Merry Christmas and welcome to St. Edward the Confessor for these Christmas festivities!
Our Gospel for this Sunday says “The Angel Gabriel said, ‘Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.’ But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.”
Surely, lots and lots of people in our world are greatly troubled by these words from the Bible. Some are troubled by how out of date they seem - talk of angels nowadays is generally limited to fat babies. Others are troubled by the exclusive nature of chosenness - why Mary and why the Jews? Some people don’t like the idea that the Christian God has always been more than a little cryptic - if He’s so real, why make people jump through hoops to believe?
Our time seems exceptional - as if people in every other moment of history simply read these words with no questions or concerns at all. In reality, though, no people or race or culture has ever had a hard time sympathizing with the Mother of Jesus in her troubles. From the Old Testament nations which thrived in the 2000s and 1000s BC to the people who spent time with Jesus, Himself, to the late Roman Empire to the Medieval and Renaissance Europeans to those wiley Cajuns of today, the same questions have been asked because Human Nature hasn’t changed even a little bit.
The same generosity that made Joseph (of Technicolor Dreamcoat fame) welcome back his murderous brothers and which made the Apostles so ready to assist the poor was on display at the liberation of the Concentration Camps after WWI and in Japan after the recent Tsunami. The same barbarism that made the Assyrians and the Khans murder millions drove Hitler and Stalin to do the same. The same brilliance that we saw in Einstein and in Steve Jobs, we see in Euclid - the father of Math - and in Plato - the father of Philosophy. Human nature is always the same - no amount of technology or learning can change it. We are no different than our parents or their parents or our ancestors of 500 or 5000 years ago. That reality, perhaps more than any other, joins us to the original Christmas in Bethlehem. The modern delusion that we are somehow more enlightened than our ancestors despite the overwhelming evidence that we see in the horrors of modern warfare, the selling of baby parts by abortionists and the soul crushing capitalism… That delusion that despite these things we are a more enlightened society separates us from that original Christmas in which Joseph and Mary were forced by the government to travel and then turned away at the inn.
When we realize that we are no different from our ancestors, then we are able to approach the Christmas Gospel without the pompous bias of faux-scientific atheism and recognize our innate hunger for the spiritual. We recognize in Mary’s “great trouble” our own fears and anxieties. We even begin to see that her fear comes not from the appearance of the Angel, but from His statement that she is Full of Grace. What can that mean? How can She, a poor peasant, be full of God’s Spirit? She isn’t a prophet. She isn’t a mystic. She’s a young woman engaged to marry a perfectly ordinary carpenter. She’s set to live a perfectly ordinary life.
The fear of God’s existence that we see around us isn’t about doubt. It’s not about science conquering superstition. It’s about the fear that Mary felt that She may be destined for something truly great. Not 1M followers on Instagram great - truly great. Her fear is that her plan and her dream and her ideas were all going to be uprooted by an unexpected encounter with a clearly unusual little boy...
For all of us, Christmas is so full of music and movies and shopping and elves on shelves and noise because we’re trained to fear that encounter. We’re told to follow our dreams and our hearts rather than to follow the instructions and the plan of the one who made those dreams and hearts.
Christmas doesn’t have to be a sprint until the 26th - it can be an encounter. We don’t have to insulate ourselves - we can go the other way. If we seek after truth without bias and without fear, we will find that Christmas happens in the heart. It is the arrival of the Christ child together with His mother and his foster father - an imperfect but Holy Family. The child is surrounded by animals which represent our passions and animal nature. The child rests in a slop trough padded with dead grass. The child comes to us not because we are holy or because we have it all together - the inn didn’t have room for Him. The child comes to us because we are willing… Because we ask. And asking takes guts. It’s takes the risk of being proven a fool. The child comes to our hearts with His parents and our animals and hay and slop troughs because He loves us more than we love ourselves. And He invites friends with Him. First, the simple faith symbolized by the shepherds and then the more sophisticated belief and religious practice symbolized by the Magi. And when our hearts are ready, Christ transforms our hearts from a stable to a home set in Nazareth where He will dwell with us while His presence grows in wisdom and love of God and our neighbor… Merry Christmas!!
Calendar of Events
- Confessions every Wed, Fri & Sat from 5p until Mass at 5:30p and on Sun from 9a until 9:30a 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
- Sunday Morning Catechism in the Hall after the 9:30a Mass unless otherwise indicated
- January 6 - Burning of the Greens -- following 5:30 p. m. Mass -- Church grounds
- January 10 - Wednesday Night Catechism - following 5:30 p Mass
For Your Information:
CHRISTMAS MASS TIMES… as Christmas falls on Monday this year, Catholics are obliged to attend Mass once for the Fourth Sunday of Advent and then a SECOND time the next day for the Feast of the Nativity of Jesus (Christmas).
> Masses for the Fourth Sunday of Advent Sat, Dec 23 5:30p or Sun, Dec 24 9:30a > Masses for the Nativity of Jesus (Christmas) Sun, Dec 24 5:30p, Mon Dec, 25 8a (Latin Mass) or Mon, Dec 25 9:30a
Please remember that we’ll have quite a few guests with us this time of year. It’s a good time to make a confession. It’s also helpful to encourage family members who may not be practicing their faith to go to confession and\or to abstain from approaching Holy Communion if they’re not in a state of grace.
SUNDAY CATECHISM… will NOT meet this SUNDAY nor next week.
VINTAGE COOKBOOKS...in cleaning out some closets in the Church Hall, a box of 1974 St Edward cookbooks was found. If you would like to have one (or some), they are for sale at $5 each and are located on the table at the entrance of church.
2018 CALENDARS … can be found on the table at the entrance of church. Feel free to take one for home and one for your office as we have sufficient.
THE BURNING OF THE GREENS is the traditional celebration in which the season of Christmas ends and the time of Carnivál begins. The celebration has three elements: a bonfire in which the Christmas greenery is burned, the feast including the famous “Queen’s Soup” and the blessing of the first King Cake of the season. Our Burning of the Greens will take place on the feast of Epiphany, Saturday, January 6 after the 5:30p Mass in the parish hall. We’ll have the bonfire in the backyard. Please bring a piece of your Christmas Tree or some part of your live Christmas decoration to throw in the bonfire and feel free to bring a dessert and an adult beverage. (Set ups - cups, ice, etc - will be provided.)
SAINTS ALIVE….ANGELS AT WORK...the Birthday Party for Jesus was a great success last Sunday thanks to the efforts of lots of folks! Your efforts are appreciated!!!
Several families in our community are experiencing a happier than usual Christmas thanks to the very generous faith family at St Edwards who provided for them through our Angel Tree! Thanks to all who helped with this event!!!
Our Return to the Lord
- Weekly Budget FY 2017-18 $1,917
- November Budget $7,668
- November income $8,250
- November Actual Expenses $7,211
- December Budget $9,585
- Collection December 16/17 $2,108
- December Income to Date $6,048
Stewardship In the first reading, God promises King David that his house and his kingdom will endure forever. It is through Mary’s “Yes”--”I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say.” that the promise finds fulfillment.
Special Collection Traditionally at all Christmas Masses, a second collection is taken throughout our diocese for the education and formation of our priests. Through the Church Vocations collections, your generosity and prayers allow the church to continue to provide priests, sisters and brothers to serve our spiritual and physical needs. Please be generous. – Bishop David Talley
Mass Intentions for the Coming Week
- Sat 5:30p In memory of Elvina Roussel/Florence
- Sun 9:30a Pro Populo For the Living & Dead members of our Parish Family
- Sun 5:30p Pro Populo For the Living & Dead members of our Parish Family
- Mon 8:00a Traditional Latin Mass
- Mon 9:30a In memory of John and Marie Johnson/family
- Tue, Wed, Thurs No Mass -- Fr. Ryan in Houston
- Fri 5:30p In memory of Gus Gremshell
- Sat 5:30p In memory of Joseph Testa/Magoun
- Sun 9:30a Pro Populo For the Living & Dead members of our Parish Family
Altar Candles this week are provided by Blanche Wilks
Assistants at Holy Mass
- 12/23 5:30p
- Lector: A Farlow
- EMHCs: L Bullard & B Wilks
- 12/24 9:30a
- Lector: D Ellerbee
- EMHCs: A Keene & Volunteer
- 12/24 5:30p
- Servers: EL & C Marsh
- Lector: C VanderVieren
- EMHCs: P & B Wilks
- 12/25 9:30a
- 12/30 5:30p
- Lector: P Gilfoil
- EMHCs: MA Gilfoil & M Gilfoil
- 12/31 9:30a
- Servers: P & A Collins
- Lector: D Ellerbee
- EMHCs: B Smith & K Collins
Let us Rejoice in the Lord!
Happy Birthday Robbie Kivett (Dec 25), Emmy Lou Marsh (Dec 27), Jen Yabut (Dec 27), Emory Dukes (Dec 30)
In Our Daily Prayers…
Our Holy Father Pope Francis and Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI; our Bishop David Talley and Bishop-Emeritus Ronald Herzog. Our President, our Governor, our Mayor and our national, state and local elected representatives, our family and friends
Our parishioners who are sick, shut-in, or otherwise in need of our prayers: Pat Bullard, Connie Copes, Elizabeth Crothers, Susan Gilfoil, Billy Hodge, Bill Kennedy, Becky and Michael Lancaster, Dale and Louise Magoun, Kathleen Mills, Sue Rome, Juanita Storey, Delia Trichell and Margaret Yerger Our parishioners who are under full-time care: Frances Kennedy, Andrew Lombardo, Sue Scurria. Also, Betsy & Jim Farrell and James Speyerer of Vicksburg, Consuelo Marsh of Lake Providence, and 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, Hattie Brown (Lancaster), Jerry Bullard, Colton Bullock (Farlow), Richard Chappuis (Johnson), Jackie Daniels (Lancaster), Carol Dipert (Rome), Ainslee and Jared Duff, Reba Duncan, Renee Edwards and parents (VanderVieren), Joe Farlow, Matt Farlow, Mike Farlow, Betina Finlayson, Tracy Jones Fortenberry (Donham), Kathy Garley Hanlon (Gilfoil), Cooper Harris (R Wood), Alan Henley (Copes), Rudy Hernandez (Hodge), Bo Holloway, Diane Johnson (Johnson), Ben Lenhart (G Marsh), Megan and Jim Lensing (Gilfoil), LaLa Lopez (Hernandez), Michelle (MS) McGuire (Gilfoil), Paul Meeks, Keith Melancon (Regan), Tucker Melancon (Johnson), Lindsay Mills, Wanda Murphy (Terry), Addison Petracca (S Marsh), Debbie Pettis (Rome), Wayne Pitre (Gilfoil), Bailey Rome, Lee Rome, Tiffney Rome, Dianne W. Roper (Murphy), Linda Sanchez (Wilks), Andy Sevier, Chon Shiers and Deborah Shiers Stewart (Hall), Beverly Sibile (Gilfoil), David Thompson (Wilks), Elaine Trimble (Rome), Teresa Vidrine (Wilks), Conner and Hudson Wood (nephews of Bart)
Our collegiates: Ethan Beene, Courtney Ernst, Norman Ernst, Anna Ginn, Matt Hall, Nick Hall, Chris Hall, Kathleen Oliver, Maddie Oliver, Blake Sullivan, Lori Sullivan, Brice Wood
Those Catholics residing at Christian Acres, Louisiana Transitional Center for Women, and our local Detention Centers and for their families and loved ones.
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.