From The Font
"He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him."
The wilderness for the Jews was a very specific and frightening place. In our temperate climate, surrounded by modern conveniences, we don't really have a fear of being alone "out there"… We can hop in the car and get what we need. In the desert 2000 years ago, though, being alone means dying within a few days. Without a community, there's no protection, no direction, no herds, no maps, no nothing.
When Jesus walks into the wild, He is going to the place where the boogey man lives. He is entering into death and if He comes back out, it's only because another community - in this case, the angels - have helped Him. So much of the Jewish culture and spiritual life is based upon fear. The power of God is always emphasized because power is the only way to overcome their fears. And those fears were quite real. Anyone who lives in the wilderness, even with modern conveniences, still knows that humans are far from invincible. From spiders to snakes to mosquitoes to bears to wild hogs, there's plenty of wild beasts here in Louisiana that can take a life. We can imagine how much that would be amplified living without water, medicine, first aid, water purification and the like in the ancient world. So when God promises to protect the people, His power is their hope.
Jesus' promise is an entirely new kind of power. Jesus introduces us to the reality of eternal life and His promise is to protect us not from the problems of this life, but to direct us to eternal life. That kind of power is entirely unheard-of. The ancients - Jews and Greeks - all had a sense of an afterlife or a world of shadows. But no god had complete power over the afterlife. A few characters in myths and stories were able to fool the higher ups in the afterlife, but no one was in control. Jesus' promise was to be the Lord of the living world - even the wilderness - and of the world of shadows. That kind of power was almost laughable. That's why God backed up His promises with signs and wonders. Jesus' trip into the desert was a foreshadowing of the trip He would make into Hell three years later after his death on the Cross. Jesus started by proving Himself Lord of the wilderness and He ended by proving Himself Lord of the dead. In both cases, He wasn't claiming power but revealing power He already has. As we face challenges, we must remember always to keep our eyes focused on Jesus who is Lord of all things living and dead - civilized and wild - visible and invisible.
Insights From Second Street
The long season of Lent is actually a favorite among Catholics. There's a kind of boot camp feel to it. Prayer with a purpose, fasting by requirement and works of mercy feel good this time of year - sort of like that first day after a new workout routine when your legs hurt a little, but there's no real pain just yet. It's not by accident that Lent is designed to be this way. The combination of positive (works of mercy) and negative (fasting) combined with a purpose (prayer) tends to be a welcome relief from the all too common vagueness of faith nowadays. For some of that, I want to take my part of the blame. As a philosophy-oriented thinker, I tend to revel in pie in the sky complexities and subtleties of theology, rather than bringing forth the clear and direct practical application that most Christians so appreciate.
Lent is not a time for important but romantic phrases like "love one another" or "be a servant." It's a time for rock-solid clarity. Fast on this day. What's fasting? Only one meal… no meat. If you need additional food for strength or health - you can have two snacks, but they should be small enough that they don't constitute another meal and also be meat free. Fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Abstain from meat every Friday. What does that mean? It means no meat, no meat broth and no meat anything else… Also, it's a good thing not to substitute your no-meat penance with a luxurious entree like Gumbo or crawfish fettuccine. Penance should be penance - it should leave you hungry and wanting something. It's that physical wanting plus a little prayer that turns fasting from dieting into a reminder that our souls are longing for the Lord even if we don't always realize it. That's why we're fasting - to try to realize the deeper and more important things in life.
Lent is a great season because it cuts through the rut that religion can become and reminds us that we are souls and that we are meant for more than just this life. We are destined for more than physical satisfaction… But we can lose that destiny. Just as I can learn to ignore a physical pain - so I can learn to ignore a spiritual longing. Lent is about reconnecting with God and with ourselves by the most practical and down-to-Earth means we have. Let's make this Lent one to remember!
FEBRUARY 23rd IS A BASILICAN FEAST DAY Monday, February 23rd, is the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. A Plenary Indulgence has been extended by the Holy Father for our Church. We will have a simple Mass at 6:30a and a festal Mass at 6p. Both Masses will end with the proper prayers for the Plenary Indulgence. All are welcome!
HEALTH SCREENING, 2/26 Stroke Scan Inc. will be offering health screenings at the MBIC Parish Hall on Thursday, Feb. 26th, from 10a-8p. For $125, they will scan the arteries in the neck, the main artery of the heart, thyroids, liver, kidneys, gallbladder, and the arteries in the legs. Please call 1-866-935-7226 to schedule your appointment.
LENTEN SPIRITUAL EXERCISES Throughout Lent, Father will be in the confessional every Tuesday (beginning Tue, 2/24) from 5p to 6p. Every Friday of Lent (beginning Fri, 2/20), Father will pray the Way of the Cross at 5:15p. Remember that every Friday of Lent is a day of Abstinence from meat and meat products. The Church defines meat as land animals and birds. (If you are in Houma, you may eat Alligator or Nutria by special decree of the Pope.) Everyone from the age of 14 to 60 is obliged to keep this abstinence and to offer up some additional penance for the Lenten season.
NO WED. NIGHT ADULT CATECHISM The Wed. Night Adult Catechism class will be cancelled on 2/25. However, students should still report to their CCD class at 6p as normal. The Adult Catechism class will resume on 3/18. Please help us in spreading the word.
SEDER DINNER There will be a Lenten Passover meal (a Seder Dinner) for the CCD Students and for the entire parish on Wed, March 4th, at 6pm in the St. Mary's Gym. The meal is an adaptation of the traditional Jewish feast in which Jesus established the Holy Eucharist. All are heartily encouraged to attend!
CROSSROADS CATHOLIC CONFERENCE Are you looking for a retreat this Lent? Then come join us at the Crossroads Catholic Conference March 6th-8th, at Maryhill Renewal Center. Our theme is "I Thirst" featuring Chad Judice, Paul Hood, and Kelly Pease Lombardi. Cost is $65/person. The event is sponsored by the Office of Religious Formation and Training. For more info, call 1-866-447-7088 ext. 221, email@example.com, or www.diocesealex.org/crossroadsconference.
- Mon, 2/23, Basilican Feast Day: St. Peter’s Chair, 6:30a & 6p Indulgenced Mass
- Tue, 2/24, Confession, 5-6p @ MBIC
- Tue, 2/24, SVdP Meeting in Hall, 6:30p
- Wed, 2/25, CCD & NO Wed. Night Adult Catechism, 6-7:30p @ St. Mary’s
- Thu, 2/26, Stroke Scan Screening in Hall, 10a
- Thu, 2/26, KC1357 Social, 6p
- Fri, 2/27, Way of the Cross, 5:15p @ MBIC
- Fri, 2/27, KC Fish Fry, 5:30-6:30p @ Parish Hall
- Tue, 3/3, Confession, 5-6p @ MBIC
- Wed, 3/4, Seder Dinner, 6p in SMS Gym (No CCD)
- Fri, 3/6, Way of the Cross, 5:15p @ MBIC
- Fri, 3/6, KC Fish Fry, 5:30-6:30p @ Parish Hall
Within the Sanctuary
Sat 2/21 4p Levi Thompson, (Lector) • David Bouchie, Mickey Hennigan, (EMHC-CI) • J.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)
Sun 2/22 9a Elaine Bacon, (Lector) • Michael King, (EMHC-CI) • Buddy Giering, Stephen Taylor, (EMHC-CH) • R.Cunningham, R.Cunningham, A.Behrendsen, (Altar Boys)
Sun 2/22 11a Kathy Bundrick, (Lector) • Haley Johnson, (EMHC-CI) • Sam & Lillie Misuraca, (EMHC-CH) • C.Fisher, A.Parker, J.Parker, (Altar Boys)
Sat 2/28 4p Kathleen Hicks, (Lector) • Nita Maggio, Jimmy Gunter, (EMHC-CI) • J.Friedel, D.Bennett, (Altar Boys)
Sun 3/1 9a Stephen Taylor, (Lector) • John Vandersypen, (EMHC-CI) • James & Alice Barrios, (EMHC-CH) • J.Miley, G.Fidelak, M.McCart, (Altar Boys)
Sun 3/1 11a Greg Burke, (Lector) • Tara Whitehead, (EMHC-CI) • Joseph Sklar, Cecilia Cook, (EMHC-CH) • M.Leone, J.Burrell, W.Lee, (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: Deceased Members of Rambin & Shepherd Families
Sun 9a: Ted Baranowski
Sun 11a: Richard Ragland & Sister Mary Roland
Sun 5p: Pro Populo
Mon 6:30a: Thomas Emile Scott
Mon 8a: Edwin McClung
Mon 6p: For the Pope
Tue 6:30a: Daniel Chesal
Wed 6:30a: James & Jean Lee
Thu 6:30a: Anne Giering
Fri 6:30a: Martha LaCaze
Sat 8a: Donald Gongre
Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for this Month are that prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild their lives with dignity. And that, married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.
Please pray for our Recently Deceased: Grant Ingram
Please pray for our Sick & Suffering: Lolette Allen, Teresa Arafat, William Lynn Basco, Lauren Bienvenu, Millard Bienvenu, Danny Bostick, Chad Bouchie, Mary-Lou Brasher, Marion Brossette, Flo Brouillette, Bailey Byrd, Sonya Campbell, Carolyn Carter, Marie Charleville, Emilia Cofio, Kim Cunningham, Lela Mae Dalme, Joe Davis, John DeFee, Richard DeVargas, RJ Ducote, Angela Eversall, Tom Foshee, Reba Friday, Paula Gagymad, Kramer Gahagan, Vicki Gahagan, Patsy Gallion, Sophie Gill, Elizabeth Governale, Ross Gwinn, Andy Harrington, Curt Harrington, Joyce Hayne, Deborah G. Hernandez, Frederick Hickman, Sue Van Hook, Kalita Jones, Michael Kearney, EvaGrace Keyser, Gary Kilgore, Jheanny Ladao, Samuel Lane, Jo Lapeyrouse, Raymond Litton, Jaden Eli Lodridge, Patricia Loftin, Joseph Longo, Lisa Mack, Dominic Majorie, Danny Manuel, Jack McCain Jr., Meg Michael, Lacey Mitchum, Mary Moss, Shane Niette, Mary Odom, Sue Prudhomme, Judy Risty, Sharon Roach, Wes Rollo, Makaehan Ross, Shirley Roy, Joseph Ryan, Donna Slaughter, Lil Taylor, Clay Thompson, Ren Todtenbier, Brent Trichel, Patricia Vazquez, Julien Vienne, Ruthie J. Wallboughly, Leola Walmsley, Jessica Warner, Glen & Mary Williams, & Marilyn Williams