Do you ever wonder about superheroes? Why are we so fascinated by them? What is it about super-human abilities that turns our heads? I googled “superhero” a moment ago and discovered SHDb (Superhero Database - https://www.superherodb.com/characters/ ) where I was given an alphabetical listing of all known superheroes—I didn’t count, but there must be hundreds, maybe thousands on the list. You can click on any name listed and read a complete analysis of the person and abilities.
A few weeks ago as I pulled out the readings for today in order to begin thinking about this reflection, my mind was not on Lent but on my newly determined New Year’s resolution. As I reflected on 2017 and what I wanted to change going forward, I realized that I spent too much of 2017 angry or appalled by other people’s words and actions. It kept me up at night; it consumed entire conversations with friends and family members and left me angry more often than happy. What a depressing way to live! I was determined to change that for 2018.
On February 6 more than 50 parishioners who have participated in our Strengths For The Journey program came together for our annual gathering to reconnect with their strengths. Our Strengths For The Journey program runs at various times throughout the year and provides the means for our parishioners to discover their God given gifts in a small group context over three weeks.
Whenever I unpack a particular passage from Scripture, I aim to answer three primary questions: 1) What’s going on here; 2) What does it have to do with us; 3) How should our week be different for having heard it?
Begin your Lenten journey with the visible reminder that we were shaped from clay by God's hands, and that we will return to God.
- 7:00 a.m. | Full Mass with ash distribution
- 9:00 a.m. | Full Mass with ash distribution
- Noon | Prayer service with ash distribution
- 4:00 p.m. | Prayer service with ash distribution
- 5:30 p.m. | Prayer service with ash distribution
- 7:00 p.m. | Full Mass with ash distribution
What a start to today’s readings. We are dropped into Job’s monologue that paints his current emotional state as one of utter despair and brokenness. He begins, “Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery?” He describes his days as coming to an end without hope. And the reading ends with the devastating line, “I shall not see happiness again.”
One thing that many people find surprising about Pope Francis is how often he speaks about the devil. In a world that gives primacy to science and reason, many suppose that the devil is more myth than reality. And yet, how do we make sense of situations in our world marked by an evil presence that cannot simply be explained by our human capacity for evil and the fallen state of our world? Here I can think of events like the Holocaust, slavery and human trafficking, terrorism, or any number of other atrocities which haunt us long after they are over.
The dark and cold days of January remind me that we are now waiting for the next big holiday—the next time to celebrate with family and friends, or to have a few extra days off from work. It’s “ordinary” time. But isn’t it always the case that the most extraordinary moments and things come from the ordinary? It may be the phone call from a friend on a day that was especially trying. It may be the family all gathered around the dinner table on a Saturday night, with no TV and no cell phones.