The Creep In the Neighborhood

I’m old enough to remember the very first Pay-TV channel that came to Pittsfield.

I did a bit of research and discovered that it started here in 1973.

I was 13 years old.  It even pre-dated HBO.

It was called Star Channel and was part of the Warner Cable offerings for local subscribers who wanted more than just channels 2-13.

The way it worked was there was a box that the cable company would put on top of your TV, connecting your cable line through it and then back to the television.

By throwing a switch and turning to channel 3, the Star Channel would come on.

At first it was a really great thing.

They brought commercial-free movies right into the home.

I did not realize it, but it must have been a blow to the downtown theaters like the Palace and the Showplace.

I remember watching and falling in love with a movie called “The Cowboys,” starring John Wayne and a cast of young ranchers.

One day, while hanging out with a neighbor friend of mine, whose mom was not home, he asked me if I wanted to watch a “cool scary movie.”

I would rather  not say the name of the movie, nor will I mention the name of the friend.

The movie was more than just scary, it was an adult movie about an Englishman who seduced, raped and then murdered several girls.

To this day the graphic images still haunt me from time to time.

I did not have the courage or conviction to walk away.

I should have, but I didn’t.

I was just as much to blame, even though it was not on in my house.

I understand now why they had little key locks on the bottom of those boxes for parents to be able to make the Star Channel inaccessible.

My friend’s parents had too much faith in him and he introduced me to a world that I was saddened, yet for a very short time, fascinated to know existed.

I never did turn that movie on in our house, even though it must have come on repeatedly, like they all did.

Since my mother worked at the Value Mart on Columbus Ave, there was plenty of opportunity.

I remember calling her after school every day.

I would get home from Crosby Jr. High at 3:30 and she would get home at 5.

The time was short but I called her anyways, just to touch base.

I remember her trying to hang-up to get back to work and I would always say, “wait mom, wait, just one more thing.”

She was also real good at whipping up gourmet Lebanese food in a very short time.

That was the real comfort that I needed and looked forward to each day.

I learned a few things and no one makes humooos faster than me.

In today’s Gospel Liturgy from Luke Chapter 18, we read about a blind man and his discovery of the nearness and proximity of Jesus.

Watch what happens.

As Jesus approached Jericho
a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging,
and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening.
They told him,
“Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
He shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!”
The people walking in front rebuked him,
telling him to be silent,
but he kept calling out all the more,
“Son of David, have pity on me!”
Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him;
and when he came near, Jesus asked him,
“What do you want me to do for you?”
He replied, “Lord, please let me see.”
Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.”
He immediately received his sight
and followed him, giving glory to God.
When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.

The frailties and handicaps of the people in the New Testament are symbols of our own sins, just as in this story of the blind man from Jericho.

All of us are like him, when it comes to sin.

The begging is a symbol of our guilt.

Notice that he is not praying but wallowing in sorrow.

The best way to overcome our faults is to call for Jesus with a loud yell.

The people who rebuked the blind man are a symbol of our self-doubt and even of Satan himself, both trying to make us think it is a waste of time calling on Jesus for help.

How wrong they were in this Gospel message.

Jesus loved the blind man, as much, if not more than those who were not blind.

He responds immediately.

He feels the same way about our pleas for help.

Just as in this Gospel message, the simple act of “asking” brings praise from Jesus, as he says, “your faith has saved you.”

No matter what your sin or frailty may be, you can overcome it by calling in the One who has overcome everything.

A day does not go by where I don’t yell out His name for help, at least inside my heart.

I am as weak as they come.

Lord help us when we have fallen into temptation and let us know that You are always within the sound of our voice.

Your precious Word is the healing that feeds us and fills us, dismissing sins and failures of our past, so that we can clearly see our vision for Your Kingdom.

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