With those words Mary speaks a truth about our lives, a truth that at some point we all experience. There comes a day when the wine gives out. The glass is empty. The party is over. On that day life seems empty and dry. There is no vibrancy or vitality. Nothing is growing or fermenting within us. Our world is colorless and tasteless. The bouquet of life is absent and we are living less than fully alive.
Mary’s words hold before us some some serious questions and wonderings. Where has the wine of our life given out? What relationships have run dry? What parts of us remain empty?
“You see that Mary did not doubt but believed and therefore obtained the fruit of faith. ‘Blessed … are you who have believed.’ But you also are blessed who have heard and believed. For a soul that has believed has both conceived and bears the Word of God and declares his works. Let the soul of Mary be in each of you, so that it … Continue reading Christ is the Fruit of the Faithful
“My teacher, let me see again.” It’s the obvious answer to Jesus’ question. What else would a blind man ask for? It may be the obvious answer but it is not always the answer given. No one wants to be blind. That’s not the question. The deeper question is whether we really want to see. Do we really want to see the reality of our lives, things done and left undone, who we are and who we are not? Do we really want to see the needs of our neighbor, the poor, or the marginalized? Do we really want to see the injustices of the world? Do we really want to see who Jesus is and not just who we wish or want him to be?
“Do you really want to see?” That’s the question Bartimaeus must answer. True seeing is more than simply observing with our physical eyes. It implies relationship and a deeper knowing and understanding. This happens when we see with the eyes of faith. This seeing, however, is not without risk. If we really want to see then we must be willing to change and be changed. We must be willing to leave behind what is to receive what might be.
James and John are looking for the best seat in the house. They want to sit next to Jesus, in his glory, one on his right and one on his left. That seat, however, is only for those for whom it has been prepared.
James and John sound a bit arrogant and self-seeking; interested in privilege, honor, and status. That’s often how this text is interpreted. There is certainly no lack of that kind of behavior in our world. We’ve all seen it in others and, if we are honest, in ourselves as well. Maybe the usual interpretation and judgment are more a statement about our own motives than that of James and John. Maybe that’s why the other ten are so upset. Maybe, however, there is more to this story than the usual interpretation. Maybe there is another way to understand what is going on not only in the text but with us.
When I was a kid my sister and I often argued about who got to sit next to our grandmother. In elementary school I wanted to sit next to my best friend. In high school algebra I wanted to sit next to Jennifer, a really cute blonde. I remember the joy and gratitude of sitting next to my first spiritual mentor. After I met Cyndy, my wife, I wanted to sit as close to her as possible. I still do.
We all have those people in our lives that attract and draw us to them. Their lives speak to us of love and friendship. They show us something about ourselves. Their presence changes who we are. They call from us the best part of who we are. In them we catch a glimpse of something holy, Continue reading “The Seat of Arrogance or the Heart’s Desire?”