From the Pastor – February 27, 2022

Jesus told his disciples a parable, “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?” (Luke 6:39)

In New Orleans we give directions differently than some other cities.  We don’t use “east, west, north and south” because it doesn’t make sense to tell people that the way to the West Bank is actually due east because of the curve the Mississippi makes at New Orleans.  We might describe somewhere as “across the lake,” or “downtown,” or in Lakeview.”  Those of us who live uptown might describe the exact location of our church as being on the riverside, downtown corner of Camp and Napoleon.  It’s a little different in Rome.  When my friends and I were walking in Rome and asked someone for directions, most Italians would just point in the direction we should go, and say “diritto, sempre diritto,” which meant “straight straight ahead.”  They wouldn’t mention any distances or where to turn, they would just tell you to go straight ahead.  So you would walk in the direction they told you until you found another person who would tell you the same thing until you found what you were looking for.  Obviously, a blind person wouldn’t know what direction to send you.  They might be able to give you an address or tell you to go east, but they wouldn’t be able to say “diritto, sempre diritto.”

It can be the same way in the spiritual life.  Nowadays we see many people following “blind guides.”  Whether it’s an actor, a musician, a politician, a self-help guru or the latest reality TV star, many people take directions from people who don’t know where they are going.  Then they are lead astray from spiritual realities to the dangers of earthly living.

For Catholics, there’s only one true guide, and it’s not a priest or a bishop or even the Pope.  It’s Jesus Christ.  He is the “way” to the Father, the “way” to Heaven.  When a priest or bishop or the Pope points to Jesus, “diritto, sempre diritto,” we’re pointing the way.

As we prepare to enter into the Holy Season of Lent this week, we should remember that our little Lenten penances are small ways of uniting ourselves to Jesus as he entered into the desert.  Although we don’t like to think of our beautiful city as a desert, it is in relation to the richness of Eternal Life.  So if you come to me with questions of the faith, don’t be surprised if my advice is to point to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and say “diritto, sempre diritto.”  He is the only way.

(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty