If you look at the title of today’s feast day, it might seem unusual. Why should we be celebrating The Chair of St. Peter …? Sure, St. Peter makes sense, but his chair …?
“On February 11, 1858, a beautiful woman appeared to Bernadette Soubirous in a remote stone grotto outside of Lourdes, France. When asked her name, she replied, ‘I am the Immaculate Conception.’"
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When we hear about the man with the unclean spirit, we're told that neither chains nor shackles could hold him, and certainly, no man could restrain him either. At times, we're tempted to think of Jesus as merely a gentle soul. But, in recent gospel readings from Mark, we've seen the authority and power of Jesus defeat evil without trepidation or fear.
The other day I was going through a stack of cards and letters and came across some from our own, Father Jim Phalan. They go back to when he was serving as a Deacon and then Priest in the mountains of Peru. Now, for anyone under the age of 30, it might be hard to believe, but there was a time that we didn't have email or texts, and long-distance calls were pretty expensive – so we wrote letters to keep in touch.
Being a priest is a wonderful experience for many reasons; one is the brotherhood we share along the way. The other day, some of my priest-brothers here at the Father Peyton Center were kidding me about my stories that come from talking to people at places like the gas station or coffee shop, or grocery store, which remind me of different readings that we hear at the Mass.
"If you wish, you can make me clean." Those words contain the essence of how we begin each Confession; we speak the words, "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned."