2017 Homilies (Written)

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John 10:11-18; 4-25-2021 (As Built, Amite #447)

 

  1. Must, as in something you must do, something you must stop doing. It's a must.
  2. It's the 1940’s, 1950’s. His name is Raymond. Raymond is a Dayton, Ohio boy. He is one of 10 children, very Catholic family. As a result of it, man, he says life was tumultuous. If you ask him today, Raymond would tell you “It was tumultuous from day one.” He said “The day I was born the doctor used some forceps, it caught my tricep.” He said “Now I got one arm shorter than the other. It's been that way and it's plagued me my entire life.” He said “By the age of 11 my mom passes.” He said “Now I’m on my heels, we got 10 kids,” and he said “If it hadn't been for Holy Trinity Catholic Church, we'd have been scattered to the winds, foster homes, you name it, aunts, uncles, what have you. Holy Trinity Catholic Church keeps us together.” He said “Being that I was one of the oldest, I got a day job. I was a caddy.” he said “I made a few dollars here and there.” and then he said “Man, I’m in high school and it's just not... I watched this movie by James Dean called East of Eden and I think the other one is Rebel with a Cause... Rebel without a Cause... it doesn't matter, there's a rebel in there.” Anyway, my point being is this. He's going South, he tells his dad “Dad, I’ve decided to be an actor.” “Well, that's great son, right after you go to college you can do whatever you want to do.” He said “Dad, I’m just not college material.” He said “I don't want to hear that. There's one thing you must do, you're taking that entrance exam and you're going to college.” What he didn't plan on was Raymond purposely failing it. As a result, he fails it, dad says “Well, congratulations son, you're on your own. I can't afford to pay for you to go up to New York City, that's on you.” He finds a Catholic priest, go figure, he finds a Catholic priest who pays for him to get to New York City. He gets in a couple of different little shows. He was in front of the camera, he's behind the camera, he was a prop, one time he was an extra, next thing you know, he gets a part in My Three Sons. Please tell me you at least know the show. Okay, good, great. He's in My Three Sons, and then he gets in another one called Colombo, then he gets in another one called Hawaii Five-0, and then he gets in another one called Mission Impossible... that's the old Mission Impossible. Just work with me here for a second. As a result of it, man, he's doing okay and then he realizes something's not right, he's not getting any more work, man, he said he couldn't rub two sticks together, and he's decided there's something he's got to do, there's something he's got to change, and then his friend comes to him, who's a producer and executive, and says “I’ll tell you what, you must change your name. It ain't selling, it ain't going anywhere.” He goes home and there's this archbishop on television who's a dynamic speaker and, as a result of it, he says “I’m just going to use his name.” He's in Apocalypse Now. He was in West Wing. He was in American President. He's got two sons. You know, I didn't memorize all the shows that he did, okay. He does the RX commercials. Martin Sheen. Do you even know who Martin Sheen is? Okay, great, okay, wow. I’ll tell you, his two sons, you'd have found the two renegades for sure. It's all about must.
  3. That is that Gospel. “I am the good shepherd and I must lay down my life for them.” About 10 times in scripture he says “I have to do this because it's something I must do.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, now stop. You need to understand where this is going. John is writing this gospel. John is very Jewish. When John speaks he's usually speaking in the temple area. He's talking about the people in Judea. He's talking about Jerusalem itself, where the other gospel writers are talking all about in the countryside. This is very Jewish. Now remember, every Jew there knows the prophet Ezekiel. He is the one that gave us the four gospel writers as you see painted on this backdrop. He's the one that told them that there will be bad shepherds that come a long way. Now, all of a sudden, the good Lord is talking about the good shepherd. My brothers and sisters in Christ, you need to make sure you understand that there's something very powerful going on behind the scenes in this gospel. He says that “I will lay down my life and I have not only you followers that are Jews, but I have others who are not Jews.” That's you and I. “And there will only be one church.” 40,000 faiths in the world today. Tell me we haven't gone astray. My brothers and sisters in Christ, now remember this. This is how it used to work, let's say you and I are shepherds, we barely make ends meet. This is why the analogy is powerful to those that are not wealthy because if you and I own sheep, this is how we would work it. Every night during the week you and I would rotate who would take everybody's sheep, our sheep, your sheep, our neighbor’s sheep, we would put them into a field, and we would rotate who would watch. If one person was able to afford a fence, we would put them all inside one fence and still rotate. The next morning, each one of us would go to our respective fields and then the gatekeeper would stand by the gate and he'd point to you, and then you would call and your sheep would go to your field, literally, then you would call over here, and then they would go to your field over here. If you had money, you were able to allow the sheep to come actually inside your house. You would live up in the lofts. Remember the story about the guy says “The guy's knocking on my door, man, I’m not coming down, it's late.” Well, I can tell you why ain't coming down, because there's a boatload of sheep down in the bottom of it and everything that went with it. Why is it that y'all get that part of the gospel? I should have started with that is what I should have done. 
  4. My brothers and sisters in Christ, now look, go back in Scripture. Our best players are people that have decided, man, there's something I just, I got to do. It's a must do. I mean, it's almost a commandment. That's Paul. Think about Paul’s life, he's there, he's just getting started, he goes to a city called the Metropolis. He gets there and there's a girl there that is possessed, but her family are involved in sorcery. They're involved in… like tarot cards, a version of that, they believe in worship and other gods. He knows when he gets there, because they're begging him to cure her and he knows that the minute that he cures her, they're going to go dead broke because everything that they sell in their merchandise is all tied to it, but he said “I’m telling you, this is something I must do. It should have never gotten this way, you should have never done that, but you're going to probably end up going broke and have to start over.” He does it anyway because he knows this is something that must be done for the sake of the child. He leaves this city and he goes to another city, and I believe it's not Lystra... it may have been... He goes to the next city and there's a boy that is crippled there, and, as a result of going into the city, he's crippled, and everybody there either worships Hermes or Zeus. As a result of it, he goes in and he says “They've been praying to Hermes or Zeus.” He said “That's got to stop.” so he cures them. Now they think he’s Zeus. “No, I’m just telling you what you were doing before was wrong.” They run him out of town. He leaves to go to yet another city and, as a result, the governor asked him to speak publicly. He begins to speak publicly and, as a result of it, there's another guy debating him and his name was, well, Barjesus, which means son of Jesus. Paul gets to a point where he can't take it anymore. He said “Man, you're lying and you're blaspheming and you're leading these people down the path.” He actually mutes him where he can't even speak for a couple of days. Man, talk about running out of town. My brothers and sisters in Christ, if it's not bad enough he now takes a boat and he goes to the island… I think Crete. He gets there, the boat sinks. If you’re on a boat with Paul, you're swimming the rest of the way, I’m just telling you. Man, this guy is an accident looking for a place to happen. In four days over four cities, he finally gets to the shore. He gets up there to go warm himself next to a fire and a viper snake bites him as he's trying to get warm, and the good Lord is telling him “No Paul, I needed that to happen so that people would come to understand that you have been touched by me, and that nothing can touch you until I ordain it, even a viper snake.” 
  5. My brothers and sisters in Christ, here you and I sit 2,000 years later. There's something in our life that we must stop doing, and there's something in our life that we must start doing. My brothers and sisters in Christ, think about your life. Pick one thing in your life that you must stop doing. It's got to stop, it's killing you, it's killing your family, it's killing your family and your friends, it's destroying them because you simply refuse to acknowledge it. It could be as powerful as pornography, and boy can I tell you that that's the dominant demon all the way into grammar school. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I’m telling y'all, y'all need to be prudent and watch what your children watch because it is destroying us. Is it pornography? Maybe it's that drink. “Oh, well Father, I can stop drinking any time.” “Well, how long have you been drinking?” “About 10 years.” “How's that working for you, because the fact of the matter is if you could stop you would have stopped.” Well, maybe it's gossiping. Maybe every time we get around a group of people we just can't help it. “I’ll tell you what I heard, I’ll tell you what I know.” I’m just saying that somehow or another being the town crier is an acceptable rite of passage. My brothers and sisters in Christ, listen to me. For everything you've got to stop doing, that's that vice, you need to fill it with a virtue. If you do not fill it with a virtue, it will get dormant. Here's the example in scripture, there's a man that owns a house. As a result of it, he's possessed by a demon. He finally works at getting rid of the demon and he “cleans his house”. The demon leaves, goes and gets six other demons, and then seven demons return and they possess him completely. To a Jew, seven is significant. Only one other person in scripture had all seven demons, Mary Magdalene. That means it's complete, seven days of creation, seven years to build the temple, so what he's saying is that even though you clean your house and you stop doing something, you need to fill it with something, so if you get rid of a vice and your vice is “I judge”, well, maybe before you judge you need to fill it with the virtue of either justice, prudence, temperance, or fortitude. How many times do you go to confession for the same sin over, and over, and over again? That's the problem. We're not filling it with a virtue, we're just getting rid of the vice temporarily by going to confession, so as a result of it, if you don't fill it with something, seven more are going to come back and fill it even more. That's why you and I go to confession for the same thing over, and over, and over again, you're not filling it with a virtue. Ask yourself if you're going to judge somebody, why not ask for justice, prudence, temperance, and fortitude that you treat everybody as if you want to be treated? Ask for the virtue to fill the vice. If you gossip and slander, can you ask the good Lord for prudence so that you say the right thing the right way? Maybe you curse too much, you drop the MF or GD. There are 40,000 words in English language and those are the only two you can find? You can't find any other words? That's mind-boggling. You can't find and be prudential and pick two words to fill that spot? My brothers and sisters in Christ, if you and I are so mad and angry all the time that we just blame God for anything and everything, we blame our parents and our family as if we had nothing to do with any issue, so when does temperance come in? What about the fortitude to persevere? My brothers and sisters in Christ, listen to me. I’m telling you that if you do not fill that hole with a virtue, the vice will grow, and grow, and grow, then you'll fall victim to the seven deadly sins, that lead you to breaking the commandments, which will separate you from him for all eternity. 
  6. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I leave you with this. Everybody talks about prioritizing their schedule, and the problem is you and I need to be scheduling our priorities. There's something in your life that must stop and there's another thing that must start. I am begging you, we all are attracted by one of the seven demons: pride, anger, gluttony, lust, average, sloth, or envy. Pick the animal that has beaten you to death and replace it with a virtue. Pray for that virtue so that you don't repeat the sin. Stop doing one thing and start doing another. It's a must.
  7. Amen.

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