From the Pastor – March 10, 2019

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil.  (Lk 4:1-2a)That little verse above is the reason behind the holy Season of Lent.  And all I can say is thank God for Lent!I always look forward to Lent.  And this year is no exception.  Christmas ran into New Year’ and Epiphany, then the longest king cake season ever, and then right on its heals Mardi Gras season started with eight days of parades in front of the church!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 to the last two weeks of noise, feasting and excess.  Let’s all take a deep breath!One of the good … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – March 3, 2019

Jesus told his disciples a parable, “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?” (Luke 6:39)In New Orleans we give directions differently than some other cities. We don’t use “east, west, north and south” because it doesn’t make sense to tell people that the way to the West Bank is actually due east because of the curve the Mississippi makes at New Orleans. We might describe somewhere as “across the lake,” or “downtown,” or in Lakeview.” Those of us who live uptown might describe the exact location of our church as being on the riverside, downtown corner of Camp and Napoleon. It’s a little different in Rome. When my friends and I were walking in Rome and asked someone for directions, most Italians would just point in the direction we should go, and say … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – February 24, 2019

Jesus said to his disciples: “To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. …  Do to others as you would have them do to you.  For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same.” (Luke 6:27-28, 30-33)The Gospel passage today is a continuation of the Sermon on the Plain we heard in last week’s Gospel.  And just as He did last week, he’s basically turning the law of the Old Covenant on its head in terms of understanding.  When someone did wrong to a Jewish person, the wronged person was told in the law: “if injury ensues, you shall give life for … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – February 17, 2019

Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. (Lk 6:20-23)It’s hard to argue with the joy that we experienced in 2010 when the Saints won the Super Bowl.  And it’s hard to argue with the sadness we felt this year when we were “robbed” by the referees who didn’t call a blatant penalty on our last drive.It seems that after Katrina, we needed a symbol for the “renaissance” of our city.  It could have come from the outpouring of support we received from people living outside of the state, or even from the revamping of our own city government. It could have come from the outside businessmen, artists, musicians, actors, and celebrities who have taken an interest in our home.  But it is fitting that the symbol of our renaissance was one of our own. It was the team that was … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – February 10, 2019

After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.”When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing.  They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them.  They came and filled both boats so that the boats were in danger of sinking.  When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.  (Lk 5:4-8, 9b-11) You have to … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – February 3, 2019

And all spoke highly of Jesus and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. (Lk 4:22 & Lk 4:28-30)What happened here? These are two different parts of the 4th chapter of Luke’s Gospel separated by only 5 verses. In the first section, the people are rapt by the beautiful words of Jesus, and in the second they are so angered as to want to kill Him. What provoked that? What caused their attitude to change? Actually, it was a strong statement of Jesus about what had happened with prophets that had come … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – January 27, 2019

He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” (Lk. 4:16-19)Imagine being present in the synagogue when this dramatic scene took place.  All the eyes are on Jesus and He reads this dramatic reading from Isaiah 61, and then succinctly explains that the passage refers to Him.  There are three important Greek words in this passage to … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – January 20, 2019

“There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.’His mother said to the servers, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’” (Jn. 2:1-5) The Gospel this Sunday is the very first Gospel that I preached about as a newly ordained deacon in October of 1998.  The Mass took place in a very small chapel called the Clementine Chapel, which is located under the main altar of the Basilica of St. Peter at the Vatican.  It’s the closest altar to the Tomb of St. Peter the Apostle.  I had decided that I wanted the Mass to be a Votive Mass for the Blessed … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – January 13, 2019

After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased." (Lk 3:21-22)This weekend we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord. For centuries, Christians have celebrated the season of Christmas as twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany.  The season ends with our celebration of the Lord's baptism.The public life of Jesus begins with his baptism by John in the Jordan.  John hesitates, but Jesus insists. Then the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, comes upon Jesus and a voice from heaven proclaims, "This is my beloved Son.”  Similarly to the visitation of the magi, this is an “epiphany” – a … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – January 6, 2019

“And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.  They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother.  They prostrated themselves and did him homage.” (Mt. 2:9-11)Why were the “wise men” wise? Were they wise because they knew the movements of the stars in the sky?  Perhaps.  Were they wise because they understood the seasons of the year or the mysteries of nature?  Maybe.  Or were they wise because they knew how to navigate according to a star.  All of that might be true.  But the underlying truth is that they were wise because they were searching for God. Their desire for Him meant that they could detect his coming appearance on earth in the … [Read more...]