The "gospel of prosperity" kind of Christianity-lite says that God really just wants us to be happy and that if we are "good people" then everything will be great and we'll probably get into heaven just because… It's not something that Jesus would recognize. Neither is the kind of fire and brimstone hellfire Christianity-overboard that we get from the Westboro Baptist crowd that condemns everyone to hell who doesn't stand by some arbitrary standard of faith. It doesn't seem like it, but both of these false Christianities are basically the same - they rely on the un-holy trinity of me, myself and I. They refuse to let God be God. They reduce God to a kind of figurehead.
The Gospel for this Sunday is a corrective for this mistake. God says that He wants to give us rest and peace and happiness… But He says that we will get those good things only on His terms. Neither our comprehension nor our agreement is required or requested. We can take His yoke upon us or not. But there won't be any negotiation.
If we want the fruit of the Holy Spirit that St. Paul enumerates in the Letter to the Galatians, we must live a "life in The Spirit." If we want eternal life, we will remain tethered to the vine as St. John describes Our Lord. In all the scriptures, Jesus is constantly offering us good things, but always - always! - on His terms. We mustn't fall into the trap that any of us can recreate God in our own image… It's an easy trap to step into…
Almost every heresy in history comes down to a man or a woman claiming authority over the Lord or His Church. Even in the book of Acts, we see character after character insisting on their own way. St. Paul is thrown to the ground and blinded. He is led to the city and must wait for the Lord to restore his sight. God doesn't negotiate.
Now, many of us will be thinking to the stories of Moses negotiating with God in the Book of Exodus (five points to you!). Indeed, Moses does "talk God down" to saving a city if only 10 good people are to be found there… But God doesn't change his standard of good… In fact, just as in our Gospel today, God shows His mercy, but, as the Scriptures say, "He cannot be unfaithful to Himself."
Insights From Second Street
I love lists! God, as the Father of Truth, is reasonable… I mean reasonable in the most literal sense - He is orderly. I don't say that because I want to make God in my own image (see "From the Font"), but because our reason is part of the Image and Likeness of God in which we are each created. Math is true because God is true, not the other way around. The reasonable-ness of God means that we should be able to articulate, with some simplicity what God wants from us… And, in fact, we can.
Simply put, God has given the Church one purpose: the salvation of souls. Simple enough. The Scriptures and the Church explain how to go about saving souls, and so that purpose is expressed in two basic missions: "Go out to all the world and tell the Good News" which we can call the mission to the nations (in Latin, "ad gentes" or "ad extra") and "Confirm one another in Faith" which we can call the mission to those already in the Church (in Latin, "ad intra"). These missions are also fairly well explained in the Scriptures and centuries have allowed the Church to refine them to a keen edge.
The Mission "Ad Gentes" (to the Nations) consists in helping people "to come to the knowledge and love of God." That begins with 1) an acknowledgment of personal sin and 2) the acceptance of God's mercy. It continues with 3) study of how to know, love and serve God and 4) study of what God has revealed. It culminates in 5) the incorporation of these truths into daily life.
The Mission "Ad Intra" (to believers already in the Church) isn't very different. Each of us must constantly be about the work of growing in the knowledge and love of God and so each of us has the duty to pass through these same five steps in a deeper and more profound way throughout our lives… The Second Vatican Council called this duty the "Universal Call to Holiness" and set it as the number one priority of the vocation of the laity. The work of becoming a saint is the work of every follower of Jesus Christ!
As we begin this ordinary time, let's all commit to the reasonable task of growing in the knowledge and love of God!
by: Sem. Justin Ward
This past weekend, Fr. Taylor Reynolds was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Alexandria. How amazing it was to be present for the culmination of Fr. Reynold's journey toward priesthood. It was very moving to see Taylor transition from ordination Saturday morning, to offering his first mass Sunday morning at his home parish in Bunkie.
For all of the seminarians present, it was an extremely powerful and tangible reminder of the eventual grace that we each hope to receive.There might be a few reasons for this. Seminary life is not always easy, and subsequently seminary forges strong and lasting friendships. Every time a brother seminarian leaves, it’s something of a blow to those who remain. However, when a brother seminarian is ordained a priest, it certainly is an even greater joy.
Being present to witness a man being ordained a priest gives tremendous new insight into the mystery of sacramental orders. “A priest is not his own,” goes the old saying. Nor, it can be added, is his priesthood his own. There is only one priest, Jesus Christ the High Priest, who has and will permit us to eventually share in his ministerial priesthood. The future priests of this diocese were acutely aware of this at the ordination, as we watched Archbishop Aymond ordain our brother into the sacred order of priesthood and all contemplated the day that would come for us.
The hope and joy which we experienced is not sectarian or self-satisfied: “Another one made it, affirming my own choice to be a priest.” That doesn’t capture it. The Lord's priesthood is a marvellous gift for the redemption and salvation which Jesus has given men and women. Fr. Reynold's ordination was yet another occasion to be filled with awe and gratitude that the Lord has called us to share in his priesthood.
In any event, the seminarians were certainly not the only ones to share Fr. Reynold's joy this past weekend. The pews of both St. Francis Xavier Cathedral and St. Anthony of Padua Church were full from front to back with a remarkable microcosm: family, friends, clergy, brother seminarians, parishioners, young and old, believers and nonbelievers. All of them were there to support Fr. Reynolds, and in many cases, to pray for him. But ordinations – like all sacramental celebrations – can bring many unexpected graces on such observers. One of those graces is a much needed one: a prompting from the Lord to follow him in a particular vocation. To lay down one’s life for him, and for the world. Be it priestly or religious or another form of life.
As the Archbishop remarked at the end of the Ordination Mass, there were no doubt young men in that vast congregation whom God was calling to the priesthood. Even from the day of his first mass, Fr. Reynold’s has borne much fruit. Thanks be to God.
LAST MEETING FOR OCTOBER 20-29,2014 PILGRIMAGE TO ITALY The Magnificat Travel Group will be in Natchitoches to host our last Pilgrimage Meeting on Tuesday, September 9th. The meeting will be in the Church Hall from 6-7:30pm. All those registered for the trip are asked to attend. For anyone else interested in traveling with us to Italy, the deadline to register is Friday, August 1, 2014. For more information, contact Magnificat Travel Group at (337)291-1933 or email@example.com -Or- contact Ashley Hebert at (318)352-3422 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
MBIC SOUP KITCHEN IN NEED! The Food Pantry for the MBIC Soup Kitchen is in need of items. Anyone interested in donating non-perishable items and/or canned goods can drop these items off at the Parish Office Monday-Thursday between 8a-11a and 1p-4p. There will also be a donation box in the Parish Hall for those interested in dropping off items there. Our food drive will end Sunday, July 6th. For more information, feel free to contact the Office at 318-352-3422.
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL The MBIC will be hosting its annual Vacation Bible School at St. Mary’s School July 14-18, from 8a-Noon. Children between the ages of 4-12 are invited to attend. There is a suggested donation of $5 per child. Virtus trained teenager and adult volunteers are needed. For more information and/or to register as a volunteer or attendee, contact Jennifer Maggio at email@example.com or pick up registration forms at the back of the Church or at the Parish Office.
TAA GUN RAFFLE The St. Mary’s Tiger Athletic Association is sponsoring a year long gun raffle. There are 104 prizes and every ticket has 104 chances to win. Guns range from 9mm handguns to hunting rifles to Shotguns. A complete list of prizes and draw dates can be obtained from St. Mary’s School or from any member of the TAA. Tickets are limited and cost $100 each.
SPECIAL SATURDAY MASSES FOR JUNE & JULY ONLY Continuing until Sat, 7/26, Fr. Ryan will offer an additional Saturday evening Mass at St. Mary’s School at 5:30p. The Mass will count for your weekend obligation. All are welcome.
- Saturdays of June & July, 5:30p Additional Saturday Evening Masses at St. Mary’s Chapel
- Tues - Wed, 7/8-7/16, After Morning Weekday Masses and All Sunday Masses, Novena to Our Lady of Mt Carmel with Investiture into the Brown Scapular after all Weekend Masses
- Mon - Fri, 7/14 - 7/18, Vacation Bible School, 8a-Noon at St. Mary’s
- Sat, 7/26, 9am, Grandparents-Grandkids Brunch in the Parish Hall in Honor of Ss. Joachim & Anne, Grandparents of Jesus
- Sat-Sun, 7/26-7/27, Blessing of Grandparents at all Masses
- Tue, 7/29, Indulgenced Feast Day in Honor of the Founding of the Diocese of Natchitoches, Holy Mass @ 6:30a & 6p
Our Sunday Collection last week was $7,793.
Thank you for your generous return to our Lord!
For more information on our finances, click here.
Within the Sanctuary
Sat 7/5 4p Mike Bouchie, (Lector) • Carl Henry, Jimmy Gunter, (EMHC-CI) • C.J.Bouchie, J.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)
Sun 7/6 9a John Ackel, (Lector) • Buddy Giering, (EMHC-CI) • George & John Henry Ingrish, (Altar Boys)
Sun 7/6 11a Gilen Norwood, (Lector) • Lillie Misuraca, (EMHC-CI) • W.Lee, A.&J.Parker, (Altar Boys)
Sat 7/12 4p Levi Thompson, (Lector) • Mickey Hennigan, David Bouchie, (EMHC-CI) • David & Matthew Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)
Sun 7/13 9a Joe Cunningham, Jr., (Lector) • Cindy Smith, (EMHC-CI) • Patrick & Michael Vienne, Jace Miley, (Altar Boys)
Sun 7/13 11a Ed Giering, (Lector) • Jean Gill, (EMHC-CI) • John Burell, Ian Lovemore, William Mayuex, (Altar Boys)
*Altar Boys who are not scheduled may serve if space permits. Come to the Sacristy 10 minutes before Mass.
Memorials & Prayer Intentions
- Sat 4p: N.L. Vercher & Tena Cullins
- Sat 5:30p: Special Intentions
- Sun 9a: Pro Populo
- Sun 11a: Donna Doll & Shirley Ragland
- Sun 5p: Johnnie Mallory
- Mon 6:30a: Mary Jean Thomas
- Tue 6:30a: Len Dalton
- Wed 6:30a: William Keran
- Thu 6:30a: Calvert Scott
- Fri 6:30a: Pop Hyams
- Sat 8a: Ken Carley
Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for this Month are that sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth. And that, the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.
Please pray for our Recently Deceased: Mrs. Selma Diaz Shivers
Please pray for our Sick & Suffering: Lolette Allen, William Lynn Basco, Lauren Bienvenu, Bill Boone, Kathy Bostick, Tripp Bostick, Chad Bouchie, Mar-Lou Brasher, Marion Brossette, Flo Brouillette, Bailey Byrd, Carolyn Carter, Lauren Clancey, Emilia Cofio, Woody Cox, Kim Cunningham, Lela Mae Dalme, Joe Davis, John DeFee, Richard DeVargas, Angela Eversall, Marguerite Felchle, Tom Foshee, Reba Friday, Paula Gagymad, Vicki Gahagan, Patsy Gallion, Sophie Gill, Christi Gootee, Joyce Hayne, Deborah G. Hernandez, Sue Van Hook, Kalita Jones, EvaGrace Keyser, Mary Keyser, Paul Keyser, Gary Kilgore, Martha LaCaze, Jheanny Ladao, Jaden Eli Lodridge, Patricia Loftin, Joseph Longo, Lisa Mack, Dominic Majorie, Danny Manuel, Dave McGee, Faris Michael, Meg Michael, Lacey Mitchum, Mary Moss, Shane Niette, Mary Odom, Sharon Roach, Wes Rollo, Makaehan Ross, Shirley Roy, Joseph Ryan, Donna Slaughter, Tristan Snyder, Clay Thompson, Ren Todtenbier, Brent Trichel, Rosalind Trussell, Patricia Vazquez, Billie Vercher, Julien Vienne, Ruthie J. Wallboughly, Tyler Ward, Jessica Warner, Janine Waters, & Glen & Mary Williams