple of months, can you help me?” He said “Look, I’ll give you, I’ll give you my word. I’ll help as best I can.” He ends up saying that what we need to do is take the motor off the back of the boat, put it up above it, and he said we need to lift the boat out of the water and almost put it on stilts, what you and I call a hydrofoil today. It could get up to 70 miles an hour, my brothers and sisters in Christ. The navy comes out, looks at it, and says “This ain't going to work.” Alex said “Oh, it's going to work. It's going to work better than you think. It's going to go up to almost 70 miles an hour.” They run the test, they prove it works, and next thing you know, the navy says “Well, I just don't see it being practical.” Alex answered to them “Well, the truth of the matter is we only need the air force to control the war, so we don't need you anyway.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, he got so enamored with flight long before Kitty Hawk ever gets him started. He's decided that, man, that this is just the start. He finally goes home one afternoon, he's up in age, his friend comes to see him and says “Man, I got an electrical problem. I’m trying to run wires. I’d like to run it so that we can light up the whole house instead of just run everything off of candles and this, that, and the other.” This is the beginning of what you and I use for electrical wiring and currents. As a matter of fact, he tells the man “You know, if you really wanted to, we could really make this work and communicate through it.” Ah, here we go. The immortal words “Dr. Watson, can you come in here.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, you know him as Alexander Graham Bell. Every time he gives his word, fruit came out of it. 
  3. That is exactly that gospel. It's about the good lord giving his word. Remember brothers and sisters in Christ, blessed are the poor in spirit who have a childlike reverence for God for you will be in the kingdom of God, blessed are those who mourn and I will show you mercy, blessed are those who are meek and you will inherit the land, blessed are those who seek and thirst righteousness and you will be satisfied, blessed are you who are merciful for you will be shown mercy, blessed are those who are pure of heart for you'll see my face, blessed are those who are  peacemakers and I will call you children of God, and blessed are those who are persecuted for you too will obtain the kingdom of heaven. Now stop, he's saying I give you my word that if you live according to this, you will be considered my saints in heaven. Now stop, you’re a first century Jew. You and I have now gone up the mountain of Mount Garrison and all of a sudden we're hearing this talk. Remember, the last time God came to a mountain, he gave Moses the ten commandments, Moses comes down and breaks the commandments because of what's going on. Now he's telling everybody “I want you to come up the mountain to meet God.” That's why he's up there, and when he gets up there he does something very Jewish, he sits down. In every synagogue, only the high priest would have taken a seat. We went up a mountain versus coming down a mountain. We went up to see God and now he takes a seat. He's setting the table so that you will know who he is. Now stop, my brothers and sisters in Christ, remember this. The word in the Greek is called Makários, which is means blessings, granted it doesn't seem like a blessing when he said blessed are the poor in spirit, or the poor, or those who mourn, or meek, or thirst for righteousness, but what he's saying is that is the outline, that is the job description to being a saint in heaven. If you want to make heaven then I’m going to ask you to carry your cross down on the earth so that when you get to heaven you will obtain these rewards. You think it's ironic that the first beatitude and the last beatitude says you'll inherit the kingdom of God? What he's saying to you and I is it all starts in heaven. Blessed be that you'll be part of the kingdom. We come down to earth, our souls are infused, we spend our time on here, and on this day we go home, and then we try to get back up the mountain, and the last one says welcome to the kingdom of heaven for those that have been persecuted for my sake. My brothers and sisters in Christ, what he's trying to tell you is no matter what your trials and tribulations are, I give you my word that I will walk alongside of you and you will never be alone. I will walk behind you lest you fall and I will catch you. I give you my word that I’ll be in front of you so you know the way, but what you have to do is give me your word that you will follow me and the teachings of my church. We are not Piccadilly Cafeteria Catholics. You’re either in, or you're out. You either follow the teachings, or you do not. 
  4. My brothers and sisters in Christ, go back in scripture. All of our best players, Mary Magdalene would have given you her word in her day before meeting Christ, but once she met the word made flesh that is two totally different women. Seven demons later that have been expelled, and now all of a sudden she's one of the most dominant saints in scripture. My brothers and sisters in Christ, if you and I had met Peter, we would have gotten the word of a fisherman before he met Christ, but once he got the word made flesh, well, he became a fisher of men. Saul would have given you his word written in a letter saying “I can persecute Christians”, and he brings us all the way from Damascus. Once he becomes Paul, he believes that to follow Christ we must follow a crucified Christ, hence why there's a corpse on the on the cross and not a plain cross, because we follow in the words of saint Paul. 
  5. My brothers and sisters in Christ, the question for you and I 2,000 years later, “Are we worth our
    word? Are we worth our salt?”. When you give your word, when I give mine, do we mean it? I will call you later. As insignificant as it may sound, will you call that person later? You gave your word, if it's insignificant then why did you offer it, more importantly tie your name to it. My brothers and sisters in Christ, when you tell somebody at work you're going to do this even though it's not your job description, remember do not tie your job description to a decimal point, Judas did it and 2,000  years later we know his name is worth about 30 pieces of silver. You do it because you gave your word as a good person, as a good Catholic, as a good Catholic man or woman. My brothers and sisters in Christ, your word is all you and I have. That's all we'll ever have. When you tell somebody you're going to pray for them, for the love of God, don't back up on that, don't make it as just a courtesy. You said you're going to pray for them, pray for them. You promised, and matter of fact the good lord is waiting to hear that petition. Did you offer a thank you in response to something being granted? Did you go back and say “Lord, I gave you my word I would pray, and now I’ve come to give you my word that I will offer thanks.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, will you give your word when you tell somebody I’m going to be there at this time? Not 8:05 or 8:10 or 8:15, you said 8 o'clock, can you at least have the common courtesy to be there at the time that you agreed? My brothers and sisters in Christ, it doesn't matter where you and I have come from, it only matters where we go from this point forward. Our word is all we'll ever have. The good lord is not handing out memos with the beatitudes on them, he's not handing out the commandments, he's not handing out scripture, he's talking to you and he's giving you his word, so now here you and I sit, and we're probably before the biggest fight our world has ever seen. In a few days we're going to elect the president of the United States. All I’m asking you is to keep your word as a Catholic. Don't talk to me about saying “I am but I don't buy into-” Stop, you're either in the church or you're not. You either follow the teachings of her and him or you do not. My brothers and sisters in Christ, it's between you and him, no doubt about it, but I find it very hard that you're going to be able to go to confession when you don't believe you're sorry and you voted for someone who's brought abortion to our table. “Where are my children?” The very first beatitude, do you understand that the first beatitude, without it the rest of them do not exist? Every beatitude is built on the one before it, so the number one, blessed or the poor in spirit who have a childlike reverence for God, a fear of the lord. Our relationship with Jesus Christ is not horizontal, our relationship with Jesus Christ is vertical. He is God and we are not. He is not only human but divine, so our relationship has to be childlike. 
  6. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I leave you with the words of Napoleon of all people. Tell me Napoleon was wrong, please tell me he was wrong, that “The only time that we keep our word, the only time we keep our word, is when we don't give it.” Keep your word. 
  7. Amen.

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