From the Pastor – February 28, 2021

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 21, 2021

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.  … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – February 14, 2021

Brothers and sisters, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.  (1 Cor. 10:31) It’s too bad that this year we won’t be able to gather in front of our church as we watch parades!  But I’m sure we’ll all figure out some way to celebrate Mardi Gras.  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 … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – February 7, 2021

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 31, 2021

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 24, 2020

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...]

From the Pastor – January 10, 2021

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 manifestation of Jesus as Messiah and Son of God. The baptism of the Lord is the acceptance and inauguration of Christ’s mission as God's suffering Servant. He allows himself to be numbered among sinners, and he becomes “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – Jan 3, 2020

“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? Were they wise because they understood the seasons of the year or the movements of nature?  What made them wise? The word for “wise men” is a Greek word that we transliterate as “magi.” The magi were interested in trying to understand the created world, but they searched for more. The magi might have been smart because of all of their knowledge of the physical world, but wisdom is … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – December 20, 2020

“Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High.” (Luke 1:31-32a) A few years back I was praying the Rosary with our small group at 11:00 am in front of the abortion clinic on St. Charles Avenue near Louisiana (before it closed), and I got yelled at by a Fundamentalist. Although I’m used to experiencing taunting while I’m praying in front of abortion clinics, I’m not used to being yelled at by a fellow “Christian” because I’m praying the Rosary. One would think we could take a moment to set aside our differences in a mutual effort to pray for an end to abortion! The point of the man’s rant was that I was “glorifying” Mary by saying the “Hail Mary.” He was yelling at us “Mary is dead. Why … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – December 13, 2020

I rejoice heartily in the LORD, in my God is the joy of my soul;for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation and wrapped me in a mantle of justice,like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem, like a bride bedecked with her jewels. (Is. 61:10) The coming of the Messiah was something eagerly anticipated by the Jewish people.  His coming was to be a time of great rejoicing (Gaudete!)  It represented the intervention of God into the affairs of men.  No longer would they be hungry or thirsty or oppressed or crippled.  They would be delivered from the difficulties of this life and live in a new reality without fear.  God would be with them, according to the promises of His Covenant. However, the appearance of the Messiah was disputed.  Would he be a great king, like David?  Would he be a … [Read more...]