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...]

From the Pastor – February 4, 2018

Job spoke, saying: Is not man's life on earth a drudgery? Are not his days those of hirelings? He is a slave who longs for the shade, a hireling who waits for his wages. So I have been assigned months of misery, and troubled nights have been allotted to me.  (Job 7:4)Most of us know the story of Job.  He was faithful to God, but God let the devil take away all of Job’s possessions, kill all of his children and ruin his health.  And despite his misfortunes, Job does not curse God.  But that doesn’t stop him from bemoaning his situation.  The passage above reflects his poor attitude, but it speaks to a truth.  The world often imposes on us many miseries.  We get tired and frustrated with work.  We get in arguments with family members and friends.  We get sick, we can’t pay the bills, … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – January 28, 2018

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kindred, and will put my words into the mouth of the prophet; the prophet shall tell them all that I command. Whoever will not listen to my words which he speaks in my name, I myself will make him answer for it.  (Dt. 18:18-19)In the Acts of the Apostles, both St. Peter (3:22) and, St. Stephen (7:37) quote the above passage as referring to Jesus.  Jesus is the prophet who came to teach us (in word and deed) how to live according to God’s plan and attain the Kingdom of Heaven.  And when the time came, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit upon His Apostles to guide them and us through the Holy Catholic Church.  But Jesus foretold that some would not listen to His words, and He warned us that we would be persecuted for following … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – January 21, 2018

After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”  (Mk. 1:14-15)The words above are the first words spoken by Jesus in the Gospel of Mark.  How are we to interpret them?  Clearly the words evidence the reality that occurred when God was incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ.  If God is incarnate, then “this is the time of fulfillment”; all of the prophecies have been fulfilled.  And if Jesus is present, then the Kingdom of God is present, since the Kingdom is present where the King is present.  But what about the middle part “repent and believe in the Gospel”?There are different ways to understand the words “repent and believe in the Gospel.  They … [Read more...]