2017 Homilies (Written)

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Luke 24:35-48; 4-18-2021 (As Built, Amite #446)

 

  1. Proximity, proximity. In other words, in the neighborhood, being in the area, just checking in, if you will, the proximity. 
  2. The year is 1950. His name is Lee, and Lee is from South Dakota, he's from the Midwest, and, as a result of it, he'll tell you that he's one of three children. Lee will tell you that his mom was a lifeguard and his dad worked for the post office. He'll tell you that he had a pretty decent life. He'll tell you that grammar school was uneventful. High school, different story. He goes from the Midwest all the way to California. He's saying “The world is just different. People are different. How they act, how they speak, how they dress, man, I need to be able to fit in, and the only way to fit in is... I guess I’m just gonna have to play the play the part.” He said, man, what better way to play the part than join the drama team, maybe get in theater, start doing a little bit of this, a little that. By the time he's a senior, he's the big man on campus. As a matter of fact, he wins the award most likely to succeed. He fails his first semester in college. As a result of it, Lee has decided that, man, he's going to go back to New York, he's going to join the Actors Guild, I’m going to do what I did in high school, I’m going to be an actor, and of all people in New York, he meets Vincent Price. Exactly right. As a result of meeting Vincent Price, he meets James Dean and he gets involved in a couple of movies, but the problem with him is that, man, it's just that attitude, it's just that persona, he just doesn't play well with people, and the actors don't really want to work with him, the producers don't like him, so he's decided “I’m going to go out and I’m just going to do it on my own.” He gets involved in two great blockbusters From Hell to Texas, yeah, you're right, and the next one's even better, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. My brothers and sisters in Christ, have we seen this? With that being said, he can't rub two nickels together. He is starving. There was nothing that he could do, he's out. Somebody decides that, man, they're gonna do him a favor and they introduce him to all people John Wayne. He said, man, “If you're just in the proximity of somebody and they think you know him or a kindred spirit in some way work with him,” he said “Man, does the world open up for you.” He said “Man, John Wayne had a big heart. He loved people.” Lee will tell you, he'll go out of his way, “So he got me bit parts.” He said “I was in Bonanza, I was in Gunsmoke, Petticoat Junction.” Huh, yes Lord, this may be true, and as a result of it, he gets in the Legend of Jesse James, and then he gets his big break. He's in the Sons of Katie Elder. I was really hoping for much more than that, but that's okay. As a result, man, he's in the movie. Next thing you know, he starts to realize that “You know, I’m really better playing a bad guy than a good guy.” so he decides “I just need to start playing those parts.” and I got to tell you, he's much better at it, so he decides that he's going to start playing a bad guy, so he's in the movie Water World. He wears a patch. I knew that was going to die a miserable death. I was just looking for another reason. Oh, I tell you what, he was in the movie Speed where he's the guy that's blowing up everything. Yes lord, manna has fallen in Amite. I’ll tell you what, if you can't get this one then we're out. He's in the movie Hoosiers. He plays the drunk coach. Dennis Hopper, my brothers and sisters in Christ. Somebody said it... you're tax exempt the rest of the year, no worries. My friends in Christ, you know what’s amazing? His son comes to him later and says “You know dad, you play a bad guy too well. My friends in high school are a little worried about it. They think there's something wrong. I’m related to you, it's not going well.” and he said “Son, look. Stop, stop. I grew up in a neighborhood that had that type of problem. My friends were just of that nature, I was always in their proximity so playing a bad guy was a little more truer, that's just where I grew up,” and he said “But son,” he said “You know, you do want shoes on your feet.” and he said “Not that bad.” He said “Well son, get used to it because that's the neighborhood in which we live. My brothers and sisters in Christ, it's all about proximity. 
  3. That is that Gospel. The good Lord is now going to see the two men on the road to Emmaus, and, as a result, he has now come back to see his apostles and, because they're close to enough to him, he's now telling them “Peace be with you. Look at my hands and look at my side. Look at my feet. As a matter of fact, I’m gonna make sure I eat in front of you.” Now stop, you're a first century Jew and there are things that you and I know that the rest of the world may not know. First of all, we beat up Thomas pretty hard, but let's be honest, there's 11 other guys in this room that didn't believe either. Matter of fact, there's more than 11 because on the road to Emmaus the two gentlemen, one is Mary of Clopas's husband, she was at the foot of the cross, and their son as well. As a result of it, when the good Lord meets with them on the road to Emmaus, he takes the bread, he blesses it, he breaks it, and then he disappears. He's the bread. Go back to Melchizedek when Abraham offers bread and wine, a foretelling of what it was going to be. Clopas would have understood that. Now he stands in front of him and he tells them “Peace be with you.” and they're so startled and shocked, he even asked them “Why are you that way? Why are you so scared?” then he's got to repeat it. “Peace be with you. Come and touch me, see that I have flesh and bones.” but then he does something very unique, he says “Give me some fish so that I can eat it.” but let me tell you why he's doing it, because, in their world, there's a couple of groups of people that don't necessarily believe him to be the messiah. Some of them have different understandings, Aryans believed that Christ was the son of God, therefore he is less than, therefore he is “man-made”, then there's another group out there called the Docetists that believed that, man, that's not quite, he really wasn't God, per se, there was just an image, and then there was another group that was out there that believed that it was all just an appearance, that it was just a mirage of sorts, so this is why he's eating the food. So that later on when somebody quizzes them and they say “Well, did you touch him?” they could say “Well, yeah, we did.” and then they could say “Well, yeah, but did you touch him or his clothes?” and he said “Well, I touched him but then I watched him eat some fish.” He's doing it for what is to come, and what's amazing, he's telling you “Remember what the prophets told you. Remember Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Elijah, and Isaiah.” He's telling the apostles who now have what they call infused knowledge. Now they know that because of Easter Sunday and because of Pentecost, they now know what's about to partake. In other words, they know the realities of heaven, they know the nine choirs of angels, they understand Abraham’s bosom, they understand purgatory, and, yes, they do believe, they also understand the dynamics of what you and I would call hell, they understand the sacraments. My brothers and sisters in Christ, they're learning all of this why? Because they're in close proximity. In other words, it's one on one. 
  4. Look, go back in Scripture. Our best players are people that may have drifted apart but eventually have come back. Who better than Peter, and, look, don't get me wrong, we give Peter the business. Every time there's a mistake, man, it's always we pick on Peter as the example. Now, I understand he gives everybody plenty of ammunition, but let's understand where Peter's at with regards to proximity. The very first time that he meets Christ, he has been out fishing all night on the Sea of Galilee. Now, remember, on the Sea of Galilee there's no such thing as pole fishing. Even today you have to net fish. He's been out all night long, and here the good Lord waits for him to come into shore. Peter's about to embark and the good Lord steps in his boat and says “Let's go out.” You can imagine what's going through Peter's head. “Man, this is just great. I got a carpenter now telling me we've got to go back out and fish.” He catches so many fish. Because the good Lord is standing right next to him, he drops in the boat and says “Depart from me Lord, I’m a sinful man.” The next time the good Lord is maybe ten feet away. He's in the very bow of the boat when the storm comes. “Lord, do you care that I’m about to perish, but at least I can see you.” The Lord gets up and rebukes the wind, an inanimate object he rebukes, so there must have been something adamant in it, i.e. something evil. My brothers and sisters in Christ, the next time Peter's about 50 yards out. “Come Peter.” Man, Peter's now got to walk on water, but my brothers and sisters in Christ, say what you want, after everything Peter goes through he's still crucified upside down and, according to the church fathers, he preaches for over three hours. According to tradition, small t, the saints, his wife was martyred on that same day. Her name according to tradition is Porphyria. His last words to her were “Go with God.” Because of proximity He's learned that he's got to stay close.
  5. Here you and I sit 2,000 years later. How close do you and I stay to him, and by close I mean do you go to the sacraments? Do you go to confession? What about adoration? You know what's amazing, outside of, if you will, the Eucharist, one of the most powerful sacraments and the first to be implemented was confession. Think about it, on Easter Sunday night when the good Lord appears to them and says “Peace be with you.” and “Look at my hands and my feet.” and then he breathes on them, the Holy Spirit, and says “The sins you forgive are forgiven, the ones you retain are retained.” He said “You want to stay close to me? Go to confession.” Nowhere in Scripture did Christ ever hear a confession. Nowhere in scripture did the good Lord baptize. I’m telling you this because too often we're trying to go around the apostles and the priesthood and say “I can go directly to him.” Hebrews 5, “I will choose priests among men for the forgiveness of sins. No one is to take it upon themselves.” With that being said, my brothers and sisters in Christ, if you want to stay close to Christ, man, don't wait so long to go. The average holy person... Look, I’m not saying you're not holy, but the average holy person falls seven times a day in Proverbs. Don't go for a month, that's over 200. Don't go for a year, it's over 2,400. Don't go for a decade, it's 24,000 falls, sins if you will. He said “Man, if you want to stay close to me go to the sacraments. I give you the grace, it will build on your nature. You're trying to fight the evil one on your terms. He's well above you, he's pure intellect. He watches all too closely. If you want to embark in this world, let me give you the grace to fight the fight for you, so come to me. Man, have you gone by adoration? I don't care if you just walk in the door, stick your head in, genuflect, and leave. Speaking of which, true story, man lives in a small village. Every morning at the break of dawn, he would go through the church, come in the door, genuflect, and walk out. Then, about sunset he'd come back to the church, genuflect, and leave. This goes on for a day, goes on for weeks, goes on for months, pretty soon the priest can't take it. He says “Why do you come in so early in the morning, bow, and then I see you again and all you do is genuflect and keep moving?” He said “Well, I do that because I just want to tell the good Lord good morning, and just tell him I’m on my way to work, watch over me, and then I come home and thank him for the day's work and allowing me to return home safely to my family, just to say thank you.” This goes on for a while. About a year or two goes by and he doesn't see the man anymore, then he gets a phone call to go to the hospital. He gets there and they say “You need to anoint this gentleman, he's in this room over here.” He goes in and he recognizes him. It's about five o'clock in the afternoon, the sun is about to set, he said the man's got a beautiful smile on his face. He's shocked. He's thinking “Man, this is the guy.” He steps out, he asks the nurse, he said “I got to tell you, I rarely see people I’m about to anoint in such a great disposition.” She says “You know what's amazing, that's the same way it is in the morning when I come in, and then before they leave they go in and check on him and that's how he is.” So he goes back to him and he's finally got the guy in a little bit of a conscious state and he asked him, he said “I don't know if you remember me,” and he nodded, that he did, he said “But I noticed that you got a smile on your face.” He said “Well, every morning the good Lord comes to my hospital room and says good morning, and every night before I go to sleep and the sun sets, he comes in and says good evening. My brothers and sisters in Christ, it's about that proximity. You have got to make yourself available to Christ. You have got to allow me to give you the sacraments, to stay after mass to be anointed, to hear your confession, most importantly, to receive the Eucharist, to baptize your children, so that we can remove the original sin, so that we cut down the space in which the evil one can work. My brothers and sisters in Christ, don't you see? The more room we give to evil to run, the more he'll dominate our lives, and, next thing you know, man, we're angry, and contemporary, and we're almost overly assertive, we make assumptions, and we judge, and we curse. I can tell you if you become that moody and temperamental, it's because you hadn't been to confession. 
  6. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I leave you with this. You want to have good neighbors? Then you have to be a good neighbor. You want to be an adopted son and daughter of our savior Jesus Christ? Then you need to make time for him. You have got to put yourself in proximity of him. You spend all week putting knots in your rope, do you honestly believe just one mass removes it all? You do anything twice as much in life and you're that much better. What if you just went to one more mass? What if you just went to adoration, even if you're just passing through? My brothers and sisters in Christ, be a good neighbor and then you'll find out what it means to have Christ as your neighbor.
  7. Amen.

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