My Dad and I ascended the Cathedral’s few stairs. He leaned over to me and said in his raspy voice, “You know where about to do something two Undems haven’t done in over 400 years.” He was eluding to the fact not since the Protestant reformation had two Undem men attended a mass together. A faint smile spread across my face as I entered the Cathedral.
The mass was becoming but a memory now as I stood in the middle of a crowd of revelers. Men wearing large strands of plastic beads stood talking on the corner while their wives carried large plastic cups and danced to a cover band’s version of “Lola.”. I paused to take it all in. It was New Orleans on the lead up to Mardi Gras. The parades would be starting in a few weeks, but to the tourists present, this was their Mardi Gras.
My Dad and I slowly made our way down Bourbon Street, stopping at small bars to listen to the Jazz music contained within. Overpriced beer sat in a glass in front of me and a jazz quartet filled the small bar with the sounds of New Orleans. It seemed rather surreal to be sitting in such a place, a place I had only read about in history books or seen on special episodes of the show “Cops”.
I drained the last of my beer and my Dad and I continued our stroll down the street. I stopped at a cross street and waited for a car to pass. I turned my attention towards the direction the car had come from and there I caught glimpse of something which caused me to do a double take.
“Say Dad is that what I think it is?” I nudged my Dad’s arm. He looked where I was pointed and nodded.
“It how they do things down here.” he said as he lit a cigarette.
The image that had caught my attention was a shadow of Jesus projected 70 feet tall on the wall of the Cathedral. His arms raised as if giving a blessing. It stood in stark contrast to the revelry and the debauchery that is Bourbon Street at dark. I turned my attention back down the street I had just walked, a street full of bars, voodoo shops, and strip clubs. A place where one would not expect to find a 70 foot tall shadow of Jesus. But yet there he was raising his arms offering a reminder to all present that no matter what we do in our lives He is with us.
It is in our darkest moment in our lives, moments where the light of day seem so far away that Jesus reaches out to us. Those moments when we find ourselves surrounded by our sins He is there to offer his love and mercy for all those who desire it. As we continue through the Lenten season take a moment to seek Jesus in your daily life and you just might find He is a whole lot closer to you than you think.