28 October 2018 / 30th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B
• Jeremiah 31:7-9 • Psalm 126 •Hebrews 5:1-6 • + Mark 10:46-52 •
•• Title: Where Are You ? (Faith)
[__01_] In the Gospel, Jesus said to the disciples – regarding Bartmaeus, the blind man, “Call him” which means, “Call him over…”
And, by calling Bartimaeus, they – Jesus and Bartimaeus are connected. The call is a connection, a personal and also specific geographic connection in a particular place.
By calling Bartimaeus, Jesus knew where he was. By Bartimaeus calling out – vocally – to Jesus, Bartimaeus knew where Jesus was. It used to be that way for us.
[__02_] At one time, when you or I called 973.325.0110, that is the number of the parish rectory-office, and someone answered, you knew that you were connected to someone at One Eagle Rock Avenue, West Orange, New Jersey 07052.
Now, with call forwarding, mobile – cellular phones, it’s not so simple. It’s different.
Someone observed to me recently that now we ask something on the phone that we never used to ask. We ask, “Where are you?”
You called your sister, your mother– in 1985 – you knew where she was. “Where are you?” meant ‘what room are you in?’ or ‘are you in the kitchen or upstairs?’
Now, ‘where are you’ could mean: are you in New York or Colorado?
[__02_] It used to be scientifically verifiable where a person was – where you or I were – based on the phone number.
Now, ‘where-are-you’ is an act of faith. You are trusting the other person is really going to tell you where he is, where she is.
It’s like the VERIZON telephone advertisement in which the young college student is foolish enough to take a picture of himself (a.k.a.,selfie) on the beach, a picture that has a date and time stamp and send it to his mother and father, but he’s supposed to be at his final exams.
“Where are you?” The response is an act of faith.
[__04_] It’s a question we might say to begin our prayers. “Where are you, Lord? Where are you, Jesus … Where are you, God …” in my life?
Where are you in the difficulty or distress I have?
On the other hand, in moments of great joy and celebration, we might also ask the same thing, giving thanks not for my own – your own – achievement and talent, but where were you, God – in helping me to reach this point?
[__05_] Where are you? Where R U ?
The disciples know exactly where Jesus is. They have been following him. They have been on this route. They know exactly where Jesus is and they are trying to protect him, like the Secret Service or like State Troopers.
They are staying in lockstep with him and trying to keep people away from him.
Jesus is given permission by his “handlers” to talk to some and not others. In the Gospel of next Sunday – notably – there is no objection because Jesus is being approached by a learned, distinguished scribe. The disciples – it seems do not usually – intervene when Jesus is approached by someone of importance or reputation. The disciples are OK with the reputable folks.
But, Bartimaues – he’s much simpler, less important.
Ironically – the paradox – is that the disciples – who can see – are not really recognizing who Jesus is. Bartimaeus – who is blind – recognizes Jesus.
[__06_] Bartimaeus is crying out in prayer, in petition, “where are you?”
Or, “where have you been?”
Bartimaeus has positioned himself strategically on this Jerusalem-Jericho marathon route. It’s not quite a marathon, only 16.7 miles, but he is on that route and by his location, he finds Jesus because of where he is.
[__07_] “Where are you?” is a way to begin our prayer, to be in Jesus’ presence.
The same question is asked by God to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden – “where are you?” After the eat from the Tree of Knowledge, God does not come after them with a threatening statement, but just the question “where are you”.
He knows where they are, but asks anyway.
And, this is a way for us to begin or continue our relationships, to ask the question – where are you?
[__08_] ”Where are you?” is an act of faith, not simply if you are wondering where a family member or friend has gone …
But it’s an act of faith to ask “where are you, God” … before I admit that I am wrong. In other words, I ask where is God, where is God’s mercy.
It is an act of faith to admit that I am wrong, that I have a fault or sin to be forgiven, and an act of faith to admit that God is someplace nearby and will forgive me.
[__08.01_] To admit that I am right…that is not an act of faith, that is scientifically verifiable. That’s my attempt at humor.
[__09_] To admit I am wrong, is an act of faith.
To give myself away, to give away some of my time, to surrender my talent or ability for the good of someone else, this is also an act of faith.
And, this invites to ask – Where you, God ..in this talent or ability that I am called to use, to serve, to help someone else? Where are you leading me?
[__10_] Or, if someone tells us the truth or tells us something we do not want to hear, we might also ask – where are you?
We might ask the other person – where are you coming from?
But, we might also ask in the silence of our own hearts, when we hear something we do not want to hear, “where are you?”
And, if we are not sure if it is true, or if we think some it might be true or an invitation for us to change, we ask – where are you God – in this?
So, I can draw closer to you each day, as Bartimaeus does on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem.