From the Pastor – September 17, 2017

Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive?  As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” (Mt. 18:21-22)When I was younger, my sisters and brother and I had a lot of little “family” jokes and expressions.  Sometimes when we’re together again, we use them to get a laugh.  In our teenage years those “inside jokes” tended to revolve around quotes from television shows or movies that we found funny.  Most of can do imitations of Eddie Murphy’s more memorable gags or lines uttered by Bill Murray in “Caddyshack” or “Stripes.”  But one of the older expressions I remember when I was very young was “seventy-eleven.”  Of course, it’s not an actual number, but it was used to express the … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – September 10, 2017

“Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Mt. 18:19-20)Most priests tend to pray a lot.  I’m one of them.  At my ordination to the diaconate, I promised to pray the “prayer of the Church” called the Liturgy of the Hours.  It’s made up of Morning Prayer, Daytime Prayer, Evening Prayer, the Office of Reading and Night Prayer.  Of course, I also celebrate at least one Mass daily.  I also try daily to make a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament, recite the Rosary, do some spiritual reading and pray other devotional prayers according to the season.But I try not to “isolate” my prayer … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – September 3, 2017

“And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Mt. 16:16-19)For most of my time living in Rome, I led pilgrims on a tour through the excavations under St. Peter’s Basilica.  Known as the “Scavi,” the Italian name for excavations, the site contains a cemetery with tombs dating from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd centuries.  Although many of the tombs are pagan, as the visit gets closer to the area under the main altar of St. Peter’s, we begin to see many signs of Christian burials.  The highlight of the tour is the area immediately under … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – August 20, 2017

Jesus said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” (Mt. 15:26-27)For the first 36 years of my life, I spent a lot of time listening to homilies at Mass, rather than giving them.  Of course, I’ve heard some really amazing homilies.  But I’ve also heard some that didn’t say a lot to me.  One of my biggest pet peeves was when there was a line in the Gospel that begged to be explained and the homilist ignored it like nobody heard it.I think that the above quote from this Sunday’s Gospel is just that sort of quote.  Think about it, did Jesus just call that woman a “dog”?  That’s pretty strong language here!  And she just took … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – August 27, 2017

“And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Mt. 16:16-19)For most of my time living in Rome, I led pilgrims on a tour through the excavations under St. Peter’s Basilica.  Known as the “Scavi,” the Italian name for excavations, the site contains a cemetery with tombs dating from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd centuries.  Although many of the tombs are pagan, as the visit gets closer to the area under the main altar of St. Peter’s, we begin to see many signs of Christian burials.  The highlight of the tour is the area immediately under … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – August 13, 2017

Peter said to him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”  He said, “Come.”  Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.  But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Mt. 14:28-31)There are three things about the above encounter between Jesus and Peter from today’s Gospel that should make us think.  First, there is the command of Jesus; second, there is the fear of Peter; and, third, there is the reaction of Jesus to Peter’s lack of faith.First, we have to recognize that Jesus “commands” Peter to go across the water.  If Jesus gives us a … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – July 30, 2017

Jesus said to his disciples: “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Mt. 13:44-46)A few years ago, one of my friends who is in the construction business told me a story about a man who owned some property on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain.  It was basically swamp land that the man used for hunting and fishing.  At that usage, the land couldn’t have been worth more than $1000-2000 an acre.  And then something happened.  A survey found that there was a large vein of clay on the property.  With all of the coastal protection projects going on, the need for local clay is enormous.  Small amounts of clay are not that expensive, but clay is expensive to move in … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – July 23, 2017

“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.’” (Mt. 13:32-31a)One of the memorable scenes from the Acts of the Apostles is when the Pharisees are deciding what to do about the pesky Apostles, who seem content to suffer persecution as they courageously preach about the Resurrection of Jesus. One of the Pharisees, named Gamaliel, orders the Apostles out of the Sanhedrin, and makes the following appeal to the members:“Fellow Israelites, be careful what you are about to do to these men. Some time ago, Theudas appeared, claiming to be someone important, and about four hundred men joined him, but he … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – July 16, 2017

Thus says the LORD: Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; my word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it. (IS. 55:10-11)The Gospel for this 15th Sunday in Ordinary time is the parable from Matthew 13 about the field sown with good and bad seed.  We might have heard the expression “bad seed” as referring to someone who came from a “bad family.”  While it’s true that one’s environment can have a serious effect on our personalities, attitudes and habits, the Church teaches that we are all God’s children.  You might also hear … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – July 9, 2017

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Mt 11:28-30)“Come to me,” the Lord asks us in today’s Gospel.  The word used for “come” in the original Greek is “?????” – pronounced “dyoo-teh.”  It’s a command, and it’s directed to the entire group to whom Jesus is speaking.  The same word is used by Jesus a number of times in the New Testament, speaking to a past event, a present event and a future event.In the past event, Jesus first used the word: “Come, after me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Mk 1:17).  In the future event, Jesus gives us the parable of the talents, and uses the word as … [Read more...]