ASK A STUPID QUESTION
Hi everyone - so here’s my homily for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time - October 25, 2009. The readings can be found at http://www.usccb.org/nab/readings/102509.shtml , Thanks for checking in, for reading and all your feedback and comments. Much appreciated! God Bless - have a great week!
Here’s a stupid question - did any of you know that there’s an “ASK A STUPID QUESTION DAY” that’s considered a holiday? It’s true - supposedly September 28th has been “Ask a Stupid question day” for over 20 years or so. It was started by school teachers to encourage their students not to be reluctant to ask a question when they are in class.
Thanks to the marvels of the internet, you are able to get multiple lists of stupid questions. So out of love for all of you, I went through list upon list to come up with my own top ten list of stupid questions that have been asked:
10-Why is Grape Nuts cereal called that, when it contains neither grapes, nor nuts?
9-If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a song about him?
8-If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?
7-If an orange is orange, why isn't a lime called a green or a lemon called a yellow?
6-If a cat always lands on its feet, and buttered bread always lands butter side down, what would happen if you tied buttered bread on top of a cat?
5-What color would a smurf turn if you choked it?
4-If a kid refuses to sleep during nap time, are they guilty of resisting a rest?
3-If laughter is the best medicine, who's the idiot who said they 'died laughing'?
2-If the #2 pencil is the most popular, why's it still #2?
1-If pro and con are opposites, wouldn't the opposite of progress be congress?
Stupid or dumb questions... Those seem to fit that category, don’t they?
In hearing today’s Gospel, no offence to Jesus (he knows me, I think he knows I mean no offence ... ) but - in reading the Gospel we hear that there’s a blind guy on the road trying to get his attention. After the blind guy finally gets his attention - He calls him over, Jesus walks over to him, and asks “What do you want me to do for you?”
Again, no offence to Jesus - but, doesn’t that seem to fall in the “dumb/stupid question” category???? I mean, what did he think the blind guy was going to answer with? “I’d like a new cloak to sit by the side of the road with Jesus, thanks???”
Perhaps Jesus was a believer in the old axiom or cliche that goes ‘there’s no dumb questions (or stupid questions) only dumb answers?”
Because throughout the scriptures, we encounter a bunch of times where Jesus asks somewhat straightforward questions and if we’re honest and think about it, were he to ask us, we might not have the “smartest” of responses to those questions Jesus asked. For example, Jesus asked “What is your name?” Why, aren’t you God, shouldn’t you know? Or when he asked another person“why do you call me good?” Because I’m hoping to get on your GOOD side! Or in that famous encounter with the apostles when Jesus asked them “Who do people say that I am?” Can’t even begin to tell you the gamut of answers. Jesus turns to the twelve and asks “Who do you say I am?” Uh....
So maybe with tonight’s Gospel, Jesus wasn’t asking a stupid question of Bartimeus (I know you’re all shocked) Maybe he was trying to help the blind man realize what was happening. Because we need to go a little bit deeper in that Gospel. It’s easy for us to get hung up or focused just on the cure. But there’s so much more going on here. It’s getting “late” for Jesus. He’s going to Jerusalem to face his coming Passion and Death. Many of the people in Jerusalem will be debating who Jesus is and what to do about it in the coming days. The miracle was that the blind man saw Jesus. He saw God. He saw Love incarnate. And so as the blind man has this encounter with Jesus his first reaction, his first desire wasn’t to ask for anything other than Jesus himself ... What does he cry out - “JESUS SON OF DAVID HAVE PITY ON ME.”
The first thing he asks for from Jesus isn’t the cure. The first thing he desires is simply Jesus’ attention. Jesus - feel sorrow for me... You who are all good, all love - see how sad my life is. See how I suffer. Have pity for me. Jesus asking the question “What can I do for you?”is a moment of hope. God is paying attention. God is present. God is there in the midst of the misery the poor guy is going through. So it’s anything but a stupid question.
But there could be a bunch of stupid answers - “What can you do for me? WOE IS ME”
“Nothing, no one else has been able to do anything” “What does it matter - you’ll let me down, like everyone else”
Not too far-fetched when we think about it. Often times as we bring our prayers, our petitions, our concerns, the things that weigh on our hearts to Jesus it’s with that type of attitude. We know he’s the one to go to. But we’re still blinded from seeing who he truly is. Jesus comes to us, through one another - through this word that we’re hearing - through his own Body and Blood that we will receive in a little while. In all of those ways, he keeps telling us how he is paying attention how he is present. How he is there in the midst of whatever misery or struggles we are going through. “What can I do for you?” our loving Lord continues to ask us.
For Bartimaeus the eyes of faith enables him to have the right answer - Jesus I want to see...
For us to be the true disciples we claim to be, the challenge for us is that we must always want to see as Jesus sees. That’s incredibly difficult for us. Tempted to despair and disbelief, we don’t seem to be able to have that pure faith and trust that our Lord is always with us – wanting what is best for us. When that happens we must follow Bartimaeus' example and ask for help: Jesus can you help me see? And he never considers that a stupid question.
Posted by Fr. Jim Chern