Last week, I wrote about how a 1989 committee that was acting under the authority of the National Council of Churches in Christ U.S.A. removed from the Gospels of Mark and Luke a critically important thing that Jesus told His apostles. While previous versions of the Catholic Bible quoted Jesus as saying that certain evil spirits could only be cast out by “prayer and fasting,” the newly revised version of the Catholic Bible did not include our Lord’s statement that fasting had to accompany prayer before certain evil spirits could be cast out.
When I was growing up, it didn’t happen very often, but every time there was a tornado warning, my dad would go outside and look toward the horizon where the tornado was supposed to be coming from. He wanted to see with his own eyes whether a funnel cloud was coming toward our house. There were a couple of occasions when everyone in our family went downstairs and stayed in the basement until it was safe to come up.
When I was 11 years old, every Friday my dad made me write a personal letter to a woman he hardly knew. The woman’s name was Miss Miller, and she was my sixth-grade teacher at St. Mark Catholic Grade School. I don’t remember if it was her idea or his idea. All I remember is that after she called him on the phone a few times to complain about my behavior in class, they developed a scheme in which I was forced to write the following letter on a blank sheet of paper every week:
A couple of years ago, one of my relatives — I’ll call her Jane — posted a message on Facebook that ordered anyone who was a friend of hers who was also a supporter of President Trump to immediately unfriend her. She made it clear that any supporter of Trump was not a friend of hers and she didn’t want to have anything to do with them.
When I was in law school (1979-1982), one of the weekly magazines I subscribed to was TIME magazine. Back then, there was no internet, satellite television, or national talk radio programs. If we wanted to know what was going on in our country, we had to rely on newspapers, magazines, network television — ABC, NBC, and CBS.
The recent riots have exposed a reality that those of us who are devout Catholics have always known to be true. What is that reality? That there is an epic battle that has been taking place since the beginning of time. While the battle has involved different types of weapons and different forms of communication, the participants in the battle have always had one thing in common — they have always been separated into two opposing camps.
I was fortunate enough to grow up in the early years of television. As a young boy, I watched westerns and wholesome family shows that always depicted clean, positive, and virtuous behavior. Some of the family shows that I watched were The Andy Griffith Show, My Three Sons, Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C., The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Mister Ed.
There’s an emotional roller coaster that people have been on since March of this year. That’s when our country was locked down because of the COVID-19 virus. During the first couple of months of the lockdown, the roller coaster took people down into the depths of uncertainty and doubt. Then it seemed as though it was heading toward what appeared to be a light at the end of a tunnel. But last week, the roller coaster took a sharp turn and catapulted toward a new abyss of fear and uncertainty.