Sunday, October 22, 2017

Oct. 22, 2017: 29th Sunday A

Oct. 22, 2017: 29th Sunday A

When was the last time you used your U.S. passport? Whether you’re on a cruise ship to Caribbeans, driving down to Mexico, or flying to Europe, a U.S. passport certifies that you are a citizens of this country, entitling you to travel under its protection. Do we appreciate our special privilege of being citizens of this country, and do we exercise our responsibilities for receiving these privileges? When we were born in this country, we became citizens of this earthly nation. But in actuality, we have dual citizenship. With baptism, we became citizens of Heaven as St. Paul told the Ephesian Christian community, “You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God.” (Ephesians 2:19) How are we to exercise our dual citizenship? 

Jesus’ response to the religious leaders in today’s Gospel will serve as our guide in answering our question. The religious leaders tried to trap and discredit Jesus by forcing him to admit that he was either an insurrectionist revolutionary against Roman government or a collaborator with the hated Romans. When presented the question as to whether to pay taxes to Caesar, Jesus replied,  “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God." Jesus’ answer eluded the narrow human categories set up by the religious leaders and invited them to define themselves by who they truly were--sons of God the Most High. Jesus’ prayer to his Father later in the Garden of Gethsemane revealed this truth, “Father, they do not belong to the world anymore than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one...Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:14-17) We are not defined by our pursuit of earning coins by the sweat of our brow, but by the fact that we are made in the image and likeness of God, who is the King of kings and Lord of lords. 

Someone beautifully and succinctly summarized our responsibilities of being dual citizens of earth and heaven, “We, the ordinary people of the streets, believe with all our might that this street, this world, where God has placed us, is our place of holiness.” (MADELEINE DELBRÊL) Christ commands us to live out our earthly life with justice, responsibility, and collaboration. There are occasions when government calls us to overlook what is due to God and to force us to forget that we are children of God. When human laws carelessly push aside the sacredness of life as the gift from God, then we Christians should infuse the politics and marketplaces with the divine light and wisdom of God’s truth. As for fulfilling their responsibilities of being citizens of their earthly nation, Christians are to obey all just human laws, pay legally assessed taxes, and take an active and informed part in the political processes by voting. Meanwhile, we owe God our adoration, love, obedience, repentance, and gratitude. We are to support His Church by participating at sacred worship, offering financial support, and sharing our gifts and talents with our faith community. Heavenly Father called us out of our mother’s womb to proclaim God’s word through our lives,  to raise our children in God’s truth, and to teach them to reverence Him. When we reflect upon these responsibilities due to God, are we actually living what we claim to believe? Are we living in this world while not being of this world?

Friday, October 20, 2017

Oct. 20, 2017: St. Paul of the Cross

Oct. 20, 2017: St. Paul of the Cross

 "I say to you who are My friends: Do not be afraid." —Luke 12:4  

"You did not receive a spirit of slavery leading you back into fear, but a spirit of adoption" (Rm 8:15). Satan, however, tries to make us lifelong slaves through the fear of death (Heb 2:15). In this battle against fear, we can claim Jesus' victory by accepting the grace to:

- fear the Lord. "He who fears the Lord is never alarmed, never afraid; for the Lord is his Hope" (Sir 34:14),
- fear going to hell (Lk 12:5),
- have faith in Jesus, Who said to Jairus after his daughter had died: "Do not fear; only believe" (Mk 5:36, our transl), and
- love everyone, even enemies, for "complete love casts out all fear" (1 Jn 4:18)

Jesus commands us: "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body and can do no more" (Lk 12:4). He adds: "Fear nothing" (Lk 12:7). In the Scriptures, God commands us 365 times: "Do not fear." Because the Lord always graces us to obey His commands, we constantly have the grace to be free from the fear of man. Jesus says: "Do not live in fear, little flock. It has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom" (Lk 12:32). In Christ, you are fearless.

Father, send me the Spirit of courage (see 2 Tm 1:7) to face the fears in my life.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Help Finish Ascension Church Fundraiser on Sat. October 28, 2017, 5PM - 9PM

Help Finish Ascension Church Fundraiser
Sat. October 28, 2017, 5PM - 9PM
in the Ascension Catholic High School gym

Great Food, Drinks and Auction
$50.00 a person - All you can eat and drink
Tickets can be purchased at the Church Office
All Sponsors get complimentary tickets

Gold sponsor: $5,000 receives 6 tickets to fundraiser Silver Sponsor: $2,000 receives 2 tickets to fundraiser

Tickets: Call 225-473-3176 (

Appetizers: Fried Jumbo Shrimp, Garlic Shrimp, Fried Fish, Buffalo Wings, Boiled Shrimp, Soft Shell Crabs

Main Course: Sensation Salad, Grilled Cat ish with Toppings, Roast Beef au jus (Bernardo’s), Shrimp Fettuccini (Café Lafourche), Seafood Gumbo (Kenny Frederick)

Dessert: Bread Budding

Beloved: A Parish Retreat, Sat. Nov. 11, 2017, 9AM at Ascension Catholic Church

BELOVED: A Parish Retreat at Ascension Catholic Church
with Marianne Gulino, Staci Gulino & Rachael Johnson
Saturday Nov. 11, 2017  9AM

Join us for a beautiful day of prayer and reflection as we open our heart to draw closer to Jesus, Our Beloved

Staci Gulino
(Speaker) - Podcaster & host of the Faith & Good Counsel Radio Show
Rachael Johnson (Speaker) - Testimony by a wife, mother and LSU graduate

Pre-registration required by November 3rd

$15.00 per person non-refundable but transferable to
Ascension of Our Lord Catholic Church,
716 Mississippi St., Donaldsonville, LA.

Lunch will be served

If you have any questions, please email

Oct. 18, 2017: St. Luke

Oct. 18, 2017 Wednesday: St. Luke

Today we celebrate the memory of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke, who was sanctified by his labours for Christ’s sake and attained everlasting glory as the author of the third Gospel as well as the history of the Acts of the Apostles. 

St Luke was not Jewish by birth, but may have converted to Judaism before later coming to Christ. He was a native of Antioch, which according to the Synaxarion, was ‘renowned [at that time] for the flourishing state of the arts and sciences . . . [There] Luke had developed his intellect with various scholarly studies. . . . He indubitably received an excellent education in general, for the quality of the Greek language of his writings is far more pure and correct than that of the other NT writers.’[1] 

According to Bl Theophylact, St Luke ‘had a great knowledge of natural philosophy’, meaning the science of his day, ‘but . . . was also much practiced in Hebrew learning’. In Colossians 4:14, St Paul calls him ‘the beloved physician’, so we know that he was a doctor. He was a great writer who ‘knows and uses conventions’ of Greek and Roman history and novels, [2] but the prologue of his Gospel ‘rings with the poetry of prophets and psalms’. [3] Thus, he was a first-rate theologian and historian, but according to Church tradition St Luke was also a skilled artist who painted some of the first Christian iconography. He was a Renaissance man. 

Some believe St Luke was also one of the two disciples who met the Lord on the road to Emmaus, but he is certainly identified as one of the Seventy Apostles sent out by Christ. It is for this reason that the passage from his Gospel in which Christ exhorts the Seventy forms the second lesson today. After his conversion to Christ, St Luke travelled with St Paul to Greece to preach the Gospel, and there he worked diligently to establish the Church at Philippi. Next he went to Corinth to collect alms for the Palestinian Christians, who were undergoing persecution (II Cor 8:18-19). Upon his return to Palestine, St Paul was imprisoned for Christ, but, the holy Evangelist Luke remained by his teacher’s side. Indeed, he accompanied the great Apostle on the difficult voyage to Rome for his trial. 

It was during St Paul’s imprisonment in Rome that St Luke, at urging of the Holy Spirit and St Paul himself, wrote his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. Thus, according to Eusebius (in Ecclesiastical History 3.4.6), who alludes to St Luke’s profession as a doctor: So he has left us examples of the art of healing souls which he learnt from [St Paul and the other apostles] in two divinely inspired books, the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. The former, he declares, he wrote in accordance with the information he received from those who from the first had been eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, information which, he adds, he had followed in its entirety from the first. The latter he composed not this time from hearsay but from the evidence of his own eyes. [4] 

St Luke’s Gospel includes many of the most beloved stories of the New Testament—the story of Christ’s birth, which we read every year at Nativity, the parable of Prodigal Son, a beautiful story of repentance, the parable of the Good Samaritan, and story of the Road to Emmaus, which as I have mentioned may have told from an eyewitness perspective. The Gospel of St Luke has a special emphasis on the Gentiles becoming part of God’s people. St Ambrose of Milan says of it, ‘But, truly, St Luke kept, as it were, a certain historical order, and revealed to us more miracles of the Lord’s deeds, yet so that the historiry of his Gospel embraced the virtue of all wisdom.’ [5] 

At this point, it seems fitting to consider in some detail today’s Gospel reading, from St Luke 10. This lesson was not only written by St Luke, but presumably tells us something about him as well, thus prompting the decision to use it as the Gospel for his feast. Christ’s instructions to the Seventy, as interpreted by the Holy Fathers, suggest virtues which characterise St Luke himself, and I am sadly conscious as well that they should characterise all who would preach or teach in the Church. 

First, in St Luke 10:4, we read, ‘Carry neither purse, nor scrip.’ St Ambrose of Milan points out that Christ ‘explained clearly elsewhere why no purse is to be carried, for Matthew wrote that the Lord said to the Disciples, “Do not possess gold, or silver” (St Matthew 10:9).’ [6] Thus, we see that the minister of the Gospel is to practice non-acquisitiveness. 

As for the injunction to wear no shoes or sandals, the Fathers observe that since leather is the skin of a dead animal, apart from the literal meaning shoes can be seen as a symbol of mortal cares. According to St Gregory the Great: ‘It is not fitting that he who undertakes the task of preaching should burden himself with worldly affairs, lest, engrossed in such matters, he forget the business of eternal life.’ [7] St Luke was unhampered by the concerns of this world, and so should we be. 

When Christ says ‘salute no man by the way’, Bl Theophylact tells us, ‘He adds this command to them, Salute no man along the way, so that they do not become preoccupied with greetings and civilities, and thus be hindered from preaching.’ [8] St Cyril of Alexandria adds the comment—‘let that which is well pleasing to God be preferred by you to all other things; and so practising an irresistible and unhampered diligence, hold fast to your apostolic cares.’ [9] 

And finally, St Ambrose notes, ‘. . . [W]hen divine commands are given, human obligations are surrendered for a while. . . . Therefore, even honorable acts are prohibited, lest the grace of ceremony deceive and hinder the ministry of the task, delay in which is sinful.’ [10] Thus, St Luke was single-minded in his devotion to God’s work and was not distracted even by natural pleasures.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Oct. 17, 2017 Tuesday: St. Ignatius of Antioch

Oct. 17, 2017 Tuesday: St. Ignatius of Antioch

Is the Lord Jesus welcomed at your table and are you ready to feast at his table? A Pharisee, after hearing Jesus preach, invited him to dinner, no doubt, because he wanted to hear more from this extraordinary man who spoke the word of God as no one else had done before. It was not unusual for a rabbi to give a teaching over dinner. Jesus, however, did something which offended his host. He did not perform the ceremonial washing of hands before beginning the meal. Did Jesus forget or was he deliberately performing a sign to reveal something to his host? Jesus turned the table on his host by chiding him for uncleanness of heart. 

What makes the heart clean and holy?

Which is more important to God - clean hands or a clean mind and heart? Jesus chided the Pharisees for harboring evil thoughts that make us unclean spiritually - such as greed, pride, bitterness, envy, arrogance, and the like. Why does he urge them, and us, to give alms? When we give freely and generously to those in need we express love, compassion, kindness, and mercy. And if the heart is full of love and compassion, then there is no room for envy, greed, bitterness, and the like. Do you allow God's love to transform your heart, mind, and actions toward your neighbor?

"Lord Jesus, fill me with your love and increase my thirst for holiness. Cleanse my heart of every evil thought and desire and help me to act kindly and justly and to speak charitably with my neighbor."

By Don Schwager,

Monday, October 16, 2017

Oct. 16, 2017: Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque

Oct. 16, 2017: Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque

"Look at this Heart which has loved men so much, and yet men do not want to love Me in return. Through you My divine Heart wishes to spread its love everywhere on earth." 
- Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque

The sacred heart of Christ is an inexhaustible fountain and its sole desire is to pour itself out into the hearts of the humble so as to free them and prepare them to lead lives according to his good pleasure. From this divine heart three streams flow endlessly. 

The first is the stream of mercy for sinners; it pours into their hearts sentiments of contrition and repentance. 

The second is the stream of charity which helps all in need and especially aids those seeking perfection in order to find the means of surmounting their difficulties. 

From the third stream flow love and light for the benefit of his friends who have attained perfection; these he wishes to unite to himself so that they may share his knowledge and commandments and, in their individual ways, devote themselves wholly to advancing his glory. 

This divine heart is an abyss filled with all blessings, and into the poor should submerge all their needs. It is an abyss of joy in which all of us can immerse our sorrows. 

It is an abyss of lowliness to counteract our foolishness, an abyss of mercy for the wretched, an abyss of love to meet our every need. 

Are you making no progress in prayer? The you need only offer God the prayers which the Savior has poured out for us in the sacrament of the altar. 

Offer God his fervent love in reparation for your sluggishness. In the course of every activity pray as follows: "My God, I do this or I endure that in the heart of your Son and according to his holy counsels. I offer it to you in reparation for anything blameworthy or imperfect in my actions." 

Continue to do this in every circumstance of life. But above all preserve peace of heart. This is more valuable than any treasure. 

In order to preserve it there is nothing more useful than renouncing your own will and substituting for it the will of the divine heart. In this way his will can carry out for us whatever contributes to his glory, and we will be happy to be his subjects and to trust entirely in him. 

- from a letter by Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque