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AN EASTER SURPRISE

Way back in my law school days, desperately needing a break from the "Paper Chase", I used to attend the noon Mass in the school chapel. It was always blissfully serene, there being only about two dozen of us. One of our co-worshippers was a late twentyish guy, kind of anonymous. You know the type, one of those faces you'd see around campus or in class, but didn't really know.

Moreso in law school, where classes were lecture hall style, with about 200 students in attendance. This particular fellow was in my Local Government Law (LGL) class.

Anyway, one day just before Easter, a sign announces that the law school chaplain was unavailable that day. Who should rise, don vestments and say Mass? No other than that LGL guy. Knock me over with a feather!

What was more amazing was he gave one of the most memorable sermons I've ever heard. (In case you haven't noticed, good homilies are hard to come by these days). The day's Gospel was the multiplication of the loaves, and his take was that maybe Jesus did not magically make bread out of thin air. What if His listeners were so moved by His preaching and example, the haves willingly shared what they had with the have nots? "Imagine if today, on the 11 o'clock news Jesus preached, and by the time you awoke, half the world gave half of what it possessed to the other half, so that in the span of a few hours, worldwide poverty was wiped out. Wouldn't that be as great a miracle as if you could create bread out of thin air?"

Afterward I had to ask, "Who are you?" and he explained he was a newly ordained Jesuit sent to law school by his order in preparation for whatever future tasks they had in mind. I never kept up with him, but that day and that sermon has stayed with me decades later.

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