The Choice to Cry Out With Our Needs

BY FR. BRIAN ZUMBRUM, OSFS

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time | October 28, 2018

See today’s readings here. This homily focuses on the Gospel reading. The archive of all of Fr. Brian’s homilies can be found hereSalesian Sermons

I remember when I was in seminary, I would meet up with my friends who were just having kids and I would laugh at the never-ending stream of “mom”, “mom”, “mommy” or “dad”, “dad”, “daddy” that their children were constantly yelling.

For the kids always needed something.  And they were never shy about letting their parents know.

And I must admit, I smiled to myself thinking, Better them than me.

And then I became a teacher.

And I feel like I have been paid back a thousand-fold for joking with my friends.

For all day long, I have a never-ending chorus of “Fr. Brian” issuing from a thousand kids.

And at this point, I just cut to the chase.

“What do you need?”

And out the requests come.

I need a jacket.  I left mine at home.

I need to plug in my service hours.

I need you to explain that project that’s due.  I wasn’t paying attention in class.

I need to know if you’re coming to the hockey game tonight.

And my personal favorite: I need a belt.  Can I just have yours?

Like the one I’m currently wearing?

Yeah that one.  I mean you can’t get JUG right?

All day long, I am told what others need.  And I spend my life trying to meet those needs.

But then last week, after a particularly frustrating day.  My colleague looked at me and said, Brian, you seem really down.  What do you need?

And I didn’t have an answer for him.  I just shrugged it off and said I’ll be fine.  Even though we both knew that it was a lie.

And as I reflected on that situation that evening, I realized that I could learn a lot from our Gospel from this weekend.

For our blind brother in this story clearly knows what he needs.

And like our children, he was not afraid to cry out his need in front of the crowds who judged him and scorned him.

And in his ability to name his need and ask for help, he receives the sight that he seeks.

But if I am honest with myself, I often lack the courage of our brother.  For I find it really difficult to name my needs and ask for help for them.

And I don’t believe I am alone.

I believe as a society we work really hard to convince men that we have no needs.  No vulnerabilities. No weaknesses.

And if we do, we certainly can’t ask for help.

For then we would be publicly admitting that we can’t do this on our own.

And on the flipside, we work really hard to convince women that if they have needs, they must be placed behind the needs of everyone else.

For they can’t lose the appearance that they have everything in control.

For then they would be publicly admitting that they aren’t perfect.

But none of this is of God.  God did not create us to do it alone, nor did God create us to be in control.

For our God already knows our needs.  Even when we don’t fully know them. Even when we are struggling to articulate them.  Even when we are afraid or powerless to voice them.

God knows our insecurities and doubts.

God knows the wounds we possess that have not healed and the grudges we cling to that poison us.

God knows the fears that disturb our sleep and the loads we carry that seem beyond our strength.

And that God stands before us, gently inviting us to name them.  So that God can drain them of their power. Providing the healing, the forgiveness, the strength, the faith, the love that we need.

My friends, today, we too have a choice.  For our God is present here in this moment.  Do we too dare cry out with our needs. Or do we let him walk on by, leaving us in our blindness, alone?

Son of David.  Have pity on me.  I too want to see.

May God be Praised.

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