Friday, December 15, 2023
Matthew 11:16 - 19
Pushing past the boundaries
John fasted. Jesus feasted. In today’s Gospel, we see their critics didn’t like either one.
As a prophet, John fasted and taught his disciples to fast. He abstained from wine. He took his role in history very seriously, so much so that his critics thought he was an extremist, a fanatic, and demon-possessed.
Jesus did not fast during his earthly ministry, and neither did his disciples. The people he associated with, who fell into the “tax collectors and sinners” categories, needed Jesus, needed his message of love and mercy. So they shared meals, and Jesus’ critics said he was a glutton and a drunk.
Like the petulant children in the parable, we see through our own lens, interpreting people’s words and actions and judging them based on our preconceived ideas. John pushed the boundaries to spread the message of repentance, a message some embraced and others rejected. Jesus pushed the boundaries by freely and openly inviting everyone to the party, even what society considered “least desirable.”
Both men had one goal: to prepare everyone for the coming kingdom and to invite even their worst critics into a relationship with Christ. Their methods were different. But their love for humanity was the same. Maybe that is why Jesus said that “wisdom is vindicated by her works.”
Try this: Many of the readings this Advent are from Matthew chapter 11. Take a few moments to read that chapter and see the readings in context. It will be an eye-opener.
Jesus, I ask you for the grace to open my mind and heart to accept where you are guiding me this Advent.