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It seems – in light of recent events – that there is no normal in our world and yet we continue to survive. We are in the midst of the most horrific pandemic our age that is taking lives wantonly…and yet now, less than a year into it, we have not one but at least three different vaccines that seem able to stem the tide of the disease. We have had four years of a government that had no preparation for governing, whose members floundered and then got replaced with others equally unqualified…and yet now we have a president prepared by almost four decades in national politics to repair what has been undone because he understands how to govern and is, in addition, a humane, upright individual who knows suffering and love and is willing to do his best for us all. It is as if we have been given “one more chance” and, when we fail to recognize it or to step up to the challenge, God says, “All right, I’ll give you another chance at paying attention…just one more time…”

When will we learn? The frustration of Jesus is seen this morning in Mark’s gospel (Ch. 8) when he says: “Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember?…”

Lent begins tomorrow. Today is Mardi Gras…Will there be wild dancing, eating and drinking – regardless of the rules about masks and social distancing? Will we pay attention and perhaps take the forty days to come asking ourselves the questions that Jesus asked today? Do you not understand or comprehend?…Will this time be different?