From the Pastor – November 22, 2020

We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep. (1 Thess. 4:13-15) How many times have we gazed at a crucifix and seen that inscription: “I.N.R.I.”  We know it means something about Jesus being “King of the Jews,” even if we don’t remember that it comes from the first letters of the Latin inscription meaning “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews:  Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum.  The key is understanding what’s behind that inscription.  Is it just a “mocking” inscription provided by Pontius Pilate?  Was it placed there to enrage the Jewish Sanhedrin?  Or is it part … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – November 15, 2020

Jesus told his disciples this parable:  “A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one – to each according to his ability. Then he went away.” (Mt. 25:14-15) When I was a child, I remember having a picture book outlining today’s parable of the talents.  And in the book, the word “talent” was translated “bag of gold.”  And that’s  precisely what Jesus is talking about here.  In the original Greek, the word used is ???????? (talenton), which is a unit of measurement.  It was the amount of a precious metal that would fill an amphora, which was approximately one cubic foot.   The weight (and value) would depend upon the type of metal.  While certainly a “liberal” translation, the term “bag … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – November 8, 2020

“'Lord, Lord, open the door for us!' But he said in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.' Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”  (Mt. 25:11-13) What does it mean to “fear the Lord”?  Fear seems to be something negative.  We associate it with threats and negative consequences.   So what does the Psalmist mean today when he says that those who “fear the Lord” are blessed? Perhaps surprisingly, “fear of the Lord” is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, along with Wisdom Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge and Piety. Fear of the Lord is more closely related to “awe,” and allows us to be aware of the glory and majesty of God. A person with wonder and awe knows that God is the perfection of all we desire: perfect knowledge, perfect goodness, … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – October 25, 2020

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Mt. 22:36-40) In English we use the word “love” in a lot of ways.  We might use it to describe our favorite restaurant, “I love La Petite Grocery.”  We might use it to describe our favorite tech device, “I love my iPhone.”  Or we might use it to describe bigger things, like “I love New Orleans.”  And in all of these usages, it’s used primarily as a superlative of the word “like.” When it comes to people, the usage of the word … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – October 18, 2020

“We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father, knowing, brothers and sisters loved by God, how you were chosen.  For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction.” (1 Thes. 1:2-5)  A number of years ago, I remember the Archbishop calling all priests to a Holy Hour of Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament at St. Louis Cathedral.  And the way he did it was so succinctly Trinitarian.  He asked us to “come let us pray with Our Lord Jesus to the Father that He will send the Holy Spirit down upon us.”  I remember hearing it and having a new and different … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – October 11, 2020

“On this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.” (Is. 25:6) It’s interesting how many times Sacred Scriptures describe Heaven in terms of food and drink.  The “promised land” was a place flowing with “milk and honey.”  Alternatively, Isaiah describes a “mountain” with “rich food and pure, choice wines.”  For people living in an arid place, the idea of abundant food and drink was very appealing, especially in times of famine. But Jesus takes the analogy even further by describing a wedding banquet, something that was by far the most joyous occasions in the life of a Jew. If you think today’s wedding receptions are “over-the-top,” think again.  Jewish weddings were marked by an eight day … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – September 27, 2020

“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 20, 2020

“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 weather.” … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – September 13, 2020

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 us 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 by us as kids … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – September 6, 2020

“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 into … [Read more...]