“But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In today’s first reading from the prophet Isaiah, in words directed first to the Hebrew exiles in Babylon and then to us, the Lord sends a message of hope; he will teach us what is for our good. “If you would hearken to my commandments, your prosperity would be like a river, and your vindication like the waves of the sea.”
But as is clear from the Gospel, not everyone will accept God’s message. They will find reasons to reject it. They rejected John the Baptist because of his severe asceticism. He is mad, they claimed. They then accused Jesus of gluttony and drunkenness because he ate and drank with tax collectors and those outside the law.
As we approach Christmas, we can ask ourselves whether we are truly open to welcome him, or do we search for reasons not to be so. We pray for courage to be honest with the Lord as we proceed through Advent.
—Fr. Bob Bireley, SJ, is a member of the St. Camillus Jesuit Community in Wauwatosa, WI.
O come, O come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appears.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel.
—Traditional Advent hymn