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Natural-Born World Shakers

do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you; rather that your names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20) Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

"What we've got here is a failure to communicate." Contrary to what you may have thought all these years, that is not an original catch phrase coined by your spouse. No, that line is from the 1967 film "Cool Hand Luke," and is on the The American Film Institute's list of the most memorable movie quotes of all time. (The film also depicts a hard boiled egg eating contest where the winner consumes a record-setting 50 eggs -- but we can save that for Easter).

In the film, a sadistic prison warden known as Captain, utters the familiar phrase to a prisoner named Luke, played by Paul Newman. Luke is a stubbornly independent inmate who refuses to be broken by the oppressive prison system. He mocks the brutal warden. On Luke's first night as a prisoner, a guard sets forth a list of do's and don's to the new inmates, warning any violations will result in a night in "the box" -- a claustrophobic enclosure with little air. In short order, Luke breaks out of prison, is captured, and the famous dialogue with the inmates ensues:

Says the warden: "You gonna get used to wearing them chains after a while, Luke. Don't you never stop listening to them clinking, 'cause they gonna remind you what I been saying for your own good."

Luke responds sarcastically: "I wish you'd stop being so good to me, Captain."

The warden barks back, "Don't you ever talk that way to me," then hits Luke with a cane.

Turning to the other prisoners the Captain says in an ominous and patronizing tone: "What we've got here is a failure to communicate. Some men [...]

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Stories you can use...

We've got a million of them (well, almost).

Sin, Change, Heaven

A pious woman had a dream one night in which one of the town’s best-known scoundrels died and was on his way to heaven. But, because of many misdeeds, the way to heaven wasn’t easy for him. He had to climb a ladder so tall that it reached up far above the clouds. As he climbed the ladder, the man was required to make a chalk mark on each rung for each sin he had committed. As the woman’s dream ended, she saw the man coming back down the ladder. “What are you doing?” the woman asked. “I’m coming down for more chalk,” the man replied. We sin, all of us. And if we think of our life’s goal in terms of a step-by-step process drawing ever closer to God by acknowledging our sinfulness and our need to change, like that man on the ladder, we are likely to run out of chalk from time-to-time.

Children, Bigotry, Example, Teachers

“Let the little come to me…for it is such as these that the Kingdom of God belongs” (Mark 10:14). You may recall the highly publicized experiment conducted by a young primary-grade teacher. With the approval of her pupils’ parents, she told her class that “recent scientific reports had verified that children with blue eyes have greater natural learning abilities than children with brown eyes.” She had them make up little signs designating themselves as “blue eyes” or “brown eyes,” which they then hung around their necks. After a week or so, the achievement level of the brown-eyed group fell measurably, while the performance of the blue-eyed section improved significantly. She then made a startling announcement to the class. She had made a mistake! It was the blue- eyed people who were the weaker students and the brown-eyed ones who were stronger students. Up went the image and achievement of the brown-eyed group. Down came the performance of the blue-eyed children. Then the teacher presented the results of the experiment to the mothers and fathers as an object lesson in parenting: Just as a child’s self-image will affect his or her performance in school, it will also affect his or her behavior and performance at home and, eventually, in the world. That same teacher also presented to the parents a little prayer she silently prayed at the beginning of each school day: Lord, give me the wisdom to discover in each child the spark of Divinity which You have given to him or her. Lord, give me the wisdom to help nurture this spark into a glowing flame. Lord, give me the wisdom not to favor one child at the expense of others, and to recognize that they all are equally deserving of my devotion and attention — without regard to their intelligence, their religion, their race, or their wealth. Lord, help! They’re coming into the room right now — all thirty-two of them. Any small miracle will be greatly appreciated! Amen.


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