Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gospel for Friday, 2nd Week of Advent

Optional Memorial: St Damasus I, Pope

From: Matthew 11:16-19

Jesus Reproaches People for their Unbelief

(Jesus spoke to the crowds), [16] "But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places and calling to their playmates. [17] `We piped to you, and you did not dance, we wailed and you did not mourn.' [18] For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, `He has a demon'; [19] the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, `Behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds."
16-19. Making reference to a popular song or a child's game of His time, Jesus reproaches those who offer groundless excuses for not recognizing Him. From the beginning of human history the Lord has striven to attract all men to Himself: "What more was there to do for My vineyard, that I have not done in it?" (Isaiah 5:4), and often He has been rejected: "When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?" (Isaiah 5:4).

Our Lord also condemns calumny: some people do try to justify their own behavior by seeing sin where there is only virtue. "When they find something which is quite obviously good," St. Gregory the Great says, "they pry into it to see if there is not also some badness hidden in it" ("Moralia", 6, 22). The Baptist's fasting they interpret as the work of the devil; whereas they accuse Jesus of being a glutton.

The evangelist has to report these calumnies and accusations spoken against our Lord; otherwise, we would have no notion of the extent of the malice of those who show such furious opposition to Him who went about doing good (Acts 10:38). On other occasions Jesus warned His disciples that they would be treated the same as He was (cf. John 15:20).

The works of Jesus and John the Baptist, each in their own way, lead to the accomplishment of God's plan for man's salvation: the fact that some people do not recognize Him does not prevent God's plan being carried into effect.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

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