Jesus’ generation is much like ours, with people ready to take up the gossip on the prevailing wind and believe whatever is being said, rather than working to see the truth and go against the flow when necessary.
Jesus is never one to mince words, and when the situation demands it, he calls out the faults of his listeners. He has one goal in doing this: to get their attention so that they will not MISS THE TIME OF HIS COMING, the hour of redemption. He sees everything from an eternal perspective, the perspective of the whole history of salvation, but his listeners are often like children, subject to their whims and moods at the moment, rather than being awake to objective truth and wisdom.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus compares them to children in the marketplaces, who cannot see things clearly or judge them rightly. They accused John the Baptist of being possessed because he lived a solitary life of fasting and preaching. Because Jesus was “eating and drinking,” they accused him of being a glutton and a drunkard. The people were unable to see that wisdom guided both of their lives completely! Jesus tells us: “Wisdom is vindicated by her works.” And in the end, everything will be clear.
In a world in which trends rise and fall quickly, in which social media facilitates a kind of “mob hysteria” from one moment to the next, in which any opinion can take on the authority of fact because it has a wide circulation, it is important that we “put on the armor of light” (Rom 13:12) so that we can SEE the Truth clearly and are not “carried away by all kinds of strange teaching” (Heb 13:9). In a world of confusion, a world that has no place for objective truth, it is important that we ground ourselves in the One who IS truth so that we can recognize the distortions (and a half-truth can be more dangerous than a lie!).
Each Advent, we have a fresh opportunity to shake off the confusions of the culture and focus fully on the truth: that God loves us, that God comes to dwell with us, that God has a beautiful plan for each of us. In seeking ourselves and all meaningfulness in God, we can act in line with true principles in our very real situations, bringing the Light of Christ to every darkened place.
If we make this our goal, God will provide fresh grace as well, allowing us to do what we long to do for the good of others and for His glory. Maranatha!
Kathryn Mulderink, MA, is married to Robert, Station Manager for Holy Family Radio. Together they have seven children (including newly ordained Father Rob and seminarian Luke ;-), and two grandchildren. She is a Secular Discalced Carmelite and has published five books and many articles. Over the last 25 years, she has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE. Currently, she serves the Church as a writer and voice talent for Catholic Radio, by publishing and speaking, and by collaborating with the diocesan Office of Catechesis, various parishes, and other ministries to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Her website is https://www.kathryntherese.com/.