Friday 11 December
Jesus said to the crowds: “To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by her works.”
Some people say that the Bible is no longer relevant. Well, hello! This passage is timeless. It’s like Jesus knew he would be dealing with us thousands of years into the future.
We still admonish one another like this today. In these COVID-19 days, if someone is extremely cautious, we accuse them of being too risk averse. If someone is a risk taker, we accuse them of being reckless. This sort of rhetoric sounds like old school Bible stuff. We’re making the same mistakes as the children in today’s parable. We’re not listening to one another or seeking to understand.
It was easier for people to dismiss John the Baptist, as an eccentric Essene who ate locusts, than it was to listen to his prophetic message. It was easier for some to persecute Jesus’ message of love, and indeed, his very identity, than it was to accept that the Messiah had come.
I don’t think many of us are at our best nearly nine months into the Corona Virus. Many of us have lost loved ones. Some of us have consumed a few more adult beverages than typically imbibed. Some of us are nursing our feelings with Double Stuff Oreos. “Meme-ing” has become both a verb and national pastime because making light of this surreal years is easier than actually dealing with it.
But we know that, “wisdom is vindicated by her works” (Mt 11:19). In Luke’s Gospel, this parable is preserved as “wisdom is vindicated by all her children” (Lk 7:35). This is a somewhat confusing phrase, but it means that John and Jesus are the children of Widsom. The works of John and Jesus are those of divine Wisdom.
But what of our actions? I’d like to think that as the pandemic has gone on, Wisdom is being vindicated in our works, too. People have begun taking care to prepare healthier snacks and beverages. We’re righting the ship, so-to-speak. People are placing more value on family and friends, and the time we can spend together. Prayer has become more commonplace among those who may have strayed from faith, and on-line church services boomed. We have begun to look out for our neighbors, which may be one of the most healing balms of all, and this all harkens back to Jesus’ command to love one another.
What Bible passage speaks to you in 2020 as if it were just written or spoken today for the very first time?