From the Pastor – October 1, 2017

“Thus says the LORD: You say, ‘The LORD's way is not fair!’  Hear now, house of Israel:  Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair?” (Ez. 18:25)“That’s not fair!”  I can’t even imagine how many times I heard that growing up.  I grew up in a house with three sisters and a brother.  And one thing about us, we grew up with a strong understanding of justice.  Well, justice as we defined it.  When it came time to cut the pecan pie for dessert, we would scrutinize the pieces down to the last crumb.  And if someone got a bigger piece, one of us would exclaim:  “That’s not fair!”And if one of us was invited to spend the night at our grandparents, then a scorecard was kept.  If there was not a perfect rotation so that each of us went in order, it would happen again:  … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – September 24, 2017

“Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?  Take what is yours and go.  What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?  Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?  Are you envious because I am generous?  ‘Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.’” (Mt. 20:13-16a)A number of years ago, one of my closest friends and I were on a retreat at Manresa.  Although it was a silent retreat, several of my buddies and I used to sneak out to the levee late on the last evening of the retreat as kind of “debriefing.” I remember looking up at the starry sky and my friend saying: “Wouldn’t it be great to have a ‘simple faith,’ like a farmer.   You just got up in the morning, did the farm work, went back into the house in the evening and prayed for good … [Read more...]

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...]