2017 Homilies (Written)

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John 1:35-42; 1-17-2021 (As Built, Amite #433)

 

  1. Public, public as in going public, a public announcement, a public proclamation. 
  2. The year is 1950... 1960. His name is Phillip. Phillip is a UK boy. He is an only child. His mom and dad, they do okay. They are bakers by profession. They make ends meet, not great, but he does okay and if you were to ask him “Man, high school, grammar school, how was it for you?” he'll tell you “Man, I am a social recluse. I've gotta stay by myself.” This is amazing considering the actor he is today. He says “It's people. I just... I get anxiety filled, I get worried, I get overwhelmed, I just need to be by myself.” and so he asked him, in the interview he said “Well, so what did you do for entertainment?” He said “Usually, now I'll read, I love to paint, I do art, sometimes I just get in my car on the west coast and I just drive and stop all the different cities along the way, and just take months off and just go the east coast, and I stay in cities and visit with people until they recognize me, and then I need to go.” and he said “Well, man do people recognize you?” He said “Well, probably more so today than before.” He said “Well, what made you want to be an actor? I mean, actor- public.” He said “Oh, I know,” he said “but you know, you start meeting these different actors, and I meet Richard Burton,” and he said “that's when the penny fell.” He said “Man, I want to be like him.” and he said “I just figured I could maybe be an actor just in the studio.” and as a result, he says “I get a bit part in a play called Death Comes to Me.” Yes, it was riveting. It's about like I feel right now, death comes to me. As a result of such, he gets into another one... Give Me a Cigarette, and, as a result, the same kind of response. Then, all of a sudden, he gets in a bit part of a movie called a Bridge Too Far, and then he gets in another one called Like a Change of Seasons. He was in another one called Meet Joe Black. He was in a movie about an exorcist called the Rite. Could it be Lord that we may actually know this man? As a result my brothers and sisters in Christ, they asked one of the greatest directors, Spielberg “Tell me something about Philip that nobody knows.” He said “He'll rehearse his line 200 times, literally, so it seems almost second nature, so when you hear him speak and he said four lines, he's done rehearsed it 800 times.” he said “But he's that good. He believes fewer words the better the actor and, boy, has he proven it.” As a matter of fact brothers and sisters in Christ, you know him because he's in movies like, well, Silence of the Lambs... Hannibal Lecter. Ah my brothers and sisters in Christ, Anthony Hopkins. My brothers and sisters in Christ, you know what's amazing? He said “Well, are you that much of a recluse?” and he said “Absolutely,” he said “Still to this day, yes.” They asked him “Would you go to lunch with people?” He said “Well, it depends on how many people.” He said “What if it was you and just Hannibal Lecter?” He said “It depends on what we're having to eat.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, it's all about going public. 
  3. That is exactly that gospel. The proclamation “Behold the lamb of God” John the Baptist proclaims it, Andrew and who we ultimately believe is John, the writer of the gospel, actually start to begin to follow Christ. Public proclamation. Now remember, stop, you need to make sure you understand these things because you are a first century Jew and you know scripture... somewhat. As a result, you recognize certain things. First of all my brothers and sisters in Christ, John the Baptist had disciples. Not only does he have Andrew, he also has John. Now remember, there are four types of Jews. There is a Sadducee, who believes in the first five books of the Bible, there's a Pharisee, who believes in the first five books in the Bible and some of the traditions, there are Zealots, who believe whatever they really want to believe at that particular time, and then you have people like the Essene Jews, that's John the Baptist. They are devout, disciplined, and strict about what they wear, what they eat, and the baptism for the removal of sin, so John and Andrew are very strict. They never got along with any of the other groups. They never went back into the temple once the Sadducees took over, so John the Baptist has disciples and he has more than two, you and I know that. How? Because when he was about to be beheaded, remember, there were two men. He sent to Christ and said “Go ask him is he the one or is there another one coming after him.” He's not sending them because he doesn't know, he was baptized in the womb. Remember when he dances in Elizabeth's womb, so to speak? That's because the blessed mother's intercession and her greeting. My brothers and sisters in Christ, he sends those two to go listen. Why? Because I'm about to be beheaded and now you're going to have to go out in public and I want you to be able to say firsthand “I saw the blind see, the lame walk, and the dead rise.” because if your answer is “Well, I know John, and John told me this.” it's just hearsay. John has his disciples. My brothers and sisters in Christ, when he said there goes the lamb of God, every Jew that would have heard that, including you and I, would have thought all the way back to Exodus where Abraham brings Isaac up the mountain followed by two men, carrying his own wood. Does that sound familiar or foretelling of what is to come, when Christ is followed by two men carrying his own wood? And right before he goes to take his son to sacrifice, an angel stops him, and then he asks his dad “Well, what is going to be the sacrifice?” and he says quote “The good lord will provide the lamb.” Not a lamb, the lamb. Every one of us would have recognized what was said in Exodus, and, remember, where did they find the lamb up on the mountain? They found a ram with his head caught in a thicket of thorns. This is why the good lord is wearing thorns at the crucifixion. He is the lamb, just like the lamb was provided. Remember that image so when John the Baptist yells out “There goes the lamb of God.” and when he gets crucified wearing a crown of thorns, you can say “Oh, oh my God.” Exactly. My brothers and sisters in Christ, this is why at the mass when I hold the chalice and I put the host up, this is why I say “The lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those who are called to the supper of the lamb.” That's where you and I get it from. During the consecration, everything in the Mass is in Scripture. This isn't 10 guys, 12 guys sitting around a table winging it. My brothers and sisters in Christ, everything we do is scriptural in the mass. Now my brothers and sisters in Christ, you need to make sure you understand. Andrew goes and finds his brother. If you and I were to go into the Eastern churches, you wouldn't see Peter holding keys all over the place like in a Catholic church, you would see andrew pasted everywhere. Why? Because he's the first to see the messiah. He's the one that went and got Simon and brought Peter into the fold. Moreover my brothers and sisters in Christ, you need to make sure you understand this too. When we pray the Apostles Creed, the first line is “I believe in God the father almighty, creator of heaven and Earth.” That's from Peter. My brothers and sisters in Christ, because remember he said “Who do people say that I am? Elijah, John the Baptist?” and then Peter says “You're the son of the living God.” and he said “Flesh and bones didn't tell you that. My father in heaven did.” “I believe in God the father almighty, creator of heaven and Earth.” so he gets it through divine intervention. The second line goes to Andrew “And in Jesus Christ his only son.” Why? Because he's the one that found him. Every one of the Creed’s lines could be tied back to where they came from. My brothers and sisters in Christ, Simon, if you will, is Simeon in Aramaic. It goes back to one of the 12 tribes. They are brothers, but it looks like they are totally different in personality. Peter is very outgoing, Andrew is very much the recluse. As a matter of fact, his name is Andreas in Greek. He's far more Greek than Peter is Jewish. This is why the Greeks are always going to Andrew. As a matter of fact, my brothers and sisters in Christ, and it's not lost on anybody that when he sees Peter, he says “And you will be called Cephas in Aramaic. I'm speaking to you in the language that you would know. Massive boulder. You will be called that.” a foretelling of what is to come. My brothers and sisters in Christ, all that you just heard are public proclamations. 
  4. Go back in scripture. All of our best players are those that were divinely inspired to speak publicly at the most appropriate and divinely inspired times. The blessed mother at the wedding of Cana. They've been there one week for wine and celebration of a wedding. It was so important that Christ be there that we don't even know the name of the couple. It's 2,000 years later. Now do you understand why you must be married in the church and in front of him, and not on a beach, in an antebellum home, or down the street, or just a great location? Yes, Christ is omnipresent, but he's physically present in the church. And while he's in there, the blessed mother goes to him and says they were out of wine. He's saying “Mother, listen to me. You make that proclamation and you are no longer my mom, per se. You are now a woman. You will be the new Eve and I will be the new Adam.” “What do you have to do with me?” is the height of respect in the Jewish community. Even the demons proclaim this to Christ, “What do you have to do with me?” It's a term of respect, that you can control what I do or don't do, so when he tells his mom, he's telling his mom “I'll do whatever you want, but the minute I go public then you will now be the new Eve and I'm the new Adam.” and what's her last words in scripture? “Do whatever he tells you.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, think about the crucifixion. Think about if you were Veronica and you're standing in the middle of the road blocking the crucifixion. By your actions you're making a public proclamation, but there must be something special about him, so much so that you want to wipe his face on your veil. Do you know what it must have meant to be someone like Longinus, to stand up and say “Truly that man was the son of God.” when everybody is listening? Man, all of a sudden, he stands up. I'm telling you my brothers and sisters in Christ, when you publicly proclaim “Truly that man is the son of God.”, you don't think it didn't echo in Pilate's ears and Caesar's ears? Two years later he's beheaded for that public proclamation. 
  5. My brothers and sisters in Christ, here you and I sit 2,000 years later. How public are you about your faith? Let's be honest, how public are you? In other words, when somebody says “Let us pray.”, will you immediately, regardless of where you are and how outnumbered you may be, begin in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit? Were you leading with the prayer or not, regardless of the looks you get, the eyes that get rolled, and the dismissive attitudes because you made the Sign of the Cross, Ezekiel taught us 500 years before the coming in Christ that the Sign of the Cross would be the power that it is, or will you shirk away from it and kind of hide it and couch it? My brothers and sisters in Christ, if somebody comes to you and says “Are you Christian?”, will you say “Absolutely. I'm Catholic” or will you just downplay it, “Yeah, I'm Christian. Man, let's get around this thing. We don't want to jam everybody up.” Let me tell you my brothers and sisters in Christ, if you don't acknowledge Christ in public, he's not going to acknowledge you before his father. It's either one or the other. You made it or you didn't. “If you're lukewarm,” he said “I'd spit you out.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, remember what they tell us about the fence between heaven and hell. If there were one, it's owned by the devil himself. My brothers and sisters in Christ, if they walked into your house, would they know you're Catholic? Will they see a crucifix up on the wall that has that corpse on it, or just an empty cross, or it would be such a flowery design you couldn't tell whether it's a cross or not? My brothers and sisters in Christ, would they know you're a Catholic by what you have on? Will they know you're a Catholic by the way you pray? Would they know you're a Catholic when they say “Lead us in prayer.” and you give them the Hail Mary, and being able to defend her veil? When they start to despise her, and try to chop her down, and say that she had many children, that she was not ever virgin, can you defend her my brothers and sisters in Christ, or are you just going to pass the buck and say “All right, well the church didn't teach me.” Oh, stop. I've been with you 10 years. Don't tell me you ain't heard it. May not have been listening, but I can tell you, well that's hard to do, but i'm just saying. My brothers and sisters in Christ, how well are you willing to defend our Eucharist? “Truly this is the lamb of God. Behold the lamb of God.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, listen to me. Everything in the New Testament must be better. Anything having to do with Christ must be greater than, so therefore the Old Testament must be less than. If there is a Joseph in the Old Testament who saved his family by going to Egypt, the Joseph in the New Testament saves the Holy Family by going to Egypt. Elijah wore camel skin, and ate different types of food, and talked of a savior. John the Baptist wore special clothing, ate different types of food, and baptized the messiah. If they had blessed bread in the desert that fell from the altar of God, then truly this must be “My flesh is true food and my blood is true drink, and if I am not in you and you are not in me you do not have eternal life.” Are you willing to defend that my brothers and sisters in Christ? Are you willing to tell them what Saint Paul said in his letter to the Corinthians as well, that if you eat of it unworthily you eat of your own demise? Are you willing to fight that fight my brothers and sisters in Christ? When they ask you “Are you saved?” can you give them an answer, that simply proclaiming his name, spelling it right, or having a general direction of where he may be doesn't save you? That when somebody says “Are you saved as a Catholic?” your answer should be synced, direct, and spot on? I was, the crucifixion, I am, as I speak you today, and I hope to be, because I have free will. I was, I am, and I hope to be because otherwise if it's simply just a proclamation as it they proclaim in the book of Romans, that all you gotta do is spell his name and say it and you're saved, that's present tense. There's always a past tense, present tense, and future tense to the word saved in Greek is sozo, and if you read in Mark chapters around 11 or 13, you must persevere to the end to be saved. Just ask Judas. 
  6. Well my brothers and sisters in Christ, I leave you with this. Archbishop ??? was right. He said “To solve the problems of the world today, you need men and women of character who are willing to bring their faith into the public arena. If you believe Jesus Christ is the messiah, and the church has proclaimed him to be who he is, and she is right, then why aren't you acting on it.” We have kept our religion so private that we don't even know how to go public. Go public with your faith now more than ever before.
  7. Amen.

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