Groundhog Day in Chicago and changing the world


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The movie “Groundhog Day has some interesting dialogue. Phil Connors/Bill Murray is talking with some drunks in a bar.

One of these drunks remarks, “You know, some guys would look at this glass and they would say, “That glass is half empty.” Other guys would say, “That glass is half full. I peg you as a “glass is half empty kind of guy. Am I right?”

Phil Connors replies, “What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?”

One of the drunks replies, “That sums it up for me.”

The comment also sums it up the movie. Everything following is about Sisyphus and the retelling of his tale by Albert Camus. “That sums it up for me.” Just like Sisyphus and the boulder he has to move up the hill every day, “That sums it up; give me another beer.”

Later, Phil Connors asks, “Let me ask you guys a question, “What if there were no tomorrow?” A drunk responds, “No tomorrow? That would mean there would be no consequences.”

This brings the second solution. If nothing matters, “Let us eat, drink, and be marry; there is no tomorrow.” This leads to despondency and numerous suicide attempts/successes. This Sunday, the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, at our Cathedral in Reno Nevada, we will read from the book of Job who also grapples with these same issues. Chapter 38 from Job gives God’s reply to Job, to the degree that it is a reply. It is not a reply to satisfy the Phil Connors of the world.

The Psalm for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Psalm 147 states, “The Personal Name rebuilds Jerusalem/the City of Peace, and gathers the dispersed of Israel/those who quarrel with God, healing the brokenhearted, and binding up their wounds. The Personal Name gives aid to the poor, but casts the Russia to the ground. (own translation)

Russia refers, not to a place, or ethnic group, but to a state of mind, those who think themselves first. It refers to those who are either asleep to their plight, the plight of Phil Connors, or take the course of “Eat, drink, and be marry, because there is no tomorrow.”

Later in the movie, Phil Connors watches as the old man dies. This brings his transformation and the solution to the film. When Phil Connors ceases to be Russia, the man who puts himself first, and becomes a Tzaddic, a man for others, he starts to change himself, and the world. As the article, “Everyone is looking for you, God relates, he can exit his self aggrandizing and return to the road that leads to where he really wanted to go all along. This is finding a wife, Rita, get married, raise a family, and continue his journey to the Promised Land. In the process, he finds he really can change the world. When he realizes this, he can move on to February 3.

Nevada caucuses this Saturday. When we caucus, will we be Russian, people for ourselves, or American, people for others. Will we live the life of the before Phil Connors, complaining about how nothing matters, or will we change ourselves and be one nation, under God, helping to bring liberty and justice to all?

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