“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” – Matthew 11:16-19
Have you tossed up your hands in disbelief at times this past year with an incredulous gasp – that lies would be vehemently upheld as truths, that millions would allow perpetuation of a deadly, preventable pandemic rather than accept the responsibility of recommended health measures, that a deadly, violent assault on democracy could be characterized as a peaceful protest? “To what shall I compare this generation!” you may have wondered. I certainly have!
Jesus likened his nay-sayers, the Pharisees, to fickle, obstinate children who would not do the right thing. They could not be pleased by anything contrary to their slavish and narrow understanding of the Law. With both John the Baptist and Jesus, they would see one behavior and automatically demand the opposite. For the sake of the power that they craved to maintain, they sacrificed, renounced, the wisdom Jesus proclaimed by his caring actions among “sinners.” Their “wisdom” was earthly and not “from above.”
James tells us, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity. And the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (3:13-18). Each generation, each of us, must find its heaven-inspired wisdom – or face Jesus’s indictment; every generation must be open to the Spirit’s promptings toward peace, community, inclusion, brother-and sisterhood. May our good works and care for others during this Advent season — and beyond — prove, vindicate, the wisdom that Jesus modeled.
Loving God, help me not to be obstinate, to seek and find Your truth, to be open to wisdom from above, demonstrated in daily acts of care.
Brother Thomas Puccio, C.F.X.
To view the full Advent 2021 booklet in English, click here.
For Spanish, click here.
For French, click here.