2017 Homilies (Written)

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Matthew 25:1-13; 11-8-2020 (As Built; Amite #423)

  1. Final words, final words. The last words you and I utter from our mouth before we are called home.
  2. It's the 1970’s. His name is Michael. Michael lives in the big city, the city of big shoulders, Chicago. He loves it. He'll tell you that his mom and dad had a tough relationship, but they did okay. His dad worked for the Chicago Sun Times, he was a printer. He has one sister. He'll even go so far as to say high school, grammar school, pretty much uneventful, it was pretty good, and then he said “Man, I just knew that I needed to get to college.” He goes to the University of Missouri and gets a bachelor of arts degree. Michael will tell you, and tell me, he would say “The reason I wanted to be an actor was because of a play I did way back in the day.” and as a result of it, he said “It was so good, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” he said “I just felt like I needed to do it.” He said “I’m starving to death.” When you figure out who the guy is, he's a flight attendant on Eastern Airlines, he becomes a bellhop, he's a doorman, man, he can't rub two sticks together. Then he gets a break in a soap opera called Days of Our Lives. Why so many people nodded their head I have no idea. I digress. As a result of it, he gets on a little series, then he gets in another one called the Hatfield and the Mccoys. Then, Michael starts doing a little bit better and he makes it to Cheers. He is actually the plumber on Cheers, and I can see your mind's moving. Good, good. As a result of it, man, he says “Man, I hit a stretch,” and he said “it got tough again.” and then all of a sudden he said “The world kind of broke my way.” He said “Man, I was in a movie called Shoot to Kill.” and then he said “I got another break in the action,” he said “Man, it was called Platoon.” and then he said “Man, I got another break.” He said “Man, it was almost like the good lord was just handing things to me. It was called the Big Chill. The next thing you know, I got in another one called the Sniper.” He said “Man, it was almost like, man, somebody was feeding me.” In an interview Michael gave not long ago, He said “You know, I just love what I do.” so the reporter said “Let me ask you a couple questions.” He said “Of all the things that you could do in the world, what would it be?” He said “I would love to either act, or to be a reader. I love to read.” He said “If there was one person in the world you would like to be for a day-” He said “Jack Nicholson, just so I could see life through his eyes.” He said “If there was a movie that's going to play that you did long after you're gone, after your final words, what would it be?” He said “Major League” where he played a catcher. His name is Tom Berenger. No, really. It's Tom Berenger. Okay, well look it up when you see it, okay, because you're going to recognize who the guy is. My brothers and sisters in Christ, it's all about the final word. 
  3. That is exactly what he's driving home. My brothers and sisters in Christ, he's saying in the last final hour, and the last final words that you have on this earth, when you come to the kingdom of heaven which will be like a wedding feast, to get to the wedding feast, to get to heaven, you're going to have to pass through your final hour and you're going to have words that you're going to say. What will those words be, for you do not know the hour nor the day? My brothers and sisters in Christ, now stop, you're a first century Jew. This is why you and I do it this way. Christ is a Jew born of a Jewish mother in the city of all Jews, David. He is born in a food trough, a manger, mangia to eat, they call him the bread of life. He is circumcised under Jewish law, crucified under Jewish law, and he's found in a temple. He's a Jew, and as a result of it you and I need to study him as a Jew, so whenever you hear this parable where he talks about there are ten virgins and they're waiting for the bridegroom, this is how weddings work in the Jewish world. When you get engaged, you're engaged for one year. You are betrothed, you are legally married, the husband has one year to find you a home, and as a result of it, the wedding will last seven days. As a result, on the seventh day, you will take your wife, or your spouse, your husband, and then you will go to the home that you have worked for a year trying to get ready. Those ten virgins with their lighted oils are going to walk you to your house, that is how it works in the Jewish world. Now stop, the good lord is saying “That's how it's going to be for the ultimate wedding feast when you return home, that you don't know the hour or the day.” Think about it. Brothers and sisters in Christ, we get bridesmaids from this parable, this is where it comes from, and he's telling them that some of you are going to be ready, and look, there's not a Walmart or Stop and Go, or somewhere, or some type of pharmacy that you can go get the oils, man, they're only walking from here to another building. What he's saying is you don't know the hour or the day, and then there's going to be no arbitration, there'll be no mediation, it'll just be judgment. Now stop, I need you to understand this. When the angel appears to Mary and the angel says that “You have found favor with God,” that “You will bear a child.” She says “How can it be for I do not know man?” She's already betrothed to Joseph, she's already engaged, she already knows she's going to get married. They're going to walk to the house with the ten bridesmaids, if you will. Brothers and sisters in Christ, for her to have said that means that she is not going to consummate that marriage as you and I would come to know because she says “I do not know man.” yet she's already engaged to Joseph and they've already established a date. My brothers and sisters in Christ, this is why the holy spirit will come upon you and overshadow you, the same Greek word for the glory cloud that used to come down out in the mountains and over the tabernacle. My brothers and sisters in Christ, it's important you understand that because oftentimes we say that she had children, yet she's telling the angel that's not how it's going to be, and that's why the angel calls her by her title “Hail, full of grace” and not by her name Mary. He calls her by her title because it's a past active verb, which means all the way back from the beginning, when you were born, you were full of grace, you had no sin. You can't have relations with Joseph, he has original sin and so will the children, therefore you will no longer be full of grace. That means I would have lied to you, and therefore when it's time to be assumed into heaven, body and soul, so will it be because you have no sin on your soul for you are full of grace. That is the power of what he's trying to talk to you and I about. The last words, my brothers and sisters in Christ, before you get to the wedding feast are paramount. 
  4. Look, go back in scripture. All of our best players have very profound statements. Take Christ as our example, his last words on the cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” He also made the statement “Lord, I commend my spirit to you.” In other words, death doesn't come to me, I allow it to come and I give you my spirit. My brothers and sisters in Christ, what if you were Peter? Do you know Peter preached for three hours upside down on the cross? His last words were preaching the gospel, and according to tradition, small t, you know what his last words to his wife who was martyred on the same day? “Go with God.” Boy, from his lips to God's ears. Do you know if you're James the greater, that's John's brother, they said he was so convincing in his belief of God before they beheaded him, he was so compelling, they said “Man, he could have reached out and grabbed people's hearts.” They said his talk at the end was so powerful that one of the guards took off his helmet, laid his sword down, knelt next to him, and got beheaded as well. From our lips to God's ears. My brothers and sisters in Christ, the good thief. His last words, “Remember me Lord.” Just remember me, have a thought of me, just a passing remembrance. “This day you'll be with me in paradise.” 
  5. My brothers and sisters in Christ, here you and I sit 2,000 years later. What will be our last words? What will be our final word? Well, let's see. My brothers and sisters in Christ, How much time have you and I spent on the computer vs reading scripture? How much time do you and I spend playing on the phone? How much time do you and I spend in conversation about things that we should never have discussed? My brothers and sisters in Christ, how much time should you and I spend? This is my point, the more time you spend in the secular world, the less chance you're going to have of saying the right thing when the time comes. You've either been living the life, or you have not. You either made it, or you did not. You're either in, or you're out. There's no in between. If you're expecting your final words, from your lips to God's ears, to be so heart-wrenching and so great and so powerful, the only way that's going to happen is if you've been living the life up until that point. If you're caught up in the world, in the work, and the socialism, and then all the things on television, and the video, and the phones, then I can tell you your last words will mimic your lifestyle. Case in point, I’m going to give you 10 names of people that passed that you and I may not know personally, but we would have some understanding of them, you know their name, you understand kind of where they were in the world. For example, Michael Landon, a very prayerful man, Little Joe on the Ponderosa, the Cartwrights. Okay, great Lord, thank you, we got one. His last words to his family, “It's time for me to go, I love you.” Man, only a man that's been staying close to God would have even thought about his family and using the word love, and now it's time for me to go. My brothers and sisters in Christ, there were several others, I’m going to give you their names and I’ll explain to you why I think their words were so profound. Michael Landon said that, the next person up would have been someone like Winston Churchill, who was all about the world and solving the world's problems. His last words on Earth, “I’m bored, it's time to go.” Wow, I could have thought of a thousand things I wish he would have said. My brothers and sisters in Christ, Leonardo da Vinci, who paints the Sistine Chapel and all the great paintings and sculptures, “I have disappointed God and mankind. My paintings are just not that good.” Wow. My brothers and sisters in Christ, the man that shot Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth, his last words, “Useless.” quote, unquote. Elvis’s last words as he was walking to the restroom, he was told don't fall asleep, and his answer was “I won't.” That's it. My brothers and sisters in Christ, Steve Jobs yells out “Wow. Wow. Wow.” as he was looking up into the heavens. My brothers and sisters in Christ, Mozart made the statement “Lord, I can feel death at my doorstep, and I can feel there's something supernatural here.” Alfred Hitchcock, “It is time for me to go. I don't know what waits for me, but the Catholics say we should have hope.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, here you and I sit two thousand years later. What will be your words on your deathbed, your last words to Christ on your lips to his ears? Will it be “I’m sorry Lord. Forgive me. Welcome me Lord to the table of all your children. I am wrong for all the things that I’ve done.” or will it be something secular, because that's all we know? My brothers and sisters in Christ, your last words are just that. They better be profound, and if you don't live the life today, you're not going to say it when the time comes.
  6. I’ll leave you in the words of the blessed mother. According to tradition of Saint Mary of Agreda, when it was time for her to return home, she said “I will follow my son. I will follow my son, and I offer my spirit.” almost the exact same words her son says at the crucifixion. “I commend my spirit.” What will your last words be? They are the most powerful. 
  7. Amen.

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