From The Font
“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”
The Jews began as desert nomads, traveling with tents and grazing animals. Traditionally, nomadic peoples live a meagre, subsistence lives which is almost entirely concerned with collecting enough food for each day. That means that, as a rule, they are very practical peoples. In terms of religion, politics, art and, basically, everything else, nomadic peoples have gravitated toward physical earthy images.
Even though the Jews started to settle down fully 1300 years before Jesus began His teaching, the Jews held fast to their nomadic roots. Jesus’ teachings are almost all practical teachings which connect to tangible, physical realities with which His hearers were familiar.
In Psalm 95, today, we’re given a look at one of the most important distinctions in this very physical, very tangible Jewish understanding: the distinction between that which is seen as living and that which is seen as unliving. It’s not so much a difference between living and dead as it is between things which live and die and things which don’t live at all. For the Jews, that which was living - that which possessed the breath of life (the “Ruah”) - was fundamentally different and more spiritually valuable than that which didn’t. So the Jews would offer sacrifice of grain and animals, for example, but not gold or cash. (The temple tax is a whole separate thing and wasn’t really “religious.”) They considered idols evil, in part, because they masquerade as living things.
When the psalmist warns against letting one’s heart harden, he’s thinking of the image of stone. Ezekiel will use the image of a stony heart to get the same message across. It is, in some way, sacrilegious for that which has the “Ruah” - the breath of life - to devolve into the unliving (as opposed to dead). Jesus will play on the same theme when He warns His listeners that if they don’t pray as they ought, “the very stones themselves will cry out”.
The nomadic sense of practicality and earthiness can be challenging to understand for us modern, settled people. The thing to remember is that the Jews generally preferred the literal to the poetic.
Thoughts from Fr. Ryan
Few words are more misunderstood today in the Church than the word “Mercy.” All too often, people tend to speak and think of mercy as a type of tolerance, rather than a type of pardon.
Let’s think of three courtroom scenarios:
Scenario 1: Sarah is accused of something she didn’t do. She proves she didn’t do it and so she is set free because she is innocent. The judge isn’t showing any mercy here. Sarah isn’t punished because Sarah doesn’t deserve punishment.
Scenario 2: Mike is accused of something he did and he’s found guilty. Throughout his trial Mike has been tearful and has begged the people he hurt for forgiveness. When he was questioned on the witness stand, he admitted his crime and seemed genuinely sorry. The judge would usually give someone who did what Mike did six months in jail, but because of Mike’s behavior, the judge gives Mike one month instead. Here, we have mercy! The judge has the authority, the power and the justification to punish Mike, but the judge shows mercy because Mike is repentant.
Scenario 3: Sandy is accused of something he did in a very public and high profile way. Everyone knows he’s guilty. The judge accepts the case and when Sandy’s lawyer asks the judge to dismiss all charges because the system is unfair and the laws aren’t just, the judge agrees and dismisses all charges. Sandy is free to go. In this case, though, there is no mercy. Sandy is not repentant and the judge isn’t forgiving him. But even though Sandy is free to go, he hasn’t been shown mercy. What Sandy got was injustice that happened to benefit him. He got lucky, not mercy.
Today, many people want to divorce mercy from the sin and evil that make it necessary. They want use mercy as a way to bypass justice and claim that it’s wrong to judge people who act wrongly. They speak of mercy as just another word for tolerance, niceness and - ultimately - disbelief in the authority of Jesus to tell us that which is good for us and that which is bad. What those people tend to forget is that while we seem to have authority on this tiny rock spinning around that tiny sun, Jesus is Lord of the universe! He isn’t likely to be persuaded that we are right and that his teaching is out of date.
It’s because “Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever,” that we have to keep our wits about us in a world that simply doesn’t believe that Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life.” Mercy is what Jesus offers to those who repent of their sins and ask forgiveness.
Without repentance and without asking - there cannot be mercy. It’s not merciful to leave someone rotting in sin. It’s an act of cowardice. That doesn’t mean that we have to rush in fingers wagging and call them a sinner! There’s more than one way to assist someone who’s struggling! Ultimately, though, love demands that we think about mercy rightly. Love of God and love of neighbor demand that we desire that sinners be saved and not destroyed. And salvation begins, Jesus tells us, with the command to “Repent, and turn away from sin.
Calendar of Events
- Confessions every Wed & Fri from 5p until Mass at 5:30p, 30m before weekend Masses
- Youth Mass on the third Sunday of the Month, Coffee & Donuts in the center after Mass
- Pastoral Council meeting monthly on the third Tuesday after the 5:30p Mass
- Altar Society meeting every other month on the second Tuesday after the 5:30p Mass
- Nov 19 Thanksgiving Bake Sale - Parish Hall - 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.
- Nov 20 Community Thanksgiving Service - First United Methodist Church -- 6 p.m.
For Your Information:
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION FOR OUR CHILDREN classes will meet on SUNDAY following Mass (about 10:30 a.m.) in the Church Hall.
THANKSGIVING BAKE SALE On SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19, our Faith Family will have a Bake Sale to benefit our recent repairs to the church. This will be a parish-wide function and we ask that everyone plan to contribute and assist. The event will be held in the Parish Hall from 10 a.m. to 12 noon very similar to our Easter event. Please mark your calendar and begin planning how you can help!
CHRISTMAS FUNDRAISER “Christmas Party on the Bayou” has been selected as the theme for our upcoming Fundraiser to support our recent church renovations. Beth Sullivan and Libby Bullard will be chairing this event and will appreciate your assistance in making this successful. A galvanized container on a metal stand which doubles as a wine rack will be the bases of the party items. If you have or know of any Louisiana/Bayou/Christmas items that could be added to the party container, please give one of the organizers a phone call. Libby will soon be distributing raffle tickets and your help is needed in selling these raffle tickets.
PLEDGE TO HEAL If you or a family member has been abused or victimized by a member of Catholic clergy or a representative of the Catholic church...Please believe in the possibility for hope and help and healing. Dr. Lee Kneipp, Clinical Psychologist, Victim Assistance Coordinator, Diocese of Alexandria encourages those persons to come forward and speak out. Dr. Kneipp is attempting to establish support groups in the central Louisiana area for the victims and family members. The focus of these groups is to further emotional and spiritual healing as an adjunct to therapy, in an atmosphere of others who understand the pain, betrayal, and fear associated with abuse. Dr. Kneipp can be reached at 318-542-9805. All phone calls are confidential.
“PROTECTING GOD’S CHILDREN” those parishioners who have completed this program for adults who work with children are reminded of the need to go on line at www.virtus.org for the latest training bulletins so that we can all stay current in our training mode. If you have had the on-site training and have not done so, you may want to register on-line.
The (bi-fold flyer), “Protecting our Children—Understanding and Preventing Child Sexual Abuse”, which includes Resources and Contact Numbers for reporting abuse, is located on the table at the entrance of church and is available for those who wish to take one.
The VIRTUS (tri-fold) flyer, “Protecting God’s Children – Teaching Touching Safety Quick Reference Guide” is also located on the table and is available for our parishioners.
The Diocesan Policy for the Protection of Minors can be accessed under Downloadable Documents in the Safe Environment section of the diocesan website: www.diocesealex.org.
The diocesan Code of Pastoral Conduct for Priests, Deacons, Pastoral Ministers, Administrators, Staff, and Volunteers can be accessed from the site or a copy may be requested from the Safe Environment Office.
The Voice of the Basket
Weekly Budget FY 2016-17 $1,865
August Budget $7,460
August Income (Reg $8,100; Bldg $611) $8,711
August Actual Expenses $8,861
September Budget $7,460
Collection September 24-25 $1,349
September Income to Date $6,987
Stewardship Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time…When will I have given enough--of my income, of my time, of my talents? Today’s Gospel suggests that only total stewardship will do: “When you have done all you have been commanded to do, say “We are useless servants. We hae done no more than our duty.”
Special Collection Special Collection… This weekend’s second collection is our once-a-month Building Fund collection
Special Collection for Louisiana Flood Victims Several people have indicated that they missed the earlier collection but would still like to contribute. Please feel free to make donations and mark your check as “Flood Collection”.
Mass Intentions for the Coming Week
- Sat 5:30p In memory of Paul VanderVieren/Florence
- Sun 9:30a Pro Populo For the Living & Dead members of our Parish Family
- Mon - Fri NO MASS due to Father Ryan’s Pilgrimage
- Sat 5:30p In memory of
- Sun 9:30a Pro Populo For the Living & Dead members of our Parish Family
Let us Rejoice in the Lord!
Happy Birthday Susie Murphy (Oct 1), Margaret Yerger (Oct 5), Sharyn Marsh (Oct 8)
Happy Anniversary Kelsey and Jon Dukes (Oct 2), Sharyn and William Marsh (Oct 5)
In Our Daily Prayers…
The Holy Father, Pope Francis, and the leaders of our church, including Bishop Ronald Herzog and Bishop David P. Talley; our President, and the leaders of our nation as they and other world leaders seek peace in the world; our Governor and our legislators; success of our religious education program, safe travel for all those on the highways; good weather for our farmers; our friends and family in the Philippines;
Our parishioners who are sick, shut-in, or in other need of our prayers: Pat Bullard, Connie Copes, Elizabeth Crothers, Susan Gilfoil, Josephine Hodge, Bill Kennedy, Becky and Michael Lancaster, Angela Vilardo Lusk, Dale Magoun, Stephenie and Lance Marsh, Kathleen Mills, Sue Rome, Sue Scurria, Delia Trichell,
Our parishioners who are in the nursing home: Billy Hodge, Frances Kennedy, Andrew Lombardo, AND Jim Farrell, and James Speyerer of Vicksburg, Consuelo Marsh, Lake Providence, and our family members and friends, Jean Cantrell, Geneva Russell
Our friends and relatives who need our prayers: Lee Adams (Smith), Ashley Weimer Alexander (Regan), Jenna Faye Allen (Florence), Margaret Baker (Magoun), Marie Farlow Bellard, Tommy Bishop, Ruthie Boudreaux (Storey), Hattie Brown (Lancaster), Jerry Bullard, Colton Bullock (Farlow), Sarah Cannon (Gilfoil), Richard Chappuis (Johnson), Savannah Payne and her parents, Tim and Stephanie, Allison Crotwell (A Ginn), Jackie Daniels (Lancaster), Carol Dipert (Rome), Reba Duncan, Renee Edwards and parents (VanderVieren), George Eisworth family (Dyer), Joe Farlow, Rosemarie Finn (Hodge), Madge and Don Finney (Dyer), Tracy Jones Fortenberry (Donham), Thom Gilfoil, Kathy Garley Hanlon (Gilfoil), Jerry Ann Harmon (Hodge), Cooper Harris (R Wood), Alan Henley (Copes), Monroe Hill (K Dukes), Bo Holloway, Lou Horath (Hernandez), Kenlie Jackson (Dyer), Diane Johnson (Johnson), Jim Johnson(Dyer), Patsy Lancaster, Ben Legendre (Gilfoil), Ben Lenhart (G Marsh), LaLa Lopez (Hernandez), Ann Maxwell (Gilfoil), Will and Michelle (MS) McGuire (Gilfoil), Keith Melancon (Regan), Tucker Melancon (Johnson), Marie Phillips Michelle (Hodge), Lindsay Mills, Ashley Priest Moberly, Loyd Moore (Donham), Debbie Mullin (Dyer), Wanda Murphy (Terry), Savannah Payne and her family, Addison Petracca (S Marsh), Debbie Pettis (Rome), Yvonne Phillips (Hodge), Wayne Pitre (Gilfoil), Dana Rogers (Dyer), Bailey Rome, Lee Rome, Tiffney Rome, Linda Sanchez (Wilks), Betty Sanders (Gilfoil), Andy Sevier, Michael Stamper (Wilks), Lazette Thomason (Dyer), Elaine Trimble (Rome), Elizabeth, Randy and Camille Watts and Betty Kurfiss, Conner and Hudson Wood (nephews of Bart)
Our college students Will Donham, Courtney Ernst, Norman Ernst, Anna Ginn, Emily Ginn, Matt Hall, Josh Hall, Eric Nguyen, Roland Nguyen, Kathleen Oliver, Lori Sullivan
Those Catholics residing at Christian Acres, Louisiana Transitional Center for Women, and Madison Detention Center and the families of all of these.
PLEASE LET US KNOW OF ANYONE WHO IS ILL OR HOSPITALIZED OR WOULD LIKE TO RECEIVE A VISIT.
PLEASE HELP US TO UP-DATE OUR PRAYER LIST BY ADVISING US OF ANYONE WHO SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM THE PRAYER LIST.