8/31/2014

Sunday, August 31: Back to Basics, Part 3

MASS READINGS TODAY
•  All the readings together
•  Jeremiah 20:7-9
•  Psalm 63
•  Romans 12:1-2
•  Matthew 16:21-27

FR. MARK'S HOMILY 22ND SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME



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ME
  • Quick welcome to visitors and guests
  • Spent the week with our staff. We have a great staff … we a few new people joining our team … I’m excited about our growth as a parish family, about the quality of our team + new team, about our future. It was a great week.
  • God was exceptionally near to me when we were in Diamondhead on retreat.
  • Then, I came home and I noticed a flatness.
  • Great things happening in the office … great conversations with y’all … great being home … I’m so very happy.
  • However, it’s like the air sailed out the balloon, things were dry the last few days.
  • Struggled to rest in prayer … trying what I know to do, but struggled.
  • Discouraged in prayer led to other discouragements.
WE
  • I think we all share this in common
  • I think we all know what it’s like to want more … to have great hope … to hear and see others thriving … and then to struggle > to not know what to do > to leave disappointed > to not get what we wanted >>> to be discouraged
  • I get discouraged … a lot of get discouraged
  • I want more … I think a lot of us want more 
WHY SHOULD YOU KEEP LISTENING?
  • I think a lot of us are searching in life.
  • I think we all want more from God; however, sometimes it just seems hard and we get discouraged.
  • So what if … what if God could speak directly to you and the discouragement today?
  • What if God could give you hope?
  • What if you and Him were easier?
  • What if prayer were easy? … or easier?
GOD
  • Today's first reading: from Jeremiah 30
  • Jeremiah is discouraged. Listen to his discouragement:
  1. “You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped”
  2. “All the day I am an object of laughter; everyone mocks me.”
  3. “Whenever I speak, I must cry out, violence and outrage is my message; the word of the Lord has brought me derision and reproach all the day.”
  4. “I say to myself, I will not mention him, I will speak in his name no more.”
  5. “I grow weary”
          • Can you hear his discouragement?
          • Ever feel like that?
          TRANSITION TO CORE MESSAGE
          • This Sunday is the 3rd week of this “Back to Basics” series. Perhaps you’ve tried the first two challenges … and things went great.
          • Perhaps you tried … and nothing happened.
          • Maybe feeling great … maybe discouraged.
          • Taking it one step further … prayer can be difficult because I think for a lot of us we want to pray, but don’t know what to do.
          • We learned how to “say our prayers;” however, what we learned as a kid doesn’t suffice for what we face as adults.
          • Reach crisis in life > and you pray
          • Worried … or in love … or care for other > and you pray
          • Get hungry for more … take a shot for growth > and you pray
          CORE MESSAGE
          • The third thing we can do to help our spiritual life is to learn how manage discouragements, and learn how to pray
          • Prayer is different from “saying your prayers” and some of us need to learn how to pray.
          YOU (What is the one thing you can do this week?)
          • We can prepare for Sunday Mass + we can go to daily Mass + we can spend an hour a week in the Adoration chapel.
          • However, you might say: “Fr. Mark, I don’t know what to do.” 
          • I made a handout + plus I’m gonna offer an hour teaching this week at three different times!
          • I believe in you. I believe in God. I believe in His desire.
          • I am convinced that this can be the best year of your spiritual life!
          • This week, make one holy hour. Commit praying at home, or in the Adoration chapel, or somewhere.
          • “But then it is as if fire is burning in my heart … (Jeremiah 20:9) … 
          • But listen to what follows! “But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not prevail. Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord, For he has rescued the life of the poor” 
          WE
          • What if we all did that?
          • What if discouragement weren’t the end?
          • What if you could pray better this year?
          • What would life look if prayer were easier?
          • What would you life look like if this were the best year of your spiritual life?
          • Let’s pray right now …

          Recorded Sunday, August 31, 2014 at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church in Thibodaux, Louisiana. © Fr. Mark Toups, 2014

          Tips on How to Make a Good Holy Hour

          HOW TO MAKE A GOOD HOLY HOUR 
          TIPS FROM FR. MARK

          Ever try to pray only to soon find out you don’t know what to do? Ever visit the Adoration Chapel only to leave frustrated because you didn’t know how to pray? Here are a few suggestions as to how to make a good holy hour.

          Minutes 0-5: Meditate on the following quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “God calls man first. Man may forget his Creator or hide far from his face; he may run after idols or accuse the deity of having abandoned him; yet the living and true God tirelessly calls each person to that mysterious encounter known as prayer. In prayer, the faithful God’s initiative of love always comes first; our own first step is always a response.” (no. 2567)

          Minutes 5-10: Look in your heart, look at your life. What do you want? What do you really want from God? Tell God right now what you need from Him during this time of prayer.

          Minutes 10-15: Find a passage from the Bible. Maybe it’s a Psalm; maybe it’s the readings from daily Mass; maybe it’s the readings at the upcoming Sunday Mass. Simply find a passage from Scripture. Read the passage slowly. Get familiar with the text. Read the passage a second time, this time read it even slower. Very, very slowly read the passage a third time. Pay attention to which word, words, or phrases “tug” at your heart or get your attention.

          Minutes 15-25: Think about your life; think about the reality of your life. What are the word, words, or phrases from the Bible speakng to in your life? How does the Bible passage connect to your life? Think. Look deep within.

          Minutes 25-35: Talk to God. Talk to God as if He were a real person. Talk to God like Moses did: “The Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as one man speaks to another.” (Exodus 33:11)

          Minutes 35-45: Listen. God will speak to you. Maybe God will speak to you through a thought in your head ... or a song in your heart ... or a memory ... or a feeling in your body. Listen with all your senses.

          Minutes 45-50: Return to the Scripture passage again. Read it slowly one more time. Is there any word, words, or phrases that speak to you again?

          Minutes 50-55: What can you do today, this week, to act on what God has revealed to you? Practically speaking, in your real life, what can you do?

          Minutes 55-60: Thank the Lord. Blessings are specific and so should our gratitude. Tell God specifically what you’re thankful for.

          8/24/2014

          Daily Mass in Thibodaux: By Time

          DAILY MASSES IN THIBODAUX  ORGANIZED BY TIME

          6:30 AM > Monday thru Friday, Saint Joseph Co-Cathedral
          7:00 AM > Monday thru Friday, Saint Genevieve
          7:30 AM > Monday thru Saturday, Christ the Redeemer
          8:00 AM > Thursdays only, Saint Thomas
          9:00 AM > Fridays only, Saint Genevieve
          12:05 PM > Monday thru Friday, Christ the Redeemer
          12:15 PM > Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, Saint Thomas
          5:30 PM > Monday thru Friday, Saint Joseph’s Co-Cathedral
          7:00 PM > Tuesdays only, Saint Thomas

          Daily Mass in Thibodaux: By Church

          CHRIST THE REDEEMER CATHOLIC CHURCH
          720 Talbot Avenue
          Mondays: Masses at 7:30 AM & 12:05 PM
          Tuesdays: Masses at 7:30 AM & 12:05 PM
          Wednesdays: Masses at 7:30 AM & 12:05 PM
          Thursdays: Masses at 7:30 AM & 12:05 PM
          Fridays: Masses at 7:30 AM & 12:05 PM
          Saturday: Mass at 7:30 AM

          SAINT GENEVIEVE CATHOLIC CHURCH
          815 Barbier Avenue
          Mondays: Mass at 7:00 AM
          Tuesdays: Mass at 7:00 AM
          Wednesdays: Mass at 7:00 AM
          Thursdays: Mass at 7:00 AM
          Fridays: Masses at 7:00 AM & 9:00 AM (School Mass)

          SAINT JOSEPH CO-CATHEDRAL
          721 Canal Boulevard
          Mondays: Masses at 6:30 AM & 5:30 PM
          Tuesdays: Masses at 6:30 AM & 5:30 PM
          Wednesdays: Masses at 6:30 AM & 5:30 PM
          Thursdays: Masses at 6:30 AM & 5:30 PM
          Fridays: Masses at 6:30 AM & 5:30 PM

          SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS CATHOLIC CHURCH
          Nicholls State University
          Mondays: Mass at 12:15 PM
          Tuesdays: Masses at 12:15 PM & 7:00 PM
          Wednesdays: Mass at 12:15 PM
          Thursdays: Mass at 8:00 AM

          SAINT JOHN THE EVANGELIST CATHOLIC CHURCH
          2085 Saint Mary’s Street
          Tuesdays: Mass at 7:00 AM
          Wednesdays: Mass at 7:00 AM
          Thursdays: Mass at 7:00 AM
          Fridays: Mass at 7:00 AM

          Sunday, August 24: Back to Basics, Part 2

          MASS READINGS TODAY
          •  All the readings together
          •  Isaiah 22:19-23
          •  Psalm 138
          •  Romans 11:33-36
          •  Matthew 16:13-20

          FR. MARK'S HOMILY 21ST SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME

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          ME
          • Quick welcome to visitors and guests
          • After I graduated from Nicholls I moved to Washington DC and worked for a management consulting firm
          • My experience of Nicholls was great … track ... fraternity … youth ministry
          • God was near. I could touch him. It was one of the best “seasons” in my life
          • On the other hand, living in DC was different … hours … stress … transition.
          • I don’t handle transition well, so it took me a long time to adjust
          • God seemed far away. I still prayed … kinda. I still went to Mass. However, the nearness was gone. 
          • Nicholls … DC 
          • Near … far
          WE
          • I think we all share this in common
          • I think we’ve all felt God close … then felt Him far away … near … far … personal … invisible.
          • How many times have you and I “repeated” the same pattern? 
          WHY SHOULD YOU KEEP LISTENING?
          • I think a lot of us are searching in life.
          • I think deep within ever human being is the desire for something bigger than them … to know that something out there can help me 
          • However, we also want to know that God is thinking of me … my life … my questions
          • What if God were there … and what if you could experience more easily?
          GOD
          • Often God seems mysterious, transcendent, completely other:
          • “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor?” (Romans 11:33-34)
          • On the other hand, God seems to want to be known:
          • “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15)
          • “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father” (Matthew 16:17)
          • What we know about God is that He is mysterious – He is mystery – but He is also near; He is in Heaven, but He is also on earth; He is everywhere, but He wants to be immediately close to you.
          TRANSITION TO THE CORE MESSAGE
          • How can we now – here on earth – in the midst of our lives in Thibodaux easily experience both God’s mystery and His nearness? Mass
          • Sunday Mass … and … daily Mass
          TIE INTO THE SERIES
          • Last week we started a journey together, a journey called “Back to Basics”
          • There are seven basic things that you can do to make this year the best year of your spiritual life
          • Last week: No. 1 ... we can prepare for Sunday Mass
          • This week: No. 2 ... we can go to daily Mass
          CORE MESSAGE
          • Going to daily Mass can dramatically impact your spiritual life
          TESTIMONY TO CORE MESSAGE
          • Back to Nicholls … it was daily Mass …
          YOU (What is the one thing you can do this week?)
          • As I offer the invitation … the opportunity … the challenge today, I also want to say I’m proud of you.
          • Last August 2013: 20 people at only one daily Mass
          • This August 2014: 100 people at now two daily Masses
          • If you’re already going to Mass daily ... I’m proud of you … and I challenge you to share your experience of what daily Mass has meant to you
          • If you usually go during Lent … or if you used to go during Lent … if it worked then, it can work again … try it again
          • If you’ve never been to daily Mass ... try it once
          • This week ... I challenge everyone of us to go to 1 daily Mass
          WE
          • What if we all did that?
          • What if you had the best spiritual year ever?
          • What if we all had the best year ever?
          • Let’s pray right now …

          Recorded Sunday, August 24, 2014 at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church in Thibodaux, Louisiana. © Fr. Mark Toups, 2014

          8/17/2014

          Sunday, August 17: Back to Basics, Part 1

          MASS READINGS TODAY
          •  All the readings together
          •  Isaiah 56:1, 6-7
          •  Psalm 67
          •  Romans 11:13-15, 29-32
          •  Matthew 15:21-28

          FR. MARK'S HOMILY 20TH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME


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          ME
          • Quick welcome to visitors and guests
          • I just got back from vacation …
          • 10 of us total … 2 sisters … 5 nieces and nephews.
          • Why I go on dates: if I’m not intentional about spending quality time with them, then life will pass me by and I won’t really know them and they won’t really know me
          • As I was driving home, I realized that the same is true in our relationship with God: if I’m not intentional about spending quality time with God, then life will pass by and I won’t really know God … my relationship will simply be a series of quick, surficial conversations … kinda like with family during the holidays.
          • I want more … I don’t want that with God
          WE
          • I think we all share this in common
          • I think we all know how busy life can be
          • I think we all know what it’s like to have life  pass us by with our relationship with God somewhat like simply be a series of quick, surficial conversations … kinda like with family during the holidays.
          • I want more … I think a lot of us want more
          WHY SHOULD YOU KEEP LISTENING?
          • I think a lot of us are searching in life.
          • As I listen to you I hear many of you share your desire to hear God speak to you. I think a lot of people are searching for in life.
          • Some are searching for peace … or meaning … or direction … some of us know that that’s God … others are just  hungry.
          • But, what if there was more > if it were easier?
          GOD
          • No one wants this more than God.
          • God wants to be intentional about spending time with us. He has stamped his desire in the very story of creation … the very story of the Bible … the very rhythm of life >> Sabbath.
          • Build up Genesis 1 >>> Genesis 2:3: “God blessed the seventh day and made it holy” >>>  in the other days what God made is holy, but on the 7th day the day itself is holy
          • 10 commandments = the first three are about God Himself (no other gods + no idols + don’t take His name in vain >>> the last six are about how to live >>> so the fourth serves as a bridge
          • Exodus 3:18: “Then you and the elders of Israel will go to the king of Egypt and say to him: The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has come to meet us. So now, let us go a three days’ journey in the wilderness to offer sacrifice to the Lord, our God.”
          • Exodus 14 >>> Exodus 19 = the great theophany
          • At the very beginning of the story of God’s own people God spends 22 chapters teaching His people how to live and how to worship
          • Today’s first reading from Isaiah 56:6 “all who keep the sabbath free from profanation”
          INTRODUCE SERIES
          • Today we’ll start a journey together, a journey called “Back to Basics”
          • It’s what people do at this time of year
          • Saints: pre-season football
          • Teachers: starting a new school year
          • There are seven basic things necessary for a healthy spiritual life
          • Seven easy things you can do and this year can be the best year of your spiritual life
          CORE MESSAGE
          • The first thing we can do to help our spiritual life is to prepare for Sunday Mass
          YOU (What is the one thing you can do this week?)
          • We have to choose to choose
          • God has already chosen to spend quality time with you at Mass … we have to choose to spend quality time with Him
          • Because of my father’s love for us as a family, I really long for us all to prepare for Sunday’s Mass
          • The danger of becoming too familiar
          • How to prepare?
          1. Read the readings ahead of time
          2. Be intentional about knowing what you want/need from God as we place gifts on the Altar
          3. Don't leave Mass unless you know one thing you can do during the week
          US
          • What if we all did that?
          • What if we all felt really plugged in at Mass?
          • What kind of marriage would you have if both of you heard God, listened to God more?
          • What kind of family …
          • What if this year were the best year of your spiritual life?
          • Let’s pray right now …
          Recorded Sunday, August 17, 2014 at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church in Thibodaux, Louisiana. © Fr. Mark Toups, 2014

          7/29/2014

          Fr. Mark's August Calendar

          FRIDAY  AUGUST 1

          Fr. Mark in the Diocese, but at the Cathedral Convent in Houma with Bishop Fabre and the seminarians for our annual Seminarians "Back to School" Convocation.

          SATURDAY  AUGUST 2

          Fr. Mark in the Diocese, spends most of the day at the Cathedral Convent in Houma with Bishop Fabre and the seminarians for our annual Seminarians "Back to School" Convocation.

          •   Fr. Mark will hear confessions at 3:00 PM at Christ the Redeemer
          •   Fr. Mark will celebrate the 4:00 PM Vigil Mass at Christ the Redeemer

          SUNDAY  AUGUST 3

          •   Fr. Mark will celebrate the 7:30, 9:30, and 11:00 AM Masses

          Fr. Mark will spend the remainder of the day at the Cathedral Convent in Houma with Bishop Fabre and the seminarians for our annual Seminarians "Back to School" Convocation.

          MONDAY  AUGUST 4
          •   Fr. Mark out all day

          TUESDAY  AUGUST 5
          •   Fr. Mark "back home" ... in the office

          WEDNESDAY  AUGUST 6
          •   Fr. Mark "back home" ... in the office

          THURSDAY  AUGUST 7
          •   Fr. Mark "back home" ... in the office, in the morning

          FRIDAY  AUGUST 8
          •   Fr. Mark "back home" ... in the office, in the afternoon

          SATURDAY  AUGUST 9
          •   Fr. Mark "back home" ... in the office
          •   Fr. Mark will hear confessions at 3:00 PM
          •   Fr. Mark will celebrate the 4:00 PM Vigil Mass

          SUNDAY  AUGUST 10
          •   Fr. Mark will celebrate the 7:30, 9:30, and 11:00 AM Masses

          MONDAY, AUGUST 11 THRU FRIDAY, AUGUST 15
          •   Fr. Mark on vacation with his family

          SATURDAY  AUGUST 16
          •   Fr. Mark will hear confessions at 3:00 PM
          •   Fr. Mark will celebrate the 4:00 PM Vigil Mass

          SUNDAY  AUGUST 17
          •   Fr. Mark will celebrate the 7:30, 9:30, and 11:00 AM Masses

          MONDAY  AUGUST 18
          •   Fr. Mark out all day

          TUESDAY  AUGUST 19
          •   Fr. Mark out all day

          WEDNESDAY  AUGUST 20
          •   Fr. Mark "back home" ... in the office

          THURSDAY  AUGUST 21
          •   Fr. Mark "back home" ... in the office

          FRIDAY  AUGUST 22
          •   Fr. Mark "back home" ... in the office

          SATURDAY  AUGUST 23
          •   Fr. Mark will hear confessions at 3:00 PM
          •   Fr. Mark will celebrate the 4:00 PM Vigil Mass

          SUNDAY  AUGUST 24
          •   Fr. Mark will celebrate the 7:30, 9:30, and 11:00 AM Masses

          7/15/2014

          Tuesday, July 15: Present to Today

          MASS READINGS  TODAY
          Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

          IF YOU WERE HERE THIS SUMMER  FR. MARK'S HOMILY


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          © Fr. Mark Toups, 2014

          Click here to see the entire summer series

          SUMMER 2014  DAY 51 AT IPF

          Who is at IPF today:
          •   168 seminarians in the 10-week Summer Program of Spiritual Formation
          •   18 priests and seminarians in the 30-day retreat

          What are they doing today?

          Today the seminarians continue their course on the Liturgy. The course essentially is a capstone review of the summer as a whole with an emphasis on synthesis and appropriation. During today's lecture the men will begin to assess the spiritual exercises they need to transition successfully into a new semester in the seminary.

          Today is day 18 of the 30-day retreat for the nine priests and nine seminarians here for the Spiritual Exercises.

          Click here to learn more about the Institute for Priestly Formation

          7/07/2014

          Monday, July 7: Anew

          MASS READINGS  TODAY
          Monday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

          •  Hosea 2:16, 17-18, 21-22
          •  Psalm 145
          •  Matthew 9:18-26

          IF YOU WERE HERE THIS SUMMER  FR. MARK'S HOMILY


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          © Fr. Mark Toups, 2014

          Click here to see the entire summer series

          SUMMER 2014  DAY 43 AT IPF

          Who is at IPF today:
          •   168 seminarians in the 10-week Summer Program of Spiritual Formation
          •   18 priests and seminarians in the 30-day retreat

          What are they doing today?

          Today the seminarians begin a new course on the Liturgy. The course essentially is a capstone review of the summer as a whole with an emphasis on synthesis and appropriation. During today's introduction, the men will review all that they have been taught thus far this summer.

          Today is day 10 of the 30-day retreat for the nine priests and nine seminarians here for the Spiritual Exercises.

          Click here to learn more about the Institute for Priestly Formation