From the Pastor – September 15, 2019

“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (Lk 15:2b)Jesus was often criticized during His earthly ministry.  He was criticized for breaking Mosaic law (curing on the Sabbath).  He was criticized for fraternizing with a woman (the woman at the well). He was criticized for being a glutton and a drunkard (contra John the Baptist).  And He was criticized for blasphemy (for forgiving sins).  But one of the most frequent criticisms of Jesus was that He ate and drank with sinners.  Sometimes, we can use that criticism to justify our own conduct.  So what’s the big deal if I hang out with sinners?  Jesus did the same thing!There is a different reality:  God came to save His people from their sins.  The name “Jesus” means “God saves.”  God sent us His Son to save us from the darkness … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – September 8, 2019

“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”  (Lk 14:26-27).What does it mean to be a Christian?  The word was first used by St. Luke in Acts 11:26, where he recounts that: “it was at Antioch that the disciples [of Jesus] were called ‘Christians’ for the first time.”  So being a Christian means being a disciple (from the Greek word for “pupil”) of Christ.If you read the Scriptural quote above, then Jesus has some pretty high standards for those who would choose to be His disciple.  A disciple must “hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters and even his own life” and he must … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – September 1, 2019

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.   (Lk 14:11).What is humility?  The word origin comes from the Latin word “humus,” which means “dirt.”  It can have negative connotations as being “lowly” or “abased,” but Catholics tend to see humility as a virtue.  And the reason for that?  It’s because Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is the epitome, the essence of humility.  He came from the highest station possible:  He is the Lord, the Creator of the Universe, the Word made Flesh, the Alpha and the Omega.  And from the highest station, He chose the lowliest station on Earth.  He was born in a stable.  He grew up in one of the smallest backwaters of the Middle East.  He became an “itinerant” preacher and had nowhere to lay his head.  He … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – August 25, 2019

Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.”   (Lk 13:23-24).What does it mean to be “saved”?  We use the word all of the time.  We might save money by buying something on sale.  We might save electricity by turning down the thermostat.  We might save for a vacation or save our breath when in an argument against someone stubborn.  We might want to save the whales, save the rain forest, save the lake or save the cemeteries, to quote some international or local causes.So what does that “someone” in the verse above mean when he asks Jesus whether “only a few will be saved.”  The Greek word being used is from the root “Swttr” or “Soter,” … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – August 18, 2019

Jesus said to his disciples: "I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?  No, I tell you, but rather division.  (Lk 12:49-51).A few years ago, Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI reflected on the Gospel passage we hear this Sunday.  He said:There’s a passion of ours that must grow from faith, which must be transformed into the fire of charity. Jesus said: I came to cast fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled. Origen has conveyed us a word of the Lord: “Whoever is near me is near the fire.” The Christian must not be lukewarm. The Book of Revelation tells us that this is the … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – August 4, 2019

“There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, ‘Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!’” But God said to him, “You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?” Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God. (Lk 12:18b-21).A few years ago I spoke to a Catholic group in Baton Rouge.  Although my talk was about the Apostolicity of the Church (being founded on the Apostles and the current bishops being their successors), at the end a man asked me a question about clerical celibacy.  “Father, why do priests have to be celibate” was the simple question.  Unfortunately, celibacy is … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – August 11, 2019

Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. (Lk 12:39-40).There are two ways by which we will see God face-to-face: upon our death or at the time of the Second Coming.  And the truth is that we really don’t know when either of those events might occur!Several years ago, I was the celebrant at two funeral Masses in a few days that marked a real contrast.  The first funeral was of a young, 18-year-old boy in the beginning of a promising life.  And the second was of a 93-year-old great-grandfather.  Although it’s certain that only God knows the state of their souls at their death, we prayed at both funeral … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – July 21, 2019

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.  There is need of only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken fromher.” (Lk 10:25-27)There’s a tendency to take this Sunday’s Gospel as an encouragement of laziness. We hear that Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus doing nothing, and Martha is doing all of the work. Yet, when Martha complains, Jesus reassures the two that Mary has “chosen the better part.” So doing nothing but listening to Jesus is better than helping out around the house? Sounds like a quick way our of household chores! “Need me to mow the lawn? Sorry, but I’ve chosen the “better portion”; I’m heading to the Adoration Chapel to pray!That’s not really what’s going on here. What Jesus is referring to is not the literal … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – July 14, 2019

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law?  How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Lk 10:25-27)If you could ask God one question, what would it be? Would you ask about the future?  Would you ask for the next Powerball number? Next year’s Superbowl Champion? Or perhaps you’d want to know about something from the past. Why did Katrina hit us?  Why did my loved one have to die? Perhaps you’d want to know the answer to something current. Why do bad things happen to good people? What is the cure for cancer or … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – July 7, 2019

At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. … Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God is at hand for you.' (Lk 10:1, 7-9)The mission of the 72 disciples of Jesus has been spoken about by the Fathers of the Church in several ways. St. Augustine thought the 72 to be the first priests of the Church working in concert with the 12 Apostles (bishops). Other saints, such as St. Cyril, saw the 72 as the first worshipping community of Christians sent out to teach. Either way, the 72 brought the Gospel (Good News) of Christ to those whom had never received it. Theirs was the work of “evangelization,” from the Latin word … [Read more...]