2017 Homilies (Written)

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Mark 9:2-10; 2-28-2021 (As Built, Amite #439)

 

  1. Tongue as in we spoke too much. Our tongue got away from us. Loose lips, if you will.
  2. It's the 1900’s. His name is Robert... Robert Ripley. He is a California boy born and raised, but eventually he moves to New York. He moves because his family moves and then, of course, they no sooner move than tragedy hits, and then it's his father. His father has passed and, as a result, man at this age, I mean, it's the early 1920’s. He's got to go to work. He finds work in a New York newspaper and they were so desperate, as it may be, for help. He writes a cartoon called Champs or Chumps. It became so popular that people began to question whether what they were saying was true or not. As a matter of fact, he made a statement. He said “I beg to differ. I can prove every fact that I put in that Champs or Chumps. As a matter of fact, not only and I can prove it, but I make sure that I don't have a “slip of the tongue”.” As a result, it becomes so popular that he comes up with what you and I later call Ripley's Believe It or Not and, as a result of it, it just grows in infamy. It becomes very famous, but I mean some of the stories y'all. I’ll tell you what, let's see. Y'all are people of the world. You have means, you have an intellect. Let's see... truth or not? The story goes that the Red Sox are playing the Cubs and they're playing for the World Series... fifth game of the World Series. As a result, minutes before the first pitch, the players decide to go on strike. The owner of the Red Sox and Cubs runs down there to talk to the players. They're so mad, they're saying “We're not going out there.” and he said “Man, you got to go out there. I mean, it's the fifth game of the Series.” he said “I’ve got WWI veterans. Man, you've got to get in the game.” He's saying the announcer is looking at him and says “What do I do?” He said “Look, just go play the national anthem.” and that's how it got started today. True or not? But it is true. My brothers and sisters in Christ, there used to be a story that used to say that when they buried you in England that they would actually put a bell on top of your coffin, on top of the cemetery. They would run a rope down, they'd put it in your coffin in case you were still alive when they buried you so that you could ring it so people could come, and that's why we came up with “dead ringer.” Yeah, very good. That is true my brothers and sisters in Christ. There were guys by the name of Amos and Ernest. They’re at the World's Fair. this is in the 1920s, 1930s, and, man, Amos is responsible for ice cream. He is selling so much ice cream, my brothers and sisters in Christ, he could have put any price he wanted on it. It was hot, it's muggy, as a matter of fact, he runs out of plates. Ernest, who's selling waffles, is about to die a miserable death. Nobody wants a warm waffle, so, man, he goes to him and says “I tell you what, I'll split it with you. You take my waffles and drop the ice cream in it.” and we have what you and I call a waffle cone. Well, for the six people who got it, God bless you. In the navy they used to say at the end of the day you have to bury people at sea six foot deep, hence where we get the term “deep six.” That is true. You know, there was a man one time that invented a shoe, that in the heel of it he actually put a gun. First time he walks down the steps, he hits that gun, the gun goes off, blows off his heel. This is where we get “these heels are killing me.” I just made that up, I have no idea if it's true. This is in the patent office, and this is supposedly true... or not... as it was invented by a man who said that when women go into labor and it becomes very challenging, that what we do is you put her on a gurney, you spin her at 90 rpm, and you kind of project the child into a net... and it's in the patent office. True or not? It's absolutely true. Only a man can invent something like that my brothers and sisters in Christ. Man, it's all about whether or not something's true or not, it's about loose lips, it's about your tongue.
  3. That is that Gospel. What does the good Lord tell Peter, James, and John? You tell no one that you saw Moses and Elijah speaking. They died over a thousand years ago. You tell no one that I am transfigured. You tell no one that a cloud came upon you, the Holy Spirit, and you heard God the father speak “This is my son with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.” You know why he's telling them that? Because if you run down that mountain and you tell everybody “I just saw Moses and Elijah.” man, you think they're talking bad about you now? People will think you're drunk now? My brothers and sisters in Christ, He's saying you wait till I resurrect, then you tell him, but until then watch your tongue. Now my brothers and sisters in Christ, this is why this is important. Stop, you're a first century Jew. This is what you know when you hear such a story. Mark is the Gospel writer. He is not an apostle. He is a follower of Peter. He is a Gentile type of guy. He's all about the facts. All he cares about is getting the story out there. He's not going to talk about Jewish tradition because he's not a Jew, so he's telling them about the transfiguration. Remember, this is as a Jew. Anything having to do with a mountain is significant. Abraham goes up Moriah. Moses is up on Sinai. My brothers and sisters in Christ, Noah was on Ararat. My brothers and sisters in Christ, the fact that they go up this mountain for the transfiguration, what's important about it is that they now know that only important and significant things happen when they get up on the top of the mountain, Moses and Elijah are the only two people in the Old Testament who ever converse directly with God, that's why they're the only two there. What's amazing is how does Peter, James, and John know who they are unless they recognize how they were described, unless he recognizes their voice and how they speak, and what they know and what they're speaking to. My brothers and sisters in Christ, did you notice that the triune God shows his face there? God the father speaks, the Holy spirit comes in the cloud, and the good lord is there and he's transfigured. My brothers and sisters in Christ, what you need to understand is the reason Peter, James and John got chosen is because they're going to end up in the Garden of Gethsemane, and you better recognize me as God because the next time you see me in the Garden of Gethsemane and every time you see me come out and when you're asleep and you’re awake, I'm taking on more and more sins of the world. You will not be able to handle it if you're not here at the transfiguration, so please be quiet about it until I resurrect, so when you explain that in the Garden of Gethsemane, then you'll know where I'm going with this. My brothers and sisters in Christ, all 11 of the apostles are in the garden. Only three are chosen to be next to our savior. As a matter of fact, this is where we get a hierarchy in the church, Peter and then the cardinals, because none of the other two were ever made papals. Remember, it's Peter, Linus, Cletus, Clement, Evaristus, all the way to Francis. This is where we get the hierarchy in the church. My brothers and sisters in Christ, this one event is life-altering. Remember it's all about making sure you don't speak before it's prudent to.
  4. Now look, go back in Scripture. All of our best players are people that watch their tongue. Mary's last words in Scripture, the Wedding the Cana, “Do whatever he tells you.” We never hear anything more about her. My brothers and sisters in Christ, we never even hear from Saint Joseph other than a few words and maybe a few actions. He's with Christ 30 years, 29 to be exact, but yet we know next to nothing about him. My brothers and sisters in Christ, what if Thomas comes up and when they tell him “Man, you're not going to believe this, but on Easter Sunday night when we were locked in a room and we didn't believe either, he actually walked through the door, Thomas, and he said ‘Look at my hands and my feet.’ and he breathed on us.” What if Thomas, instead of saying “Well, until I stick my fingers in his hands and my hands in his side, I refuse to believe.”, what if Thomas just says “Hmmh” and walks away? Will we call him the “Hmmh” of Thomas today? But today we all call him the doubter, yet nobody says anything about the fact that he was speared to death in India all alone, that he had the greatest disposition of all the apostles. My brothers and sisters in Christ, you ever ask yourself “What if Judas just says two more words and says ‘Lord, I'm sorry.’? Would he be saint Judas today”? He may think the greatest thing he committed was betraying our savior, but the greatest sin was not allowing the good lord to forgive him. My brothers and sisters in Christ, even in our lifetimes some of the greatest words have come out of people who have been at most times prudent. Think about if you and I are at the Declaration of Independence. We're going to sign the proclamation so that the king of England can now see, and if Ben Franklin doesn't stand up because people are starting to waver, people are starting to get scared, people are starting to have anxiety, then if I sign my name to it, then he surely knows that it's me and he'll come for me, and Ben Franklin stands and says “Let you be rest assured, if we do not hang together, we're still going to hang separately.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, was it not Kennedy that said so much “It's not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” is that even not more true today? My brothers and sisters in Christ, you can say what you want about Patton, but I got to tell you, every once in a while he knocked one out of the park. When people were complaining about this, and losing lives, and this, that, and the other, he said “You don't win a war by dying for your country. You win a war by making the other bleep bleep bleep die for his country.” 
  5. My brothers and sisters in Christ, well here you and I sit 2,000 years later. How many times has our mouth got us in trouble, that if we had just walked away and refused to even get acknowledged into the argument, my brothers and sisters in Christ, how many times did you and I get wrapped into a conversation in Facebook, email, a text, and next thing you know, man, we are off and running? We got involved in something and we have lost our religion, man, we got words coming out our mouth we can't text it fast enough. We actually want to hit the send button and it knocks them out when they read it on the other end because we got to win every argument. We're keeping score. Oh, you're right. Somebody's keeping it, and regrettably it ain't you or I. My brothers and sisters in Christ, how many times has somebody come to tell you something and come up with the words “Well, you know what I heard? Well, I'm just saying.” as if somehow another you can disparage anybody and everybody? The whole love of neighbor thing? Please Father, it's love your neighbor but really? My brothers and sisters in Christ, bearing false witness, the eighth commandment, is not being a true witness to Jesus Christ, which means you're not loving your neighbor, it has very little to do with you swearing to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God, which is one of the oldest lies in the book, but what it does have something to do with is what they call the sin of detraction, which is you steal somebody's honor because you know the truth, and even if it's true, it's irrelevant. The only things that matter is love of neighbor, so even if it's true, or worse, if it's not true, nobody asked you and I to be the town crier. I mean, you know every time you and I judge somebody, man, do you know how great that mortal sin becomes? Not only do you pull that other person down, right or wrong, irrelevant because you've broken the commandment and you broke the very first one, you'll love God with your whole heart mind and soul, because if you did you would have never spoke poorly about his creation. Do you know what's amazing? We do it flippantly, we do it incessantly, and we care no more. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I'm telling you the greatest sin of our day is our tongue, it's our mouth, it's gossip, and it's slander. My friends in Christ, I'm telling you, guard what you say. May somebody else’s name be as safe on your own lips and my lips as is our own name, and when somebody tries to get you caught up in an argument, walk away. Just because somebody threw garbage at your feet, nobody told you to pick it up. Why do you want to get an argument with a stupid person? They have so much experience. Just let it go. 
  6. My friends in Christ, I leave you with this. Having a loose tongue is like having a lion. Once you cut him loose, he's going to wound somebody. Guard your tongue.
  7. Amen

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