Archives for January 2011

From the Pastor – January 30, 2011

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mt. 5:1-3) Who are the “poor in spirit” to whom Matthew refers in the Gospel today? The other seven of the eight beatitudes concern people who seem easy to identify (the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the clean of heart, the peacemakers, those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, and those who are insulted and persecuted because of Jesus). But what does it mean to be “poor in spirit”? The word “poor” comes from the Aramaic or Hebrew word anawim, which means bent down, afflicted, miserable, or poor. Although the word can mean … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – January 23, 2011

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. (Mt. 4:18-20) One afternoon while I was in seminary I was having lunch with a some classmates, and we were joined by another seminarian who was a member of a religious community. He was younger than my classmates, and pretty “gung ho” about being a seminarian. With eager eyes and enthusiasm, he turned to my classmate, Mike Woods, and asked “So when did you get your call??!!” Now, you'd have to know Mike, but suffice it to say that Mike was about 10 years older than the other seminarian. He's from Pittsburgh, … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – January 16, 2011

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one of whom I said, A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me." (Jn. 2:1-5) One of the mysterious things about the Scriptures is how it has a powerful way of speaking to the past, present and future at the same time. But there's an easy explanation for that. Sacred Scripture is the Word of God, and Jesus Christ, the Word made Flesh (Jn 1), is the same, today, yesterday and forever (Heb. 13:8). There are few scriptural lines that are more easily understood as speaking to the past, the present and the future than the line we hear from John the Baptist this weekend: “Behold, the Lamb of God.” The “past” pointed to by this … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – January 9, 2011

After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Lk. 3:21-22) Last week we celebrated “Epiphany Sunday,” which has been moved by the U.S. Bishops from its traditional date on January 6 to promote more active participation in the Feast. It's a bit confusing to us in New Orleans because we still mark “Twelfth Night” as the beginning of the Carnival Season and the first day that we can eat king cakes. Rousse's must be following the revised liturgical schedule since they had a huge king cake display last Saturday night! We know that Epiphany is marked by the appearance of … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – January 2, 2011

“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...]