Sunday, June 9, 2013

"Next ... The Physician Will See You Now" ... (2013-06-09)

This is my homily for  June 9 2013, (10th Sunday).   I am a Catholic chaplain at  Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU, Teaneck),   FDU Newman Catholic Association,  New Jersey City University (NJCU) in Jersey City.  At FDU, Sunday Evening Mass resumes,  August 25, 2013 @ 5:00 pm at  FDU Chapel, 842 River Road, Teaneck. ***

[__01__]        In this Gospel we read that “God has visited his people.”  Also, we read that our Savior sees, recognizes, welcomes the widow of Nain.

 It is certainly good news for the widow of Nain that the Lord “sees” and “heals” her son. It is not only good news but also surprising news.

As a widow, this mother would have have had few rights – few guarantees – little insurance …and no appointment.

[__02__]         How do you and I negotiate and schedule time  with doctors and other professionals?

On the one hand,  we obtain referrals, and ask favors of  “to get us in”, do we not?

On the other hand, in an urgent case, we may go to the Holy Name / Valley / Hackensack Emergency Room and wait our turn.

“Next”.  “The physician will see you now.”

In both cases, the scheduled and the unscheduled, we feel justified AFTER we have been served and seen.

Furthermore, we would feel rebuffed / rejected, if someone else were to go ahead of us.

The son of the widow of Nain was just such a “someone”,  someone without a chart or history.

The widow’s son is not selected due to visibility. Jesus sees her, recognizes the widow and her son in their obscurity.

[__03__]       The widow’s son and Jesus (the Son of God / Son of Mary) share at least one common aspect – obscurity, lack of brand-name recognition.

Father Ronald Knox, in a sermon about “obscurity” and “humility” points that one of the principal charges – legal charges – against Jesus is his obscurity.[1]

The Pharisees and others reject our Savior, seeing no credentials, no qualifications, no formal training.   Yet, somehow, Jesus is knowledgeable to debate with them.

Their charge was that the Jesus had been operating a ministry without legitimacy, without their approval.

They arrest him.    “Pontius Pilate will see you now.”

 [__04__]       Earlier this year, we witnessed – on February 11 – the resignation – the withdrawal – of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.

Choosing to resign the papacy, Benedict XVI goes on no speaking tours, accepts no university fellowships or honorary degrees, writes no memoir.

Indeed, we do not see him.

Yet, Benedict lives, praying for the church. His life continues in prayer and off camera.

[__05__]         Humility would keep us all off camera and away from the spotlight.

But, what is humility?  Father Ronald Knox provides a useful definition and example. The widow of Nain demonstrates this humility, putting her son first, asking nothing for herself.

Father Knox writes that true humility is a quite different thing from “modesty ” – the modesty which forbids us to boast, to brag, to forward it to – Twitter, Facebook, YouTube.

True humility is one that allows us to accept – even to desire – obscurity as Good News.

Jesus takes pity on the widow due to her obscurity.  Her humility brings her closer to Christ the Physician.

Our own suffering – our own distress and anxiety – can also bring us closer his presence.  Jesus the Physican – through our prayer -  will see us now. You are next. I am next.      [__fin__]       

[1] Knox, Ronald, “The Charm of our Obscurity” Pastoral and Occasional Sermons (1940) San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2002.   pp. 221-224. 

No comments:

Post a Comment