2017 Homilies (Written)

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Mark 1:1-8; 12-6-2020 (As Built; Amite #427)

  1. Simple, as in keeping it simple. 
  2. The year is 1775. Our country- our colonies are on the brink of a great war. It is the Revolutionary War and I can guarantee you that every man to a person if you were to interview them, Washington, Adams, Johnson, if you were to answer and ask any one of these big time players, Madison, Colonel Lee, every one of them at least once in their life had made the statement. You know that Ben Franklin is absolutely brilliant. He's excellent. To a man every one of them would have said it at least once in their life, so all of a sudden, when, man, Franklin starts to ask questions, they begin to think and wonder. Man, what is it? Let's see, he's invented bifocals, he's worked on electricity, he actually studied the Gulf Stream, studied evaporation, he invented the Pennsylvania stove- what you and I call the little pot belly stove, invented the plow, so when he writes a letter to the war department to Colonel Lee, which happened to be the great grandfather, I believe, of Colonel Lee- General Lee in the civil war- when he writes a letter to him that he has got a secret weapon that will do two things, it will shorten the war immensely and cause almost twice the amount of casualties on the other side, he couldn't wait to get the letter. A day goes by, a few days go by, a week goes by, no response, and then he begins to wonder why. “No, I'm pretty sure Colonel Lee got the letter, I mean I'm sure he believes it in what I'm saying because I don't think I’ve ever lied to him.” He said “Well maybe he just didn't understand.” He said “Well, no. He's a pretty bright guy. He said “Man, I hope it wasn't because of kickbacks, I mean, you know we're not going to win the war so let's go ahead and put all our nickels and dimes and everything else in their currency.” He said “No, man, he's just too honest of a guy, but he didn't respond. I mean, I'm telling you it could shorten the war and it could cause twice as many casualties if you just used our weapon.” Well, man, he finally gets a response, and the response was out of sure respect for the intellect of Ben Franklin and who he was. It said “Dear Mr. Franklin, I thank you for your response and your questions and concerns about the war, and I obviously would like to sit with you and hear what you have to say about this new secret weapon. As a result, we decided to have a meeting and we have invited Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Monroe, and all these people, and then we will sit down and then we will discuss it.” When Franklin gets there, the hall is packed because people have heard it. They know Franklin, they know Lee's a stand-up guy, but what is this secret weapon? Well, man, Ben Franklin gets up and gives his feel. He said it's really quite simple and then he begins and then he notices no one's listening. It was almost a cursory visit. He decided to stop and he said “Well, Mr. Lee, if you don't mind Colonel, could you just come stand up here a minute?” and he said “Let me just ask you a few questions.” Of course, being courteous, stands up, says “General Lee, tell me what is the favorite weapon of our army, our militia in this war.” He said “Oh, it's the brown vest, it's the musket.” He said “I see.” he said “How accurate is that?” He said “To up to 100 yards really accurate, 200 more yards, kind of so-so.” He said “Well, mine is extremely accurate at 100, pretty good and accurate at 200, as a matter of fact, you can maybe get to 300 yards and still be accurate.” he said “But tell me now, how long does it take you to load a musket, put the wad in, put the powder in, cram it down, make sure you can do it, fire it?” He says “You can get off about one minute.” He said “Well, when the fighting starts, you think it might get a little protracted?” He said “Maybe.” He said “Well, we can fire four times in one minute.” he said “Let me ask you Colonel, if something happens to that musket and it breaks and something misfires, can you just fix it?” He said “Well, no. We don't have interchangeable parts so you probably pretty much have to go get a whole nother musket or pick one off the ground or someone who's already been killed.” He said “Oh, I see.” he said “You can repair mine immediately.” he said “Let me ask you Colonel,” he said “when you fire the musket, do you have any chance of any backfire or anything coming back on you? A lot of smoke, can't see what you're doing?” He said “Yeah, it's been known to happen.” he said “Well, that doesn't happen with mine.” he said “Let me ask you a question, when you fire your musket and they got all that smoke,” he said “you got to kind of step out of it, don't you, so you can see what you're shooting at?” He said “Yeah, that's right, because otherwise you'll know what you're shooting at.” and he says “and now, they can see you too, right?” he said “Mine doesn't have any smoke.” You know what's amazing my brothers and sisters in Christ? In the Korean War, in the Vietnam War, they actually sent Generals to go and review everything Franklin said about this secret weapon and asked every general on this committee in the war department “Was Franklin right? Would it have shrunk the war by a measurable time and caused twice as many casualties as on the other?” and they said “Absolutely.” They said “We actually used it in the Vietnam and the Korean wars because it's that deadly, it's that quiet, it's that easy to use, it's so simple you just wouldn't think it. It's the bow and arrow.” 
  3. My brothers and sisters in Christ, that is exactly that gospel. That is exactly what John the Baptist is, he has got a real simple job. My job is to point to the messiah. That is my job. I don't care what I wear, I can wear a camel skin and a leather belt. I don't care what I eat, locus or wild honey. My job, when I baptize him, is to point out that he's the messiah. Now stop. You're a first century Jew. You know the old testament, if you will, like the back of your hand, so when he's out in the desert, “the wilderness”, you need to understand who John the Baptist is. John the Baptist is an Essene Jew. There are three or four different groups of Jews back in the day, there wasn't just one sect. There were the Sadducees who believed only in the first five books of the bible, there are the Pharisees who believe in the first five books plus tradition- how you should wash, how you should clean, how far you can walk on a Sabbath-, then you have you have the Zealot Jews who are very radical in their thoughts, and then you have the Essen Jews who are the strength of the script- that is John the Baptist, they are the ones, my brothers and sisters in Christ, that would not have shaved, they are the ones that could only eat of things of nature i.e. they wouldn't have grown their own crops, etc. This is why he cannot drink fruit, or wine if you will, because it comes from grapes. That's why he eats only certain dietary products. As a matter of fact, they believe in Baptism, my brothers and sisters in Christ, so the fact that John the Baptist is out in the woods and he's wearing camel skin and a leather belt, you and I would have first thought go all the way back to Isaiah, more importantly go all the way back to Elijah because he would have worn the exact same thing, so what do they ask john the Baptist when they get in the desert? “Are you Elijah?” Remember brothers and sisters in Christ, John is out in the exact same spot, you and I would have walked out there, and being good Jews and having good knowledge of Jews you know what we'd have thought? “Isn't this the exact spot where they crossed over from the desert into the promised land? Isn't it the exact same spot, and wasn't the guy's name that brought him into the promised land Yahushua, in Greek is Jesus? Now we're standing in the exact same spot and the guys getting baptized came from the city of bread?” Well brothers and sisters Christ, manna has fallen and then it stops when they get to the promised land. My brothers and sisters in Christ, when you and I see John the Baptist, you and I are starting to think about what what Moses had said back in Deuteronomy, that there'll be somebody like me who will come, that he will lead the people out of slavery, he will lead him to a new promised land and give him a new manner, now all of a sudden here's a guy leading us to a new promised land, heaven, he has now taken us away from the slavery of sin and he's given us a new manna, the Eucharist. My brothers and sisters in Christ, while you and I are out there, you and I are going to start putting the pieces together, and then we're going to start asking “Wait a minute, could this be the messiah that everyone is speaking about?” I mean, my brothers and sisters in Christ, all of Judea, which the Greek word would have been vast because not everyone in Judea went. The Pharisees and Sadducees would not have gone because they would not have believed. My brothers and sisters in Christ, when he said he's out in the wilderness, you and I would have immediately thought back to the desert where they said they were going out into the wilderness. Pretty soon, it would have been like teeth in a gear. Have you ever asked yourself, my brothers and sisters in Christ, who baptized John the Baptist? Nobody ever says it in scripture because he was baptized in the womb, that's why when Mary walked in at Elizabeth’s house and the baby begins to leap and then all of a sudden she makes the proclamation “Truly, how does it be that the mother of our lord come to me?” She and he now recognize that that is the messiah in her womb. He's baptized in the womb. So much for waiting till you're a mature age where you can accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior before you get baptized. My brothers and sisters in Christ, when he says I can't even loosen the thongs on the sandals, as a first century Jew or even a Roman citizen we would have recognized the fact that only slaves could have touched the sandals of a master's feet and if he can't even touch the sandals, man, how much farther must he be removed? My brothers and sisters in Christ, pretty soon you and I would have put all the pieces together. Do you know that the point of where they cross to where he's baptized is the lowest point in all the earth? Christ goes from the highest of the high to the lowest of the low. John the Baptist is there to make one simple proclamation, that he's the messiah. Do you know what's amazing? Nobody had to tell him because, remember, the heavens don't open up in a dove to sin, they call it skismo in Greek, schism, to tear, so the heavens tore apart and the dove descended. He proclaims Christ the messiah before that happens and the only way he knows it is because he's baptized in the womb. My brothers and sisters in Christ, he's got a real simple life.
  4. Go back in scripture. All of our best players are really simple people, not just in how they dress and how they think and act or what they eat, they're simple because they know they only have one job. It's to get to heaven. What they do, their degree, their background, it’s irrelevant. My brothers and sisters in Christ, he's a farmer with children and all he cared about was carrying the cross one mile so that our messiah can get there, and, to this day, Simon of Cyrene’s name is written in the book of life. Veronica only had one job, “I just have to wipe his face so that, two thousand years later, people that live in the world can still see the relic of his face imprinted on that cloth, and on Easter Sunday oftentimes it's placed on the altar at St. Peter's.” She only has one job. Joseph of Arimathea only wanted one job, just to bury our savior. Isn’t it ironic that Joseph of Nazareth only had one job, to protect the tabernacle and make her make sure that he and her were taken care of. She only has one job, to be the mother of the messiah. My brothers and sisters in Christ, look at us. 2,000 years later look at what's going on in our world. Tell me that this fight is not between good and evil, it's got little to nothing to do whether you follow a donkey or an elephant, and everything to do with following the lamb. 
  5. My brothers and sisters in Christ, it's a real simple world. You and I are either going to make it, or we are not. We're either going to be in heaven, or we are not. We are going to do what's truthful and right, or we are not. I don't care what your job is, I don't care about your income, I don't care about the decimal point, I don't care what you have or you don't have. The only thing that matters is that you, your children, and your spouse make it to heaven. There will come a time in our lifetime where you and I will learn that we have to plant our flag, that we will receive communion wherever and whenever it takes, and you and I are going to have to make that decision sooner than later, and if you and I don't make the small decisions, we will not make the big decisions. It's going to be a real simple science whether you and I should take the vaccine or not. We need to make sure of what's in it. We need to make sure we're being told truthfully what is in it because you and I cannot cross that line. My brothers and sisters in Christ, it's going to be real simple for you and I just like it was for Simon of Cyrene, carry the cross or not. Veronica, stand out there and wipe his face or not. Give up the tomb or do not. You want your name in the book of life? You want your husband and spouse's name in the book of life? You want your children in the book of life? Well get back to mass. Stop watching it just on television and thinking somehow another that, man, you've been dispensed of the obligation, that's right and therefore all you did was dispense the obligation. Very little grace will be received if you could have made it to mass. You must receive the Host. You and I would have heard that he is on the hills of Galilee, you and I would have gone out there. We don't care if they’ve got a million lepers, we would have made sure we were on that mountain. We don't care how many crippled, how many people have gotten away, how far we got to travel, how dark it is, how little money we got, we would have made sure to go see him. Well, nothing's changed in 2,000 years. We're about to embark on Christmas season, Advent, it doesn't even feel like we're preparing for the coming of our savior. Oh, there may be something coming and it may not be the second coming, but brothers and sisters in Christ, how long do you think our savior- I’ll tell you what, you're God and you sit on the throne. Five to six thousand children a day pass your throne from being aborted and they, each one, go up to your throne, how long will you sit there before you stand up and say “No, this has got to stop.”? If you're not going to protect the children- “Where are my children?” “Lord, you’ve gotta understand, I got a great- man I don't tweet, I don't talk, I don't do anything.” “I don't care if you have a great economic policy, I am supply and demand. I don't care how great of an orator you are, I gave you voice. I don't care how smart you think you are, I gave you intellect. Where are my children? I want my children and I need to see them.” What do I tell him? “Sorry Lord, it just- we just don't seem to play well together and I just- we've got to just move on.” “Oh, but so you shall and without my blessing.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, it's a real simple world. Christmas is on our heels. You're about to go shopping, and God bless you. You're going to go into Walmart to find the perfect gift. In the world that we live, you’ve got to have the updated cell phone because you need to talk to three mice on the moon. You've got to solve all the world's problems. You need a computer that's faster and quicker and prints better. You’ve got to have a whole new wardrobe. My brothers and sisters in Christ, and to the ladies in particular, I don't care what your shoes look like with your dress. “You don't understand Father, my husband, look at him. I mean, I tell him to go get ready. Look what he's wearing.” You've been married for how long? Why does this shock you that he still can't match things well? My brothers and sisters in Christ, there's only one thing important in this world, it's whether you and I make it to heaven. It's just that simple.
  6. I’ll leave you with the words of Albert Einstein. He said “If you can't explain something simply, if you can't explain things simply, then you don't understand it well enough.” How well do you understand our faith? Keep it simple. 
  7. Amen. 

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