From The Font
“The days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.”
"The days are coming." The Jews fully believed that the coming of the Messiah was an Earthly, political event. They did not believe - even as late as the time of the Maccabees in 60BC - that the Messiah would be a spiritual savior who would transform the world by miracles or the opening of the Gates of Heaven. They expected a warrior who would rule with a rod of iron. They expected Judas Maccabeus to come forth with an army and a brilliant new battle tactic. They expected that this warrior would defeat the Romans and then the Egyptians and then the Persians and then the rest of the world. They expected, then, to live in peace like the Hobbits of JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. They would eat and drink and live and die in relative peace. By Christian standards, they were small thinkers.
Sadly, some Christians have gotten back into this way of thinking. They have adopted what theologians call the "Gospel of Prosperity." "If you send money to my megachurch, God will reward you!" "If you do what God says, He will give you a happy life, a nice car and a good family." "If you behave yourself, then nothing really bad will happen to you." Of course, this is at odds with basically everything in the Gospel. Even the commonly accepted notion that bad things shouldn't happen to good people flows from this whole Worldly-before-Spiritual mindset. That causes us to wander down dark paths that begin with the question “Why did God let this happen?” The question frames God as some moribund puppeteer controlling each aspect of the world for His own purposes and amusements like Zeus or Jupiter in the ancient myths.
As Christians, though, we believe that suffering (I.e. Taking up our Cross to follow after Jesus) is necessary for eternal life and - while painful - actually a good thing. We believe that God promises “abundant life.” That abundance, though, is not merely the fulfillment of our fallen desires and passions. Abundance, after all, is not merely the multiplication of a good thing. (One slice of pie is good, nine is not.) And while this abundance is made present in a limited way in this world - this world cannot contain this “new covenant” of abundance God is offering. Only in Heaven can we experience it in an unlimited way.
In this way, we can enjoy the blessings of this world and we can endure its trials. We do this because we believe in and long for the unlimited abundance that God offers us when this “new covenant” come to full fruition.
Insights From Second Street
This weekend marks a time of great excitement in our community. After a long search, Northwestern State University has a new president. Dr. Henderson will bring all manner of newness to the community. Surely, the newspapers, local blogs and coffee clubs will discuss his credentials, his potential impact and his intended changes far better than I ever could!
Still, times of change are spiritually privileged. Change demands that we die a little death to the comfort with which we naturally surround ourselves over time. Dr. Webb has served our students for decades and so this time of change may be especially challenging. But I say “all the better.” Change, in and of itself, is neither good nor bad. But change taken-advantage-of… That’s powerful stuff. When it causes us to look inside ourselves… When it causes us to ask why we’ve done this that way… When it breaks through the natural defensive barriers… Then change is a great gift.
So much of what Jesus came to do was about crushing long-held conceptions about God, man, religion and their connections one to the other. What’s more, He insisted that we avoid becoming stagnated in our own ways of thinking. Jesus demands constant conversion from us. We are continuously to rise from glory unto glory. Each day is a new adventure for the Christian who looks to find God giving him new opportunities with every person he meets. Every day is a chance to resist a larger temptation, excel in a new virtue, learn about or meditate upon a new facet of God’s self-revelation or discover a new facet of ourselves and our world as a gift from God.
Nowadays, of course, a common misapplication and misunderstanding of this teaching prevails in which the truths of faith are called upon to change with the culture. It’s important to note the difference between the internal call to growth in alignment with the eternal truths of faith and the impossibility of changing the faith itself. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life - He is the same yesterday, today and forever. The way, the Truth and the Life does not change - it is eternal. As such, the Church’s teachings on fundamental matters cannot change. In fact, it’s only with an immovable point of reference that any progress can be made. Imagine arranging with a group to meet wherever so-and-so’s dog happens to be at 3pm on Saturday. How ridiculous! We need a fixed point of reference if change is going to bring progress or growth. And the only truly reliable and fixed point in the universe is Jesus Christ! I hope that this time of change in our community is a blessed one for all of us!
by: Fr. Ryan
Passiontide has begun! After last week’s brief island of Rosy joy, we now approach the heart of the Christian life - the Easter Triduum - in which we memorialize and re-live the suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. This “paschal mystery” is what makes Christianity a religion - the worship of a God - and not merely an invention (like “New Age”) or an ethical system (like Buddhism). We believe that God - the creator of the universe who Himself was not made but merely exists by His own power - chose to enter into His creation in the form of a human being like us. In that form - truly God and truly man - He choose to experience the rending of suffering and death. In that form - truly living God, truly dead man - He rose by His own power as God and returned to be among us for a time in order that we might follow after Him.
To prepare our hearts for this mystery - which really can’t be understood by our small ideas and words - we cover the statues. We redouble our Lenten commitments. We set aside our own brilliant insights and ideas and allow God to give us the understanding that can only come from the Holy Spirit. We do this by personal prayer and by a whole bevy of deeply symbolic moments beginning with veiled statues, continuing through to the procession with palms, the washing of feet, the reposition of the Holy Eucharist, the Good Friday processions, prostrations, and the Veneration of the Cross. All of this culminates in the Easter Vigil where the new fire is lit from the old Oil of Chrism and that flame is carried into the dark Church. There, we hear the story of salvation beginning with Genesis. We sit in darkness as the stories and tales of our spiritual heritage strengthen us. Only then are we ready to take up the Gloria once again, to hear the bells, to sing the Alleluia, and to witness the Sacrifice. Only through the darkness of Good Friday can we come forth from the tomb on Easter Sunday!
WED. NIGHT CATECHISM Our last Wed. Night Adult Catechism & CCD will be Wednesday, 3/25, at 6p. We hope to see you there! (Catechism classes will resume in August.) We’d also like to thank everyone that helped to make this year’s CCD program such a success! May God reward you!
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. 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.
PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR STUDENTS Saturday, 3/28, is St. Mary’s Prom. Please join us in praying for all of the SMS Students that will be attending.
- Sat, 3/21, Statues veiled
- Sun, 3/22, St. Joseph’s Altar, 11a-2p @ Powhatan
- Tue, 3/24, Confession, 5-6p @ MBIC
- Tue, 3/24, SVdP Meeting, 6:30p in Parish Hall
- Wed, 3/25, CCD & Wed. Night Adult Catch., 6p @ St. Mary’s
- Thu, 3/26, KC1357 Social
- Fri, 3/27, Dr. Henderson NSU Investiture Mass, 9a
- Fri, 3/27, Way of the Cross, 5:15p @ MBIC
- Fri, 3/27, KC Fish Fry, 5:30-6:30p @ Parish Hall
- Sat, 3/28, SMS Prom
- Tue, 3/31, MBIC Office Closed
- Tue, 3/31, Chrism Mass, 11a @ Cathedral in Alexandria
- Tue, 3/31, Confession, 5-6p @ MBIC
Within the Sanctuary
Sat 3/21 4p Levi Thompson, (Lector) • David Bouchie, Mickey Hennigan, (EMHC-CI) • J.Friedel, D.Bennett, (Altar Boys)
Sun 3/22 9a John Ackel, (Lector) • John Vandersypen, (EMHC-CI) • Buddy Giering, Stephen Taylor, (EMHC-CH) • BB.Behrendsen, P.Vienne, M.Vienne, (Altar Boys)
Sun 3/22 11a Ed Giering, (Lector) • Haley Johnson, (EMHC-CI) • Sam & Lillie Misuraca, (EMHC-CH) • C.Fisher, M.Leone, J.Burrell, (Altar Boys)
Sat 3/28 4p Kathleen Hicks, (Lector) • Nita Maggio, Jimmy Gunter, (EMHC-CI) • D.Thibodaux, M.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)
Sun 3/29 9a Karen Apponey, (Lector) • Emelda Odom, (EMHC-CI) • James & Alice Barrios, (EMHC-CH) • R.Cunningham, R.Cunningham, A.Behrendsen, (Altar Boys)
Sun 3/29 11a Joe Payne Williams, (Lector) • Tara Whitehead, (EMHC-CI) • Joseph Sklar, Barbara Laborde, (EMHC-CH) • V.Maggio, S.Maggio, S.Maggio, (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: Mike Bouchie & Gary LeBar, Jr.
- Sun 9a: John Bacon, Woody Cox, Corwyn Aldredge, & Joe Bienvenu
- Sun 11a: Pro Populo
- Sun 5p: Mrs. Elmer Abraham & Grant Ingram
- Mon 6:30a: Marva Cunningham
- Mon 8a: Sadie Stroud
- Tue 6:30a: Raymond Arthur
- Wed 6:30a: Martha LaCaze
- Thu 6:30a: Doris & Will Pierson & Elise James
- Fri 6:30a: Mary Jean Thomas
- Sat 8a: John & Ora Lee Young
Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for this Month are that those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person. And that, the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.
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, Peggy Cooper, Kim Cunningham, Lela Mae Dalme, Joe Davis, John DeFee, Richard DeVargas, RJ Ducote, Jayce Estep, 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, Mariano Timotio, Ren Todtenbier, Brent Trichel, Patricia Vazquez, Julien Vienne, Ruthie J. Wallboughly, Leola Walmsley, Jessica Warner, Glen & Mary Williams, Marilyn Williams, & Laura Young