• 2019 June 30 • 13th Sunday
• 1 Kings 19:16b, 19-21 • Psalm 16 • Galatians 5:13-18 • +Luke 9:51-62 •
Title: Bridgegate, Delays, Patience.
[_01_] The 1st reading and the Gospel are about following directions and going in a particular direction. I’e like to talk in 2 parts: “part 1 DELAYS”…. “part 2. Patience”
Part 1. DELAYS. Anyone remember BRIDGEGATE?
BRIDGEGATE = Fort Lee lane closure scandal, also known as the George Washington Bridge (GWB) lane closure scandal or Bridgegate, was a local – and later national - political scandal which implicated several staff members of the New Jersey Governor’s office of 2013, a few years ago. In September 2013, some staff members of the Governor – got together – and conspired – intentionally -- to create traffic jams in Fort Lee, New Jersey near the GWB.
About a month ago, several family members and I were on our way to the Bronx for the gathering of family at church. It was in the morning. Many of us had to cross the Hudson River and GWB.
We were supposed to be at church by 9:30 am. And, like most people in tri-state area, we worry about GWB traffic.
We worry about traffic in general – and upon reaching our destination – any destination – feel it is both necessary and healthy to discuss every road & police slow-down, average speed & MPG.
And, on this particular day with this particular appointed time at church for 9:30 am, we found that the lower level of GWB was completely closed when we arrived. We were forced to take the upper level. We never take the upper level. We are lower-level people. But we had no choice, in order to keep moving.
So, we had our own private BRIDGEGATE episode. I’m not pressing charges, I’m just telling you.
The delay & “mini-bridgegate” were appropriate because the family member – whose funeral it was that day – was really into maps and roads and traffic.
It is the role of many institutions and individuals to give directions. Our police officers give us directions. GPS devices give us directions. Google gives directions. Type in an address, and Google will tell you how to get there if you indicate your starting point. Google will map it out and produce a map for you.
Are we there yet? The child in the back seat may ask this every time the car stops … They may not know about Bridgegate or traffic reports, but they do know something about the importance of continuity and perseverance … and just keeping ourselves on the road. So that we get there.
[_03] In 1st Book of Kings, Elisha is summoned, called, directed to follow Elijah the prophet. Elijah wants to map it out…
And, in the Gospel there is a man on the road who encounters and also feels called to follow Jesus and his disciples.
In both cases, that of Elisha and that of the man, there is a delay. And, there purposes of the delay – why they are supposedly delayed – is so plausible to us, so fundamental to us. And, I daresay it seems so cruel that Elijah and Jesus seem to be leaving them on the side of the road and want to put the pedal to the metal and leave them behind.
Yet, Jesus was simply inviting them and us not to put anything ahead of our connection to God. Patience. [*pause*]
Part 2. PATIENCE. When Pope Francis speaks of patience – the virtue of being patient or patiently waiting – he will connect these ideas that “going in patience renews our youth and makes us younger.” (Homiletic & Pastoral Review, January 17, 2019)
Pope Francis, in a document written for young people and all of us reminds us … [[Jesus … eternally young, wants to give us hearts that are ever young. God’s word asks us to “cast out the old leaven that you may be fresh dough” (1 Cor 5:7). Saint Paul invites us to strip ourselves of the “old self” and to put on a “young” self (Col 3:9-10). In explaining what it means to put on that youthfulness “which is being renewed” (v. 10), he mentions “compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving each other if anyone has a complaint against another” (Col 3:12-13). In a word, true youth means having a heart capable of loving, whereas everything that separates us from others makes the soul grow old. And so he concludes: “above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Col 3:14).
14. Let us also keep in mind that Jesus had no use for adults who looked down on the young or lorded it over them. On the contrary, he insisted that “the greatest among you must become like the youngest” (Lk 22:26). For him age did not establish privileges, and being young did not imply lesser worth or dignity. (Pope Francis Christus Vivit (2019), n. 13,14)]]
It is notable that Jesus – in his human nature – starts to demonstrate this patience by “submitting” to his parents and as as a young person – yes, young people – sometimes, our parents require our patience. But, we also learn from them.
We also learn – as Jesus did in his human nature – that God’s love is present to us in a special way through the love of our mothers and fathers.
This love also renews us makes us younger and reminds us that DIRECTIONS do not stop or cease just because the voice on the GPS has nothing else to say.
The direction and the spiritual direction of God – and the spiritual direction we get from others continues even after we stop moving. It reminds us also that we are all young enough to be God’s children.
I will grant you – it is easier to carry a conversation in car or any vehicle while the traffic is moving, while we get somewhere with good avg speed. When traffic stops, it’s harder to talk, to communicate / enjoy the ride.The direction of God reminds us not only to keep – amid the DELAYS and in striving for PATIENCE – to stop, to listen, and wait for his word in each day, so that we can follow him in faith, hope and love. [_fin_]