From the Pastor – April 22, 2018

Jesus said: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” (Jn 10:1-3)This week is the Fourth Sunday in Easter, and it is traditionally known as “Good Shepherd Sunday” because of the Gospel reading today in which Jesus describes Himself as the Good Shepherd. We’re all familiar with the images: Jesus standing, staff in hand, with the lamb across his shoulders. We have a beautiful stained-glass image of this in the stairway leading up to the choir loft. In fact, it’s the screensaver on my phone!  Or perhaps we think … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – April 15, 2018

Peter said to the people: “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence when he had decided to release him. You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses. Now I know, brothers, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did; but God has thus brought to fulfillment what he had announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer. Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.  (Acts 3:13-15, 17-19).A few years ago I met a lapsed Catholic who was somewhat … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – April 8, 2018

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.  The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.  Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.” (Jn 20:19-21a)How do we define peace?  Politically, it can defined  as an “absence of conflict.”  If we are busy at work, it might mean “no interruptions.”  Some parents might equate peace with their kids being asleep or at their grandparents for the night.  Peace happens to some people when their cell phone finally runs out of batteries or when a power outage knocks out the internet and the television.  Oftentimes we actually “seek” … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – April 1, 2018

Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory. Col. 3:2-4One year while I was living in Rome, my parents came to visit me during the last weeks of Lent.  Since my Dad is a permanent deacon, he sat next to me on the altar when we celebrated Mass at the beautiful church of St. Alphonsus near St. Mary Major where the original image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is enshrined.  As it came time to read the Gospel, my Dad came and asked for a blessing, after which then he began to solemnly intone “Al-le-luia!  Al-le-luia! Al-le-luia!”  I quietly said:  “Shhh!  We don’t say that now.  It’s Lent!”  He quickly whispered that since we were celebrating a … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – March 25, 2018

At noon darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which is translated, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Some of the bystanders who heard it said, “Look, he is calling Elijah.” One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink saying, “Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down.” Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.. (Lk. 23:44-46)“Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion” begins Holy Week. If it has been a while since you have experienced all of the services of Holy Week, consider doing so this year.  Commemorating the events of the Lord’s Suffering and Death help us to have a greater understanding of the importance of the … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – March 25, 2018

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD.  I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jer. 31:34)What does Jeremiah mean that the law will be “written on our hearts”?  We don’t have to go far to find out.  In Paul’s Letter to the Romans he says:“For when the Gentiles who do not have the law by nature observe the prescriptions of the law, they are a law for themselves even though they do not have the law.  They show that the demands of the law are written in their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even defend them on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge people’s hidden works through … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – March 4, 2018

Jesus said: “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father's house a marketplace.”  His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, Zeal for your house will consume me.  At this the Jews answered and said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?”Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” (Jn. 2:16-19)Two weeks ago Jesus was out in the desert, hungry and thirsty.  Last week, He was on top of a mountain, gloriously transfigured in dazzling white before Peter, James and John.  This week, He’s in the Temple, purifying it.  Most of us are familiar with the story of Jesus casting the money-changers out of the Temple, and most of us understand that the scene is more than about a beautiful stone building in Jerusalem.  … [Read more...]

From the Pastor –

Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.  And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. (Mk. 9:2-3)Last week Jesus was out in the desert, hungry and thirsty.  And this week, He’s on top of a mountain, transfigured in dazzling white before Peter, James and John.  This transfiguration has traditionally been interpreted as a preliminary revelation of the glory of Jesus given to His closest collaborators so that they might be strengthened in advance of the scandal of the cross. And in this moment of mystical experience, they also hear a voice from heaven:  “Listen to Him.”During Lent, there is something comforting about the transfiguration for us, too.  It reminds … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – February 18, 2018

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. (Mk. 1-12)I always look forward to Lent. And this year is no exception. Now that Lent is here, I’m happy to create my own little desert of calm by the Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. It’s the perfect remedy for the last two weeks of noise, feasting and excess.One of the good disciplines of Lent is “giving something up.” When I was in seminary, I remember my rector publicly acknowledging that he gave up cigars during Lent. And then one Friday in Lent, I walked by his room and smelled cigar smoke. The next day I asked him about it, and he said that he decided to do something different that year because he felt like everyone knew he gave up cigars. He felt … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – February 11, 2018

Brothers and sisters, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.  (1 Cor. 10:31)Over the next three days, many of us are going to do a fair amount of eating and drinking!  And that’s not a bad thing.  Fat Tuesday is meant to be a time of feasting in preparation for the fasting and austerity of Lent.But that doesn’t mean that Lent is a “holy” season and Mardi Gras is a “pagan” season.  As St. Paul tells us above, everything should be done for the glory of God.A recent article in the Times Picayune had a question asked the question:  “What vices are you giving up for Lent?”  And then it listed a long list of “vices,” including among them “meat” and “alcohol.”  Now it’s certain that excessive drinking and obesity are unhealthy, but can we … [Read more...]