Today’s Gospel really highlights the current state of affairs. Allow me to dive a little bit into the Gospel itself, then I will explain what I mean by that first sentence.
Four things to understand from the current Gospel reading:
1. In Jesus’ time, any Jewish usage of “this generation” is generally not a good one. “This generation” almost always referred to the people contemporary to the prophets, and they’re normally doing something wrong or acting in some inappropriate way that is detrimental to their relationship with God.
2. For Jesus, the elite of his time and their rejection of the Gospel message reminds him of petulant children who refuse to join in any kind of games, no matter how joyfully they’re played or how gravely they’re carried out. This leads to the next point.
3. The message of the Kingdom of God was preached in two very different ways. The adroit comparison between John the baptist and dirge children sing for another tells us that the Baptist’s way of delivering God’s message was quite serious and stern. On the other hand, the comparison is made between the merry games of children and Jesus’ own delivering of God’s message as a bit more “relaxed” and less unbending. Yet, in both instances, the petulant children refused to “mourn” and “dance” all the same.
4. This leads us to conclude that it was the message that was rejected and not the messengers themselves; although the rejection of the messengers would come as a natural consequence if the messengers fully exemplify the message.
The current generation is no different from Jesus’ contemporary generation. We would like to pretend that if the message of Christianity is delivered in a different way, a “more loving” way, that we would take in every word. But nothing is further from the truth. We do not wish the message to be delivered in a more loving way, we simply wish the message to be changed to fit our own wants and wishes. John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis have all delivered the Gospel message in very different ways because their personalities are so different, but their message is one and the same: love God first, love the Church, and love your neighbor. While there is an overwhelming number of us who praise Francis, how many of us would readily admit that we place God before all else in our lives, that we love the Church as we should, and we love our neighbors as God intends for us to love them? Unlike Jesus’ time, we may embrace the messenger of the Lord (although there will be a time soon where we will reject Francis for being too Catholic, I suspect), but like those of Jesus’ time, we are still rejecting his message, even if it is delivered by a loving man.
Let us then resolve to be better Christians by joining the baptist to mourn and Christ to celebrate.
Have a blessed Friday, friends!