Sunday, August 20, 2017

Aug. 20, 2017: 20th Sunday in Ordinary Tine A

Aug. 20, 2017: 20th Sunday in Ordinary Tine A

Click to hear Audio Homily
About 250 students, faculty, and staff gathered on the evening of August 13 for a prayer vigil at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, the parish church of the University of Virginia, as a response to the aftermath of the violent clash at the white supremacist rally. After the death of one person and injury of many others, students and faculty who attend St. Thomas Aquinas thought that in order to respond to this tragedy, they had to start with a prayer. Fr. Joseph Barranger, the pastor of St. Aquinas stated, “These terrible events show us how far we still are from the kingdom of God. So much work still needs to be done in advancing the kingdom through prayer, personal example and corporate witness in our parish that defends the unborn, the poor, the elderly, the infirm, those on the margins of society and all who are different from us.”

A few days later, the world witnessed yet another tragedy of hate in action as a van plowed through a busy tourist-filled street in Barcelona. The Spanish bishops condemned “every demonstration of terrorism” as “an intrinsically perverse practice, completely incompatible with a just, reasonable, and moral view of life. Terrorism not only gravely infringes on the right to life and liberty, but is also an example of the most terrible form of intolerance and totalitarianism.” We can’t imagine how the lives of the family of the injured and the dead are impacted by this heinous act of violence.

It’s difficult for many to bring up the issues of racism, terrorism or any oppression of people, most likely because we don’t want to get involved or be disliked for an opposing view. However, as Bishop Muench wrote: “ We cannot remain silent in the face of such blatant hatred, which denies the dignity of each human person created in the image and likeness of God, regardless of race, ethnicity, language, religion or way of life.”  I have heard the cry of many who have been discriminated against or mistreated because of their race. Not to diminish the evil or pain of the events in Charlottesville, I personally have felt the pain of racism for being an Asian in America -- and that is very difficult to overcome. We cannot know another person’s pain unless we too have walked in his shoes. When will we recognize that no matter the race, religion or station in life - whether, caucasian, african-american, asian, middle eastern, christian, jew, muslim, buddhist, homeless, employed, unemployed - that we are all brothers and sisters in the eyes of God?

How we wish that God’s words spoken through Prophet Isaiah would be fulfilled now, “Thus says the LORD: Observe what is right, do what is just; for my salvation is about to come, my justice, about to be revealed.” During this week of sorrow, we cry out from the depths of our hearts, what the psalmist wrote, “May God have pity on us and bless us; may he let his face shine upon us. So may your way be known upon earth; among all nations, your salvation.”

What can we do while we see much divisiveness in America and elsewhere? One thing we need do is to ask God to give us the courage to be His presence in the world.  Individually, we do not have to solve the race issue or terrorist issue, but we can begin to turn the tide by starting with intentional acts of kindness toward our family members, friends, neighbor and strangers. Do our acts of kindness have to be extravagant? No! As Mother Teresa said: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”  When we are at a store, we could let someone ahead of us at the checkout line: when in traffic, maneuver through without getting angry and without cursing the fellow who cut us off.  When we are in a hurry to be somewhere, exercise patience with others and smile at strangers.

Our baptismal promises and the privilege of receiving our living Lord in the Eucharist demands that we live out our Christian life with courage. Therefore, we cannot afford to sit idly by and allow the darkness of racism and terrorism to rule the day. Each of us can cooperate with the grace of the Holy Spirit to find ways to allow respect and compassion to overcome hatred. We must remember that only love can overcome hate and fear. As we continue through this liturgy, let us ask Our Lord how we can be instrument of peace and mercy.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Aug. 18, 2017 Friday: St. Jane Frances de Chantal

Aug. 18, 2017 Friday: St. Jane Frances de Chantal

Those with hard hearts 'do not know that the Word became flesh', the pontiff said

God’s compassion can change the rigid hearts of those who condemn others, Pope Francis said.

A person with a hardened “pagan heart does not allow the Spirit to enter” and often relies on his or her own strength and intellect rather than understanding God’s will through humility, the pope said May 2 in his homily during Mass at Domus Sanctae Marthae.

“They do not know that the Word became flesh, that the Word is a witness to obedience,” the pope said. “They do not know that God’s tenderness is able to take out a heart of stone and put in its place a heart of flesh.”

The Pope focused his homily on the day’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, which recalled the martyrdom of St. Stephen, who was stoned to death after denouncing the scribes and elders “as stiff-necked people” that “always oppose the Holy Spirit.”

Unlike the disciples at Emmaus whose hearts were opened after being reproached by Jesus as “foolish,” the elders who stoned Stephen gave into their anger at being corrected. This, the pope said, is the tragedy of those “with closed hearts, hardened hearts.”

“This makes the church suffer very, very much: closed hearts, hearts of stone, hearts that do not want to be open, that do not want to listen, hearts that only know the language of condemnation,” the pope said.

“They know how to condemn, but they do not know how to say, ‘Explain this to me. Why do you say this? Why that? Can you explain it to me?’ No, they are closed. They know everything. They have no need for an explanation,” he said.

Those who stoned the church’s first martyr had “no space in their hearts for the Holy Spirit,” who allows Christians to look on others with the same tenderness God has “toward us, toward our sins, our weaknesses,” Pope Francis said.

“Let us enter into this dialogue and ask for the grace so that the Lord softens a bit the heart of these rigid ones, those people who are always closed in the law and condemn all those who are outside of that law,” he said.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Aug. 17, 2017 Thursday: 19th Week in Ordinary Time

Aug. 17, 2017 Thursday: 19th Week in Ordinary Time

No limit to granting forgiveness and pardon

Jesus makes it clear that there is no limit to giving and receiving forgiveness. He drove the lesson home with a parable about two very different kinds of debts. The first man owed an enormous sum of money - millions in our currency. In Jesus' time this amount was greater than the total revenue of a province - more than it would cost to ransom a king! The man who was forgiven such an incredible debt could not, however, bring himself to forgive his neighbor a very small debt which was about one-hundred-thousandth of his own debt.The contrast could not have been greater!

Jesus paid our ransom to set us free from the debt of sin

No offense our neighbor can do to us can compare with our own personal debt to God for offending him! We have been forgiven an enormous debt we could not repay on our own. That is why the Father in heaven sent his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who freely and willing gave up his life for our sake to ransom us from slavery to sin, Satan, and death. Paul the Apostle states, "you were bought with a price" (1 Corinthians 7:23 ) and that price was Jesus' death on the cross. Through the shedding of his blood on the cross, Jesus not only brought forgiveness and pardon for our offenses, but release from our captivity to Satan and bondage to sin.

Set free from futile thinking and sinful living

The Lord Jesus sets us free from a futile mind and way of living in sin and spiritual darkness. "You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers ...with the precious blood of Christ" (1 Peter 1:18). Christ "gave himself to redeem us from all iniquity" (Titus 2:14). Iniquity describes the futile ways of wrong thinking, sinful attitudes and wrong behavior, and disregarding or treating God's commandments lightly. We have been forgiven an enormous debt which we could never possibly repay. We owe God a debt of gratitude for the mercy and grace he has given us in his Son, Jesus Christ.

- by Don Schwager,

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Aug. 16, 2017, Wednesday: 19th Week in Ordinary Time

Aug. 16, 2017, Wednesday: 19th Week in Ordinary Time

Set no obstacle in seeking to heal your brother's wound

When you are offended, are you willing to put aside your own grievance and injury in order to help your brother's wound? The Lord Jesus wants to set us free from resentment, ill-will, and an unwillingness to forgive. The love of Christ both purifies and sets us free to do good to all - even those who cause us grief. The call to accountability for what we have done and have failed to do is inevitable and we can't escape it, both in this life and at the day of judgment when the Lord Jesus will return. But while we have the opportunity today, we must not give up on praying for those who cause us offense. With God's help we must seek to make every effort to win them with the grace and power of God's healing love and wisdom. Do you tolerate broken relationships or do you seek to repair them as God gives you the opportunity to mend and restore what is broken?

"Lord Jesus, make me an instrument of your healing love and peace. Give me wisdom and courage to bring your healing love and saving truth to those in need of healing and restoration."

-Don Schwager,

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Aug. 15, 2017: Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary

Aug. 15, 2017: Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary
By St. Josemaria Escriva

“Mary has been taken up to heaven by God in body and soul, and the angels rejoice.” (Antiphon, vespers, feast of the Assumption). Joy overtakes both angels and men. Why is it that we feel today this intimate delight, with our heart brimming over, with our soul full of peace? Because we are celebrating the glorification of our mother, and it is only natural that we her children rejoice in a special way upon seeing how the most Blessed Trinity honors her.

It was on Calvary that Christ, her most blessed Son and our brother, gave her to us as our mother, when he said to St John: “Behold your mother” (John 19:27). And we received her, along with the beloved disciple, in that moment of supreme grief. The blessed Virgin embraced us in her suffering, as the ancient prophecy was fulfilled: “And a sword shall pierce your own soul” (Luke 2:35). We are all her children, she is the Mother of all mankind. And now, the whole human race commemorates her ineffable assumption. Mary is welcomed to heaven: Daughter of God the Father, Mother of God the Son, and Spouse of God the Holy Spirit.

But don’t forget: if God exalted his Mother, it is equally true that he did not spare her pain, exhaustion in her work or trials of her faith. A village woman one day broke into praise for Jesus exclaiming: “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nourished you.” Jesus said in reply: “Rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.” It was a compliment to his Mother on her fiat, her “be it done.” She lived it sincerely, unstintingly, fulfilling its every consequence, but never amid fanfare, rather in the hidden and silent sacrifice of each day. ...

Mary is as much a creature as we are, with a heart like ours, made for joy and mirth as well as suffering and tears. Before Gabriel communicates to her God’s plan, our Lady does not know she has been chosen from all eternity to be the Mother of the Messiah. She sees herself a humble creature. That is why she can acknowledge, with full humility, that “he who is mighty has done great things” in her.
- St. Josemaria Escriva

Monday, August 14, 2017

Aug. 14, 2017: St. Maximilian Kolbe

Aug. 14, 2017: St. Maximilian Kolbe

No one in the world can change Truth. What we can do and and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is the inner conflict. Beyond armies of occupation and the hetacombs of extermination camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depth of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?
A single act of love makes the soul return to life.

-St. Maximilian Kolbe

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Feast of Assumption 2017 Mass Schedule in our area

Feast of Assumption 2017 Mass Schedule in our area

White Castle / Bayou Goula
Mon 8/14 6PM – Our Lady of Prompt Succor, White Castle
Tue   8/15 9AM – Madonna Chapel, Bayou Goula (Fr Vu)

Tue 8/15 7AM – St. Francis of Assisi
8:20AM – Ascension Catholic School Gym
12PM – St. Catherine of Sienna
6PM – St. Catherine of Sienna
6PM - St. Francis of Assisi

Belle Rose / Plattenville / Napoleonville / Labadieville
Mon 8/14 6PM – St. Jules, Belle Rose
Tue 8/15 7:40AM – St. Elizabeth, School Mass
12:10PM – St. Anne, Napoleonville
6:30PM – Assumption Church, Plattenville