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Strange Magic

Their amazement went beyond all bounds (Mark 7:37) Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Some call it the "magic rock." Some say it is amazing beyond all imagination. Like a treasure, hidden in a great field -- like a pearl of great price, all agree it's something very special. A few months ago, during an assembly at the Kittredge Elementary school in North Andover, Massachusetts, three students were honored for unearthing this hidden treasure. The trio have become sort of celebrities in their home town. You might even call them rock stars. The former students, who just graduated from high school left a priceless gift behind when they graduated from Kittredge Elementary more than a decade ago. And these days, in the halls of that school, it's still all anyone can talk about.

It was 10 years ago when the kids unwittingly began working on the gift. They were in second grade. Out on the playground during recess one day one of them saw a little rock -- or what looked like a little rock -- poking up out of the ground. So they found some sticks and said to each other, "let's see if we can dig this out of the ground."

The school's principal, recalling how it all started said the kids were out there every recess. "I have to tell you," he said, "their hearts were broken when the first frost appeared because they had to stop." But year after year they returned to the project. Digging mostly with sticks and plastic spoons they got from the cafeteria, the kids dug down -- through second grade, third grade, fourth grade and fifth -- until finally, just before moving on to middle school, they finished.

And then something magical happened. [...]

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