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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Returning to Places of Comfort

"Then he returned to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine." Jn 4:46

What places have you visited and would like to see again?  What about these places attracts you? Sometimes we want to return to places because we were rushed and saw very little. At other times, we made friends there and are anxious to see them again, but usually we yearn to return to certain places because the entire experience was pleasant, warm and rewarding. Not only did we meet welcoming people, the place itself was beautiful, the people kind and the food delicious. In short, our spirits were renewed and refreshed there by the God who is everywhere but who we sometimes ignore.

Jesus is returning to Cana, the place of his first sign or miracle, and we wonder what about Cana draws him. Did the people there accept him, especially after he helped the newly married couple who had run out of wine? Did he have relatives there who he had not seen for a long while? Was his mother visiting Cana, making it possible to see her again? Or was it simply that Cana was a lovely place that helped him remember his mission and his Father's love? All of us need places that lift us up, nourish us and assure us that our memories are real and important.

Soon I will be returning to Interlaken, NY to preach a parish mission. For forty or more years I vacationed at our friary in Interlaken. I sat on the dock which stretched into Lake Cayuga, watched the summer stars at night, and slept and ate whenever it was convenient. Interlaken is a beckoning place for me full of warm memories and hours spent fishing (not catching!)

Lent is a time to remember and be grateful for all the people and places that helped us recommit ourselves to the Gospel with all its charms and challenges. It is a penetential time that reminds us how easy it is to take our friends and God's love for granted, and challenges us to live in the present moment with joy and gratitude.

Today, take a few moments to let your imagination go to a place where you experienced God's graciousness in a special way.

What are the places and who are the people that continue to refresh your spirit?

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