2017 Homilies (Written)

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Matthew 25:31-46; 11-22-2020 (As Built; Amite #425)

  1. Neutral, neutral. 
  2. It's the 1960’s. His name is Jonathan. Jonathan lives in Yonkers, New York. His dad is a professional golfer, his mom is a, she's a can-do mom, can do, does do, all day, every day, twice on Sunday, man, I gotta tell you, he's got a good family, a very catholic family. He has two brothers, one of them you may recognize a couple of the songs he wrote Angel in the Morning and Wild Thing “You make my heart sing.” Yeah, you know it's funny y'all know that part, not Angel in the Morning. I digress, I digress. My brothers and sisters in Christ, and as a result of such, man, he's doing okay. He goes to Archbishop High School, does pretty well there, goes to college, gets his degree, and he doesn't know what to do. His degree was just kind of a general degree, so it doesn't have a direction, per se, and his parents told him “Do something, do anything Jonathan, but you’ve gotta move. Being neutral is not going to cut it.” He decides “Man, I want to be an actor. Nobody in the family is an actor, so what the heck.” so he goes and tries it. He gets on a couple little series, one is Gun Smoke, NYPD Blue, and then as a result of it, he decided to make the big leap of faith and he wants to go into movies. He goes into a Bridge with a View. It crashes so bad, he becomes desperate. There's not enough money, can't pay bills, can't make ends meet, so he just begins to wallow in self-pity, and then, finally, as his parents had got to him and said “Jonathan, enough is enough. You’ve got to move man. You can pray to the good lord, there's no doubt about it, but at the end of the day you got to show him that you're working with him, in conjunction with him.” As a result, he starts getting in a couple of movies, and I got to tell you, it's pretty impressive. He's in the movie Deliverance, if you remember seeing that with Burt Reynolds back in the day. He was in another movie called JP II, he actually played John Paul II. He was in another one called Pallbearer Bryant. He was another one called Glory Road. Okay, I didn't memorize a dozen of these things, I’m just throwing the ones out there that I know. He was in another one called Enemy of the State, which was actually a very good movie. He played Howard Cosell in the movie Ali. Okay, look, look y'all, he was in National Treasure, and his daughter is Angelina Jolie. John Voight. For the one person that knows who it is, God bless you. My brothers and sisters in Christ, you know what it's about? It's about never being neutral. 
  3. That is exactly the point our savior's driving home. What you do to others, you do to me if you do something great, but if you don't do something, the sin of omission. Man, when I was hungry, man, you gave me something to eat. When I was thirsty, man, you gave me a drink. Man, I had no clothes and you clothed me. I was sick you cared for me. Man, you even came and visited me. My brothers and sisters in Christ, by the same token, man, where were you when I was hungry? I mean, you couldn't have spared a few dollars? You couldn't have given me a jacket or an extra pair of shoes that you already have in your closet? You couldn't have at least cared for me and maybe come visited me? My brothers and sisters in Christ, now stop, you're first century Jew. You need to make sure you understand the setting. The good lord is now speaking to more than just his apostles, he's talking to the groups that have now started to gather and he's trying to remind them that you have a Decalogue, you have the Ten Commandments, that tell you what you can and cannot do, but the Beatitudes tell you what you must be able to do. He said this is how it will be. My brothers and sisters in Christ, remember the words of Mother Teresa. Her mantra, if you will, was “You did it to me, so if you fed me, you did it to me also, but if you didn't feed me, you did it to me also.” No decision is a decision. My brothers and sisters in Christ, you just heard the corporal works of mercy, now granted, don't get me wrong and make sure you understand, corporal works of mercy, the sin of omission, is in and of itself the fact that you don't do it is sinful, but make no mistake about it, abortion is mortal, intrinsically evil in and of itself whether you do nothing at all. You're never neutral. 
  4. My brothers and sisters in Christ, go back in scripture. Think for a minute, all of our best players, I bet you I could describe him and I know you would guess who it is.My brothers and sisters in Christ, he was a Pharisee, he had money and prestige, as a matter of fact, he was considered to be the intellectual of the group, and as a matter of fact, he took care of his gardens, he took care of his family, he was the one that kind of sided with Christ, albeit not publicly because fear of reprisal, but more privately, but if I told you he gave up his tomb? You'd say “Oh, man, that's Joseph of Arimathea.” because he moved and he didn't stay neutral. My brothers and sisters in Christ, if I told you that he traveled almost two weeks journey just to get to Jerusalem with his two sons and his family to participate in the Passover meal and once blood got on him, man, he was ostracized. There's no going to the temple, you're not going to be able to celebrate, you've wasted two weeks and all the money in the world, but if I tell you he's the one that carries the cross for Christ, you'd say “Man, that was Simon of Cyrene.” because he never stayed neutral. My brothers and sisters in Christ, if I told you that, man, the only reason, the only reason Pilate is who he is is because he's got the best centurion on the block. Look, nobody wants to be in the armpit of the fight, but if Pilate doesn't have this guy, I can tell you it would be a living nightmare for him, he's the one that made sure everything happened, he had the respect of all the soldiers, he was the one that led legions, but yet at the end of the day he's the one that had to lead Christ through the city one mile carrying a cross twelve foot tall eight foot wide, he was responsible for the crucifixion, but yet he's the first one to make the proclamation “Truly, that man was the son of God.” You would know him as Longinus. Never neutral. He will die two years later when Pilate will send legions to him to behead him, and as a result of it, he will stick to his guns. My brothers and sisters in Christ, think for a second. Everybody I just named, everybody I just named, we only know their first name, but it doesn't change the fact that their name is in the book of life. This is why this is important, because you and I cannot remain neutral. Remember when the young lady was about to be stoned and they had all gathered around and then the scribe says “Lord, tell me messiah, what should we do? She was caught in adultery. Should we stone her, or what should we do?” He knows all too well that the Jewish law is that she is supposed to be stoned, but you know why he's saying it? Because there's a centurion within earshot who is now listening saying “Well, if they decide to stone and they don't get Pilate’s permission, then I will step in and arrest all those involved.” so now he's trying to catch Christ between following the Jewish law and following give what is Caesar’s what is Caesar’s. This is why the good lord drops to his knees and begins to talk to you and to everybody that was there, and as he begins to talk to you and to me, he would look at you and I and start to make a symbol in the ground, and that symbol would be the sin that you and I have committed, and then he begins to write it, and then he stands back up as some begin to decide what to do. He said “Well, tell me, what is your law?” He says “The law of Deuteronomy, We should stone her.” He gets back on his knees a second time and he begins to write the symbol of the sins of all those holding rocks and eventually, my brothers and sisters in Christ, they all walk away, and then he gets up, and then he says “Are there not two or three gathered here to be witnesses? Well, then get up and sin no more.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, what he was doing, and for a Jew, when he writes your name or symbol in the earth, according to Jeremiah, that means you're not going to make it, that means you're going to remain in the earth, i.e. you're going to go to hell. He's saying unless your name is written in the book of life, it's because they did not make a decision. Which way are you going to go? You just remained neutral, you walked away, but the fact of the matter is if I hadn't been there, you would have stoned her.
  5. Here you and I sit 2,000 years later. My brothers and sisters in Christ, you and I can no longer be neutral. You and I have to pick a side and plant our flag. You and I have to make a decision that when we go out to pray and people are watching, will you make that cross distinctly and clearly or will you do it short-sighted, so that hopefully nobody sees or nobody gets offended? You're either Catholic, or you are not. You're either word is in, or you are not. You either made the pearly gates, or you did not. If you and I remain neutral on our feelings and our faith because we don't want to influence others, that's the problem we have now. When good men do nothing, evil prevails. My brothers and sisters in Christ, it's paramount that you understand. The corporal works of mercy are a necessity. It is our job to feed those in hunger. It is our job to give them drink, to clothe them, and to visit them, but it's also our job to profess our faith. It would be very short-sighted of us to only speak one way and then act another. 
  6. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I leave you with the words of Ben Franklin. He said “There are two people in the world. There are those who write about things that are good, and then there are those that do something that we write about that is good.” Ask yourself where you sit. You're never neutral to him. In every conversation, and every email, and every act, and every thought, you're either walking towards him, or you're walking away from him. 
  7. Amen.

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