Do you ever feel like you have been thrown under the bus?
We know that expression – being thrown under the bus – and perhaps have had the experience of being sacrificed as a friend or ally for a selfish reason. It happens to the man in the gospel twice. Sadly, for him, the first time was by his parents. When questioned by the Pharisees, the risk of losing their status and stature in the Jewish community becomes too great. “He is of age. Ask him.” And right under the bus he goes…
The second time is when the Pharisees refuse to listen to the now healed blind man – as his testimony grows more firm, they have a choice – to either to believe, to follow the truth of his healing to a logical conclusion, (that is – to admit that Jesus is exactly who he says he is) or to throw him under the bus. Under he goes as they kick him out of the synagogue.
So, this week, I had my own “man born blind moment’ in an anonymous letter.
You do not know me and this is, I think, a good thing. Because the concern I have is about a young family in your parish that has stopped attending church.
Some years ago, the agreed to have their marriage validated and had their first child baptized. But now, I am concerned about their not attending and about Baptism for their second child. I am thinking they need some ‘outreach’ by someone from your Church…”
They tell me a bit more and then conclude this way:
“So please, do what you can and I will continue praying for all of you. Sincerely,
a concerned follower of Jesus…”
And suddenly, (gesture) all of us were thrown under the bus.
I am sure the person who wrote this was well intentioned. But they miss the point, not just of today’s gospel, but of the whole enterprise of being a follower of Jesus. It is not about pointing to issues and things that need attention and then concluding that “my job is done here.” It is not about throwing people under the bus. Rather, it is about doing MY/OUR part in testifying to Jesus – of answering that final question asked by the man born blind: “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” And once you have answered, then to live by it. I would like to say to this person (gesture to letter)– “Since you are the one who knows them, then YOU must do your part…”
This week, I suspect all of us will have a moment or two when we have the chance to either witness to Jesus by our actions, or (hold up the letter) throw him under the bus.
To our students fresh off the Luke 18 retreat – this is especially true of you after this weekend.
How will you talk about this weekend to each other? to your parents? to your friends outside of SJM? I challenge you to talk not just about the fun parts of the weekend, but the FAITH parts of the weekend.
How will you LIVE the relationship that hopefully you deepened this weekend? In just a moment, I am going to give each of you a commitment card in three areas – Prayer, Study and Action. And while the rest of the parish is filling out the Beyond Sunday cards, I invite you to fill out this commitment card.
Regardless, though, for all of us, the choice is ours – to be the disciple the Lord has invited us to be by our witness – or to throw Jesus under the bus.