2017 Homilies (Written)


John 2:13-25; 3-7-2021 (As Built, Amite #440)


  1. Control, as in how much control do you have, or a lack of control.
  2. His name is Morgan Robertson, Morgan Robertson. That is his name he doesn't have an anonymous, pseudo anonymous.... there's no middle name. His name is Morgan Robertson. He is probably the greatest writer of his day. He's absolutely lights out. Everywhere he'd go people wanted to hear more about his books, book signings, understandings, where does he get this insight, this step. He seems to be almost prophetic in that he predicts the future. Case in point, he writes a book about a submarine that's on the bottom of the ocean that is so good at what it does, it can locate any ship on the top of the ocean or, if you will, on the seas, and he called the book Periscope. Then, not long after that, a movie comes out about periscopes, so now people are starting to question “Well, wait a minute. Did he really speak about that, or did he already know about it and he's just trying to jump on the bandwagon? He's just trying to do it for fame and fortune? He's a liar. He's a sham.” As a result of such, he kind of ignores it. He doesn't want to get involved in the argument. He's just trying to stay in control. As a result, man, he decides that “You know, I'll just write another book.” so this time he writes another book, and the book is about a young couple, a teenage boy and a teenage girl, and they get caught on this island and they get stranded. Okay, tell me y'all have heard of Blue Lagoon my brothers and sisters in Christ. Okay, thank God. As a result of it, the movie comes out, notwithstanding, not long after he does this book, and as a result, people are now starting to go against him because “I mean, what's the chances? I mean, is it happenstance? Is it coincidence? You write two books that become popular, all of a sudden they're movies, and pretty soon you're saying that you wrote it before?” but at the end of the day people are starting to say it's not true. His sales plummet. Next thing you know, they're going out through the bottom. People don't want anything to do with him. They think he's just a sham, he's a fraud, and he's losing control, and, man, he's decided that “You know... I just... pretty soon I'm just going to go broke.” He says “Well, I'm going to write one, maybe two more books, but only one of them I'm gonna go public with.” He writes one about a young boy who grows up in a jungle raised by animals and chimps. Ah, yes Lord. Yes, Tarzan comes about. Well, man, it's about all they can stand. Man, he got to a point where he didn't even go out in public. The last book that he wrote he decided that he would just copyright it and just put it on the shelf. He wrote a book called Futility and said “I'm copyrighted. I just don't care anymore.” He said “I just... I've got to take control of my own life, and I know what I'm doing, and I know that I'm being honest, and I know I'm writing it before all this goes public.” so he writes the book and he leaves it on the shelf. Now, we're not real sure if Morgan lives to see the day. The book of Futility, or the movie, comes out under a different name. As a matter of fact, it's a 70,000 ton ship that leaves out of New York. It's got three props, hits an iceberg. Y'all are tax exempt, yes my brothers and sisters in Christ. Matter of fact, in his book he called it the Titan and in the movie they called it the Titanic, and then all of a sudden, man, everybody is out after him and I believe he passes. Here's the irony, when they go back and find his book to disparage him one last time, it was written 15 years, based on the copyright, before the movie ever came out. It's all about control. 
  3. My brothers and sisters in Christ, that has very little to do with that Gospel. I just like the heck out of that little story, that's the whole point. My friends in Christ, it is about control, and remember what the good Lord does when he gets into the temple area. He goes to the money changers, and he takes their table, and he turns it over spilling the coins throughout, and then he runs over to the table of the doves and says “Take them and get them out of here.” and then he goes out and drives people out with a whip of cords. How well were you listening? Here he is driving things out with a whip of cords, seem to be out of control, running the animals out, oxen, sheep, lambs, he gets to the money changers and he's upset with them so he turns their whole table over, but when he gets to the table of doves, he doesn't turn it over because he doesn't want to hurt his creation. He says “Now take these doves out of here.” See, God may have been upset, but he's always under control, and that's the point. Now my brothers and sisters in Christ, now stop. Let's imagine that you and I are there. You and I have got to travel to Jerusalem about two or three times a year, but at least once a year for Passover. Now when you get there, there's probably over 1 million people in the city. That would be like one million people here in Amite. Imagine how much fun you can have in a day with one million people. As a result of such, they are everywhere. This is how the temple was structured, just so you get an understanding. Imagine that the worship, where the tabernacle was, the holy of holies, which was not in the temple at the time of Christ, remember, it's been missing for over 300 years, the Ark of the Covenant is not in the temple, don't worry, Indiana Jones found it, don't worry about it, that would have been this area in the temple. The area where you're sitting in our hall would have been the worship space, only the high priest would have come in here. They would have 12 menorahs, they would have 12 loaves of bread, they would have incense and 12 vats of wine. Behind us where the kitchen is back there, that would have been where you would have brought your lamb up to a rail, hence the communion rail, you would have handed your lamb over, they would have butchered it skewered in the form of a crucifix, and, as a result, you would go back out to where they were sitting outside, that's the women's court. That means only if you're a Jew can you go in that area. You and I... in the parking lot. We would have been somewhere near the drugstore, that's how far away we would have been from him. This is where the good Lord is. This is where all the money changers are, because when you have come so many miles, it may have taken you a month to get here. You're not bringing your animals with you, they're going to die before they get there, so you bring the money, and here's the game. When you get to a money changer, well guess what, their coin is different from your coin, so you have to exchange, and you know how that game gets played. Not everybody's playing the same way. Now, he's not saying that they were guilty, but he sure didn't re-stack your coins either. My brothers and sisters in Christ, what he's saying to them is “You're making a mockery of the temple area.” because the only way you and I can pray is in the parking lot. We can't pray if they're exchanging animals, we can't pray if they got goats, and bulls, and doves, and everybody’s moving around trying to go purchase lamb, then go exchange their money, then go buy the lamb, and then argue about whether your lamb has got any blemishes. He's saying they can't pray. The only ones that can pray are the ones inside the temple, and that's not how it was envisioned. That's why he is getting to the point where he's running them out. My brothers and sisters in Christ, when he says “Zeal for my house has consumed me.”, that goes all the way back to the Psalms, and I don't know if it's 96 or somewhere in that neighborhood, but what he's trying to say is “Man, I have come to protect my tabernacle, my church.” Now you understand why I'm so rigid about where things ought to be in the church, because I'm following his lead, because he's not going to call you and I to the table, he's only going to call me and say “But you knew better, you know that's why I set it up the way that I did.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, there are 1 million people over there and this is why he's lost it, but always in control. 
  4. Look, go back in Scripture. All of our best players always stay in control regardless of what's going on around them. Think about it for a second. You're the blessed mother. You walk one mile with your son at the crucifixion. 12 foot tall, 8 foot wide, he carries the cross. He is circled with about a hundred soldiers with a town crier in front. The crown of thorns alone gave him over 100 pricks to the head, 20 were legitimate holes, 3 of them were mortal whether we beat him or not. They pushed him, they beat him, they spit on him, they knock him down, they curse him, and never once does she sin, have a poor thought, wish somebody ill will, give them the look. That is control predicated on faith and hope in our Lord. Remember my brothers and sisters in Christ, Saint Joseph. We hear nothing of Saint Joseph. For 30 years he's been walking next to Christ. He's so important, do you know, that he's the only one of two saints that is ranked in the church, i.e there's a category, in other words the first is the blessed mother called Full of Grace, that means she's forever full of grace. He is what they call Protos Delia, that means first among grace, i.e he only had original sin. You never hear anything about him, you hear nobody ever speak of him, and make sure you understand this about Joseph. Remember when Mary comes home, she's pregnant with child? Don’t have a bad thought about that, man, you trust her to the marrow of your bones. He's leaving because he knows it's the messiah and, according to Augustine, and Anselm, and Saint John Chrysostom, he's leaving because he doesn't think he's worthy to be the stepfather of our Lord, and better that he be seen as a deadbeat dad then cast any aspersions on Mary or be the stepfather of our Lord and messiah. That is control. My brothers and sisters in Christ, but for every one of those, there's somebody just seems to be out of control. Judah spent his whole life under control, more or less. He knew he was the messiah, called him the messiah, proclaimed his name, he could even spell it in public. “I accepted Jesus Christ as my lord and savior, even held the man's money.” And when push comes to shove, minutes before he decides, he takes his own life. He slips into despair and the good lord's last words of him “Had been better you never been born.” The son of perdition, Satan entered him. How do you think it bowed for him? He lost control. This is why when you hear the words “Are you saved?” “I was, the crucifixion. I am, as you and I are standing here. And I hope to be, because you and I have free will.” We can walk away whenever we want. The greek word for saved is sozo, and every time the good Lord used it, he used it in the future tense. “You must persevere to the very end.” Mark and Matthew's gospel. My brothers and sisters in Christ, you've got to stay in control, and it's a discipline. Think about what I'm telling you. Pilate thought he was under control, the pressure got so great he pulls out a bowl and towel and wipes it, and today we still use that analogy. “Oh, he just wiped his hands like a bowl and towel.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, King Herod murdered at least 2,000 people under the age of 2 years old just to get to Christ.
  5. Here you and I sit 2,000 years later. How much control do you and I have over our lives? Over our mouth? Our thoughts? Well, let's see. My brothers and sisters in Christ, how many times do you go to confession for the same sin over, and over, and over again? Well, how much control do you have over it if you can't even stop that? My brothers and sisters in Christ, how much control do you have at night when you're so tired that you simply refused to go to bed until you got your prayers in, or does fatigue overwhelm you and just throw up your hands and “I'm done. I'll pick it up tomorrow.”? My brothers and sisters in Christ, how much control do you have over your faith when you and I come once a week? Is that enough to get the knots out of your rope? This one hour? Do you ever just stop in adoration just to stick your head in? Do you have enough self-control when everybody else is starting to pray that you'll make the Sign of the Cross in public regardless of what comes your way and the ridicule that will follow? Do you have enough self-control that when they say you lead the prayer that you will actually lead the prayer and you'll bring the blessed mother into your prayer knowing full well that they have no understanding of where she sits, that we venerate her and not adore her, and you'll take the hit that comes for it because you're controlling where this is going because they asked you and I to lead the prayer? Are you in control of your emotions at work when they ask you to do something yet again that falls outside your job description, that you're not going to get paid more money? How will people know that you and I are followers of Jesus Christ if we do not show it in our actions? Faith leads to works, and because of good works people know you have faith. God created you to be a follower of his, a child of his, a true Catholic man or woman, a child. The profession that you and I do is just ancillary. The day you and I die, our profession becomes irrelevant for the most part. My brothers and sisters in Christ, do you have enough control when somebody cuts you off in traffic not to speed up and give them the look? Give them the business? Do you have enough self-control not to spread it to your family when you get home? Do you have enough self-control that when things happen bad at work you don't bring it home, and when things happen bad at home that you have enough self-control not to spill it at work? Do you have enough self-control that when somebody says “Can you keep a secret?” you can say “Yes I can.” and walk away? When they say “Did you hear this.” or “Did you hear that?”, do you have enough self-control to say “Well, let's just pray for them.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, we live in a world where we are so quick to jump in with our two cents, and our opinions, and our understandings that pretty soon we just say what we want to say. My brothers and sisters in Christ, you're either in control, or you're not, and the only way you'll ever be in control is to be as close to Jesus Christ as you can. Do you control your life enough to make sure that you go to confession once a month, regardless of what gets in your way? You will go to confession because that's what's best for you and what's best for me, everybody else takes a back seat. I know we got plans, I know there's a meeting, I know we got to be at dinner, I've got to get to confession. I'll see you when I get done. Do you have enough self-control to say that? Do you have enough self-control when you go out of town on vacation to say “I got to go to mass.”? “No father, you don't understand. You see, I was in Disney World and... and I had the in-laws, and of course we had the outlaws, and then I had kids, and then we went, man, I had to cook-” “Did you find Cinderella's castle?” “Yeah, I sure did.” “Well, good, you should have found the church.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, at the end of the day you and I have free will. Even the good lord would not work a miracle if our free will had decided to not to partake of it. That is the strength, or lack of control, that we have.
  6. I’ll leave you with this. “You have no control of the wind, none. You only control your ship. Guide it, direct it, the wind be damned.” Stay the course for those of you who are in control. “Welcome to the table of all of my children. Well done my child.” A man and woman after my own heart. 
  7. Amen. 



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