Scripture: Lectionary 186. Friday,Dec.13. Isaiah 48:17-19. Psalm 1:1,1-184.108.40.206. Matthew 11:16-19.
We learn of the rejection of both John the Baptist and Jesus in today’s Gospel. Jesus was seen as a bon vivant or partygoer and a drunkard; John was thought to be insane. This is the feedback we have from those who are listening to Jesus on this occasion. He uses an unusual example of children not cooperating with one another in a number of simple games. They are neither dancing nor singing when the skit calls for this; nor are they mournful when it has another setting for their playful game. They are just being nasty and non-cooperative.
Why would Jesus be eating with sinners and attracting tax collectors? He should not be doing this if he were a righteous man. John the Baptist is just the opposite. He dresses in animal skin and eats locusts and then is shouting and ranting without making sense. He definitely is crazy according to the ones who reject both Jesus and John.
Perhaps, we are a little like that when we hold on to our first impressions about people. We judge them in our mind while scrutinizing the way they dress or speak and inwardly say, “I do not want to associate with them.” We may also keep people in the same box we put them in years ago without realizing that they have grown in ways we never expected them to grow. We are like the recalcitrant children when we make such inward judgments about people. Some we dislike at first sight without giving them a chance to show us who they really are. This behavior is nothing new, but it is similar to what was happening to Jesus and John when they were rejected or ridiculed.
At the end of this very short Gospel selection Jesus tells us that wisdom is what really proves who people are and that this takes time to be able to be wisdom like in the way we make our judgments on a daily basis. We hear in the liturgical songs that wisdom orders all things mightily and that she protects her children from useless games that others may play by the way they judge or even relate to someone. Sarcasm and cynicism are far from what wisdom is all about. Advent needs no negativism in the way we relate to one another. It is a season of great hope and extraordinary expectations in the awaiting of a birth of a child who will be Wisdom itself. May we resist the little urchins in our minds and thoughts that want us to be like the little boys and girls in the little parable that Jesus gives us. Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.