2017 Homilies (Written)

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John 1:6-8, 19-28; 12-13-2020 (As Built, Amite #428)

  1. Think, think, as in what do others think. 
  2. It's the 1920’s, 1930’s. It's in England and it is bitterly cold. I'm talking so cold that it's the type of cold that you feel in the very marrow of your bones. You walk and you actually take a jacket and you pull it tighter around you, man, you almost shake so bad that you almost got to generate your own heat, if you will, and as a result of it, the colonel has decided this is the perfect night to make a proclamation that i'm getting married again. I'm going to have a new announcement party. There would be no better time than now. His ex, Mary, catches wind of this and Mary has decided this is the perfect time to set the perfect murder, my own. As a result of such, she goes back to the south side of England, she gets in her car, she drives her car up to an embankment the following night, the same night as the announcement party, she gets it up to the very top, she puts the car in neutral, she leaves the keys in the ignition, she takes her jacket, leaves it on the front seat, and with all her might and all it can take and for the pushing and shoving to get it just over the embankment so that it can go down. As a result of such, man, it goes down into the big plume of water. It's so dark and deep, it's like one of those bar pits, man, and then she goes back to the house, she gets on the phone, she calls the colonel and says “I understand you're having an announcement party tonight. I'm going to come there and tell everybody what a great guy you really are.” The colonel is panicked. He's decided, man, we can't have this. He excuses himself from the announcement party. He drives literally 30 minutes to get there, gets to the house, she's not there. He goes around, he's looking outside, he finds out the car is gone. He said “Oh my gosh, she's returned to the announcement party. It is gonna be a shipwreck.” Man, he jumps back in his car, he drives all the way back, gets there, she's nowhere to be found. He starts to think about it, maybe he just misunderstood, so he's decided just to let it go. The next morning, when he wakes up along with his bride-to-be, there is a knock at the door. It's the police. “Colonel we have a few questions for you.” He said “What seems to be the problem?” He said “Well, we found your wife's car. It looks like it went over an embankment, and, as a result of it, we have some questions for you.” He said “No, look, you’ve got to understand–”. He said “Colonel, you’ve just got to answer the questions, that's just how it is. We found your wife's car and about it–”. He said “Look, she probably just drove it off the edge of the cliff.” He said “Well, it was in neutral as if somebody pushed it.” “Oh, that's what she did. She pushed it.” and they said “Oh, I see, in that cold weather with her jacket on the front seat. Colonel, where were you last night?” “Well, I was- I was here.” “Well? What do you mean well? Were you gone five minutes, ten minutes?” He said “Well, I did leave for about an hour.” “Well really Colonel? Where'd you go?” He said “Well, my wife called. I thought there was going to be a little bit of a storm because, you know, I'm getting remarried and I went to the house but she wasn't there.” “Well, that's pretty convenient Colonel.” and he said “Well, I didn't kill her.” He said “Well, the problem is Colonel that you've got no way to explain your absences.” so they actually arrest him. True story, it's about to go to trial. Mary has left and has gone to another country. She's living under an alias, and, for the duration of the trial, she does a good job of keeping her head down, but like anything else it's a small world. Somebody sees her and recognizes her. They now go get her and they bring her back. She feigns amnesia, that I don't know what happened. As a result, they're about to convict the colonel. Literally, that was the verdict coming down, that he would be guilty of her murder. Well, now she's going to jail, and, as a result of going to jail, man, people are talking to her attorney's, talking to her, the judge is telling her “Man, what are people going to think of you?” and she said “Well, I wonder what they think of me after I write a book about this.” and you know her as Agatha Christie. Yeah my brothers and sisters in Christ, what other people think. 
  3. My brothers and sisters in Christ, that is exactly the gospel. My brothers and sisters in Christ, do you think John the Baptist cares what other people think of his wardrobe? Do you think John the Baptist cares that he's unshaven? Do you think John the Baptist cares about his dietary habits? The only thing that John the Baptist cared about is that I must decrease and he must increase. I must bear witness. Now stop, this is what you need to know about John the Baptist. Whenever you hear somebody say “I must bear witness” that means you must be a martyr, and I think the Greek word is martus. In other words, if John the Baptist is going to lose his head over this as a result, and Christ is going to be martyred, do you ever ask yourself “What do you think the apostles must wonder?” Do you think they know they're getting away scot-free? It's like signing the Declaration of Independence. Once you penned it, Ben Franklin was right. “We better hang together because we're all going to hang separately.” They know martyrdom is coming. Now remember who John the Baptist is. His parents have already come and gone. He's not just living in the wilderness as a cave wanderer, there is a group of Jews. There are Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots, and what they call the Essenes. They're extremely strict. You can only eat certain things, you can't drink wine, you believe in baptism, as a matter of fact, brothers and sisters in Christ, if you actually go back to the Essene community outside of Jerusalem near the Jordan, they will actually tell you that if there was a school there for the Essene Jews to learn the faith so that you too could become a teacher of it, and the height of irony is one of the names on the list would be  John. My brothers and sisters in Christ, where he's baptizing in the river Jordan is exactly the same spot that Yahshua crossed them over into the promised land after 40 years in the desert. Do you think it's ironic that a guy by the name of Yahshua, Jesus in greek, leads them to the promised land? Manna stops to fall and then the bread of life, Jesus, comes and is baptized in the exact same spot, which is the new manna- the bread of life. My brothers and sisters in Christ, when he says “I can't even loosen the thongs on the sandals” you know even a slave could do that. That's telling you how far John has to fall. This is why he says I literally have to be martyred. Why? John is extremely popular. Everybody wants to go see what John has to say. My brothers and sisters in Christ, remember this. He's the only one that recognized Christ prior to the heavens opening up and a dove descending and God the father saying “This is my son with whom I'm well pleased.” He's conversing with Christ before that saying “Well, shouldn't you be baptizing me instead of me baptizing you?” How does he recognize him? From his baptism in the womb of his mother. That's why he danced in the womb because the veil was now taken off of him so that he could recognize the messiah in Mary's womb. So much for waiting until you were old enough. My brothers and sisters in Christ, it was the removal of the veil of original sin. 
  4. Now my brothers and sisters in Christ, stop and listen. What other people think didn't have any impact on John the Baptist. If it would have, he surely wouldn't have given up his head, or wore the clothes, or ate what he did, but throughout scripture people fall into two groups. They either try to follow Christ and do what they believe they need to do regardless of what people say, or those that are just overwhelmed with it and, man, they just seem to go with the tide. That's Pilate. Pilate's own wife is telling him “Whatever you do, don't touch that man. I'm telling you, I had a dream and this guy is a holy man. Walk away from it, you have the authority. What pushback could there possibly be? So what do you care what people think?” but the fact of the matter is, my brothers and sisters in Christ, he cared so much about what the Pharisees think that he crucifies our savior. Do you know what's ironic? The same group of people, Pharisees and Sadducees, that are arguing with Pilate about crucifying him. They got their way and, okay, they were great friends. Five years later they're arguing again over the issue of water and, as a result of it, Pilate takes his own life. My brothers and sisters in Christ, for every one of those, there's a handful of those that simply don't care what other people think. Do you think Mary Magdalene cares on Easter Sunday morning what others may think of her? She's getting up and she’d rather be next to a dead savior than live people. She's willing to go by the soldiers who have had their way with her, and what they think of her. Do you think she really cares? So much so it's irrelevant to her. She'd rather be standing next to a cave that she can't move the rock just to be next to him. My brothers and sisters in Christ, do you think Saul when he became Paul, do you think it worried him that he was going to go to Thessalonica and then, all of a sudden, man, be careful of what you say Paul. There's gonna be a lot of pushback, maybe an email, text message, might have a drive-by, you might have somebody just come up and say “Man, you and the horse you came in on.” man, they beat him like a rented mule after that went out. My brothers and sisters in Christ, do you think Longinus really cared what Pilate thought of him when he finally figured out that “Truly, that man was the messiah.”? 
  5. My brothers and sisters in Christ, now here you and I sit 2,000 years later. How much impact does what other people think of you impact what you believe or how you act in public? Does it bother you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, what other people think of you if you were to make the Sign of the Cross in public, clearly and distinctly? Does it bother you that if somebody turns to you and says “Let's start with a prayer.” and you begin in the name of the father, and of the son, and of the Holy Spirit because somebody may say “Oh, they're just blessing themselves.” I don't know who made it up, but may their time in purgatory now be doubled. You're not blessing yourself, you're asking what you're about to get involved in that you do so in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, amen. A true symbol of holy mother church and where you stand in the world. My brothers and sisters in Christ, do you care what other people say, so much so that if they ask you to break out in prayer you will refrain from praying the Hail Mary? Too much pushback? Are you worried that you'll get pushed back if you say that you venerate the blessed mother, you only adore jesus christ? Were you afraid to tell people that you're Catholic and you say “No, I'm Christian” because you just don't want the pushback of having to explain purgatory, communion, confession? My brothers and sisters in Christ, are you so worried about what other people say that you will actually change what you are wearing? Are you so worried about what other people say that it will change on how you go about your day-to-day business, on whether or not you will have something on you that reflects that you are indeed a Catholic? My brothers and sisters in Christ, the problem with the world today is that we've gotten so private about our beliefs that we're afraid to go public and, as a result of such, modernism has taken over and that truth is now determined by a group of people, whoever it may be, that we don't know the teachings of our church and our faith. My brothers and sisters in Christ, at some point you and I are going to have to plant our flag and if it's not now, when will it ever be, albeit too little too late? 
  6. My brothers and sisters in Christ, there was a poem written by Mother Teresa that is so powerful and so true. It's exactly the point of the gospel today. The poem was called Anyway. “People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are happy, people will be jealous. Be happy anyway. If you are successful, you'll win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest, people will try to cheat you. Be honest anyway. Give the best you have, give till it hurts, because at the end of the day it was never between you and them, it was between you and him anyway.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, I’ll leave you with this. What other people think of you is none of your business and none of mine.
  7. Amen.

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