Friday, December 11, 2015

Reflection: Matthew 11:16-19

Friday of the Second Week of Advent – Matthew 11:16-19

Today Jesus says to his listeners: “To what shall I compare this generation?”  He then states that this generation is “like children who sit in the market place and call out to one another: ‘We played the flute for you but you did not dance; we sang a dirge for you but you did not mourn!’’   Jesus then shifts gears.  He talks about John, who was holy and ascetical.  However, the people criticized him, saying: He is possessed by a demon.”

Jesus then says: ‘The Son of Man came eating and drinking” and they accuse Him of being a glutton and drunkard.  They also criticize Him for being a friend of tax collectors and sinners.  Then Jesus quietly says: “But wisdom is vindicated by her works.”  No matter what Jesus did, in the eyes of the Pharisees, they criticized him.  Everything he did was wrong!  

Jesus’ words to the Pharisees must have angered them and perhaps solidified their belief that this man needed “to be taken care of.”  How dare Jesus criticize them publicly!  Yet I wonder if one or two or three of the Pharisees took Jesus’ words to heart?  Did Jesus’ critical words penetrate into their minds and hearts?  Did his words stay with them and prompt them to look deeply into their lives, their motivation and perhaps their superiority?  

It is so very easy to criticize another person.  We see their actions, we hear their words and we read their expression.  However, we cannot “see” the individual’s heart.  We do not appreciate it when another person criticizes us.  Thus what a great gift it is to “catch” our criticism of an individual and release our criticism of the person.  In this process, we not only give a gift to that person, we also give a gift to ourselves.  Today may we strive to be non-judgmental, loving and gracious.  Who knows?  We may receive a similar gift! 

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