And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.

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It’s almost impossible for modern people who fly a thousand miles in a few hours to appreciate how insulting it was for Jesus to say that foreigners would be in heaven… And not just in heaven, but in a more prominent place in heaven than the Jews… After all, Jesus walked in “our streets!” It was shocking in a way that we just can’t imagine.

For the Jews, the promise of God was total. God promised a land. He promised an inheritance. He promised offspring. He promised “milk and honey.” Absolutely nothing, from the stream to the sky, were outside of the promise. And God bound Himself to the promise by His own word and by the blood that the Jews had shed wiping out the former inhabitants of the land. Even when the Jews had fallen away from the promise, God had always restored it. God had always been faithful.

In their recent memory was the War of the Macabees when Judas Macabeus had cast out idolators from the Temple and restored the priestly line of Levi and Altar of Sacrifice. In spite of everything, the Jews knew that God was faithful because while everyone else had been destroyed, the Jews persisted. God’s promise to them was everlasting… 

And then Jesus shows up. Jesus absolutely shatters their notion that the promise would never change - that they would always be the chosen people. He tells them the unthinkable - that God was going to extend the promise to anyone who would accept it! Blasphemy! What’s more, the promise would no longer be automatic with the Jews - it would require something on their part! Blasphemy!

This Jesus guy caused serious waves and so it wasn’t hard to understand by the high priests were upset. If this teaching of Jesus was true, it would undermine them twice over. First, their priesthood was hereditary by blood… Second, their power was limited to a place - the temple. Jesus was wiping out their power and replacing it with His own… Is there any wonder that He caused such a ruckus?

Insights from Second Street

Funeral homes nowadays go out of their way to convince us that our loved ones are just resting, rather than really dead. Now, part of that is about polite society and not being moribund… But it also expresses our real anxiety about death. Almost all of us are afraid of it… Usually the people who are the most publicly unafraid are the ones who are most anxious when the time comes.

On the other hand, movies, television and books which address heaven or hell are major attention-getters. People are excited to hear even the most ridiculous new theory on what heaven may be like. From unreasonable ideas about the fulfillment of Earthly delights (the Muslim teaching) to downright idiocy about heaven as just another world much like this one where everyone is guaranteed a place (the Joel Olsteen approach), everyone is ready and willing to weigh in. Sadly, most Protestant Christians who take their faith seriously fall for the illusion that is "the Rapture." That's little more than a mess of Biblical code-breaking and wishful thinking that God is just itching to smite my enemies. (And on some days, that wouldn't be so bad!)

All this interest in "what comes next" is good. It's human. And sadly, the Church hasn't spoken up very much - neither about heaven nor hell. We do a lot of condemning of errors because there are a lot of errors. Also, people don't become Christians because someone told them "Jesus loves them." Coach Joe Sampite loved them too! That's not enough! People become Christians because they understand that they need a savior and Jesus is it. The beginning of any Christian life is the acknowledgement of personal sin… A healthy picture of how real Hell is and how close we all are to it is no bad thing. But once we've made that courageous admission of sin, a healthy picture of what God promises creates an essential balance. God is good! He is beyond any good that we call good. He is Good - capital G. And every human worthy of the name ought to wonder about what He has for those who love Him…

The Jargon...

The second document that the Second Vatican Council published was “Sacrosanctum Concilium” on the Sacred Liturgy in 1962. In 1965, a transitional Roman Missal which implemented the very few changes called for by the council fathers. Extra readings were to be added to the Holy Mass… Those readings were to be occasionally sung in the vernacular… The Calendar of Saints was to be revised… The use of some of the vestments for Mass with the bishop was to be discontinued… Really that’s all that Vatican II said to change. By 1968, another Missal had been compiled - really rewritten by a committee. Drastic changes had been made to every aspect of the Mass including the very words of consecration! It was unthinkable that the Roman Missal, which had not been substantially altered since before 300 AD would be completely rewritten. But the age of experimentation had begun.

In that same year, 1969, the same people who put together the “new missal” were already trying to reign in the changes they had made. A document on Sacred Music was published, Musicam Sacram. Among other things, the document rejected the idea that any piece of music could be sacred. It said that sacred music had a series of characteristics that could be clearly defined. It also established a program that all Churches were instructed to follow that would allow for more participation of the congregation and prevent excess experimentation in the sanctuary. Even today, most Catholics have never even heard of this program. By 1989, Pope John Paul had tried dozens of ways to correct the rampant liturgical abuse in the Church. In that year, he published “Domus Ecclesiae” which redefined the ancient institution of the Minor Basilica. He called for these basilicae to be places of overwhelming liturgical excellence, especially in their programs of Sacred Music.

To that end, you’ll notice that we’re doing some new singing on Sundays. Not too much - just enough to help us all join in the Sacred Music. The chanting will help us “solemnize” the Mass more deeply and stand by the letter and the spirit of our reason for existence. Bl. Pope John Paul, pray for us!

Parish Announcements

  • First Friday and First Saturday This First Friday & Saturday are kept in honor of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Adoration on first Friday begins after morning Mass and continues until Benediction at 5:15. Signup at the back if you can watch with the Lord for an hour. First Saturday Mass and Benediction are at the usual time, 8a. 
  • First Parish Supper Next Wednesday Our First Parish Supper of the Year will be at St. Mary’s on Wednesday the 4th at 5pm. We’ll have food for free in the Cafeteria, donations welcome. At 6:15, the kids will go to CCD and Fr. Ryan will give a talk in the Chapel for all who are interested. Invite your non-Catholic friends to attend!

  • Workshop for Catechists Sept 21 in Alexandria The Diocese is offering a workshop in Basic Teaching Skills for all catechists on Saturday, Sept. 21st from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. at The Chancery. The cost is $10, including lunch. Registration is required by September 16th. Please call (318)445-6424 x251.

  • Interested in Becoming a Catholic? Anyone interested in the Catholic Faith is encouraged to come and speak with Fr. Ryan. There is absolutely no obligation and no cost. Both private and group-based instruction is available. Call the office for more information.
  • Women's Resource Center Celebration of Life Gala is Sept 26 Our only Crisis Pregnancy Center in the area will host its annual Celebration of Life Fundraising Gala on Thursday, Sept. 26 at the Events Center. Actor/ director Stephen Baldwin will be the guest speaker. The program starts at 6:30 p.m. Baldwin has made a name for himself as a celebrity without compromising his values and committed Christian faith. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased by calling (318)357-8888.
  • Upcoming Second Collections  9/8: Restoration Fund. 9/15: St. Mary’s Scholarship Fund. 10/6: Restoration Fund. 10/13: St. Mary’s Scholarship Fund. 10/20: World Mission Sunday. 11/3: Restoration Fund. 11/10: St. Mary’s Scholarship Fund. 12/1: Bereavement Ministry. 12/8: St. Mary’s Scholarship Fund. 12/15: Retirement Fund for Religious. 12/22: Restoration Fund. 12/24: Church Vocations. 

Parish Events

  • Wed, 8/28, 6:15p, CCD Registration
  • Thu, 8/29, SMS Football Jamboree

Within the Sanctuary

Sat, 8/24, 4p Mike Bouchie, (Lector)•Carl Henry, Red & Jo Lapeyrouse, Nita Maggio, (EMHC) • D.Bennett, J.Friedel, (Altar Boys)

Sun, 8/25, 9a Stephen Taylor, (Lector) • John Cunningham, Buddy Giering, Aimee Wright, (EMHC) • S. & T.Lirette, (Altar Boys)

Sun, 8/25, 11a John Laborde, (Lector) • Chris & Jennifer Maggio, Lucile Ingram, (EMHC) • S.Maggio, E.Norwood, M.Leone, (Altar Boys)

Sat, 8/31, 4p Levi Thompson, (Lector) • Mary Hicks, Jimmy Gunter, Mickey Hennigan, Eve James, (EMHC) • J. & D.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)

Sun, 9/1, 9a Roger Cunningham, (Lector) • Cissy Picou, Betty Durham, Emelda Odom, (EMHC)• Reagan & Ryan Cunningham, BB Behrendsen, (Altar Boys)

Sun, 9/1, 11a Kathy Bundrick, (Lector) • Linda Lee, Sam & Lillie Misuraca, (EMHC) • W.Lee, S.Maggio, I. Lovemore, (Altar Boys)

Memorials & Prayer Intentions

The Sanctuary Candles this week are offered in Memory of Clay Hennigan by Margaret Kilcoyne.

The Sanctuary Flowers this week are offered in Memory of Rusty Bostick by Kathy Bostick

Holy Masses

  • Sa 4p Clay Hennigan
  • Su 9a Pro Populo
  • Su 11a Richard Ragland & Sue Morgan
  • Mo 6:30a Fannie Cariere
  • Tu 6:30a Louis Sklar, Sr.
  • We 6:30a Clay Hennigan
  • Th 6:30a Helen Bostick
  • Fr 6:30a Russell Cook
  • Sa 8a Charlie & Cindy Humphries

Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for this Month are that parents and teachers may help the new generation to grow in upright conscience and life. And that, the local Church in Africa, faithfully proclaiming the Gospel, may promote peace and justice.

Please pray for our Recently Deceased: Wayne Banes

Please pray for our Sick & Suffering: Mai Levy Abington, Lolette Allen, Lauren Bienvenu, Mark Birch, Bill Boone, Tripp Bostick, Dewitt Booty, Chad Bouchie, Flo Brouillette, Bailey Byrd, Carolyn Carter, Emilia Cofio, Johnny Cox, Kim Cunningham, Lela Mae Dalme, Joe Davis, John DeFee, Marguerite Felchle, Alma Fernandez, Lucy Flores, Reba Friday, Tom Foshee, Anne Giering, Lillian Giering, Joyce Hayne, Deborah G. Hernandaz, Deanna Hickman, Pam Kerry, Mary Keyser, Martha LaCaze, Daniel Laroux, Jaden Eli Lodridge, Joseph Longo, Johnnie Mallory, Lisa Mack, Faris Michael, Meg Michael, Mary Moss, Barbie Neuhauser, Shane Niette, Jo Norwood, Mary Odom, Judy Risty, Sharon Roach, Makaehan Ross, Shirley Roy, Amanda Rozman, Joseph Ryan, Donna Slaughter, Brent Trichel, Sue Van Hook, Billie Vercher, Jessica Warner, Janine Waters, & Ruthie J. Wallboughly

Parish Finances

Our Sunday Collection last week was $8,102.

Thank you for your generous return to our Lord!

For more information on our finances, click here.