Charles Shultz, creator of the Peanuts cartoons, once had Lucy observing, “life is like a deck chair.” “Like a what?” asks Charlie. She replies, “Haven’t you ever been on a cruise ship, Charlie? Passengers open the deck chairs so they can sit in the sun. Some, facing the rear of the ship so they can see where they’ve been, and others forward to see where they’re going. On the cruise ship of life, Charlie, which way is your deck chair facing?” Charlie thinks for a moment and replies: “Gee, I’ve never been able to get one unfolded.”
.A great blessing of my life has been to have served at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in France for 3 years. I returned to reside in the U.S. at the beginning of last year – I’m sure Mother Mary wanted to bring me home during COVID!
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“You have made us for Yourself, oh Lord, and our hearts are restless till they rest in You.” These are well-known words of Saint Augustine, from his Confessions. The human heart is restless indeed, often leading us down wrong roads. Remember that old country song, “Looking for Love (in All the Wrong Places)”? Another song from the 90’s, “Constant Craving (has Always Been)”?
February 2021: COVID February. Nevertheless, we approach the anniversary of one of the most extraordinary Divine interventions since the Resurrection. This one, however, happened in dumping grounds on the outskirts of a small town, Lourdes, in the French Pyrenees.
In today’s gospel, Mark draws us in to feel King Herod’s fear when he learns of the miracles being performed by a man named Jesus and hears the crowd saying that this miracle-worker is John the Baptist risen from the dead. Herod was afraid. And he had reason to be afraid.
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.