A few years ago, I watched a film called “The Exorcism of Emily Rose.” I expected a full-blown horror movie in the tradition of other Exorcist movies, complete with all the scary special effects like 360-degree head turns, shaking beds, and lots of vomiting. Instead, to my disappointment, with the exception of a few scenes, the movie wasn’t all that scary. It wasn’t even really a horror movie, strictly speaking, since the scary parts were relegated to flashback scenes. To my surprise—but pleasant surprise—the film turned out to be a religious movie in disguise; in fact, it turned out to be a deeply moving and spiritual experience.
DEFINING OURSELVES (Mt 16:13-20): Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time (24 August 2008)
SHOWING SOME DESPERATION (Mt 15:21-28): 17 August 2008 (Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time)
A line from an 80’s song started playing in my head as I was thinking about this Sunday’s gospel. It goes: “She calls out to the man on the street: ‘Sir, can you help me?'”
The line is, of course, from Phil Collin’s no. 1 single, “Another Day in Paradise” back in 1989. The song, which won the Grammy Record of the Year that year, was written to call attention to the plight not only of the homeless in the US, but also of refugees all over the world.
“CAN YOU STILL MY STORM?” (Mt 14:22-33): 10 August 2008 (Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Today’s gospel reading is easy to relate to. We know about storms, don’t we? Many of us have experienced storms in our lives, both storms caused by nature as well as those encountered in life in general.
I remember one particularly powerful and frightening storm from my childhood. The name of the storm was Typhoon Yoling, and although I don’t recall the precise storm signal that was raised, I still remember looking out our window and watching with disbelief street signs and roofs flying in the air, uprooted by the howling wind. That typhoon was one of the most powerful I’ve experienced in my life.
One of the few TV programs I make sure to follow is “Heroes.” As its viewers know, it’s about a strange bunch of reluctant superheroes: young and ordinary people who accidentally discover their extraordinary abilities.
Among them is Hiro Nakamura, a Japanese office worker who has a boring routinary 9-to-5 job. Like the other heroes, he learns about his special gifts by trial and error. He discovers that he can stop and manipulate time, travel through time, and even teleport—i.e., to travel from one place to another. All he has to do is to concentrate really hard! In one of his more successful attempts, he surprises himself when he manages to teleport himself all the way from a subway in Tokyo across the globe to Times Square, New York!