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Do the Right Thing, Regardless of What They Think

First Reading: Isaiah 48:17-19

Thus says the LORD, your redeemer,
the Holy One of Israel:
I, the LORD, your God,
teach you what is for your good,
and lead you on the way you should go.
If you would hearken to my commandments,
your prosperity would be like a river,
and your vindication like the waves of the sea;
Your descendants would be like the sand,
and those born of your stock like its grains,
Their name never cut off
or blotted out from my presence.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4 AND 6

R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.

Gospel: Matthew 11:16-19

Jesus said to the crowds:
“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.”

NAB

dec 11

When my oldest son was two, or two and a half, he would frantically want to eat the food that I was eating. God help us if and when I consumed the actual item of food he deeply achingly wanted. That chip was gone for good, and no amount of waving other chips in his face would alleviate his attachment to the one that got away. Yet moments before I had thoroughly put that chip away, I had offered t to him. He refused. It wasn’t until he couldn’t have it that he was beside himself.

In today’s Gospel, Christ must have experienced a little bit of this chip-mania Himself with the fickle crowds.

John’s way hadn’t pleased them. Christ’s way didn’t pass muster either. Like children vacillating in their passionately misplaced views, the people of Israel were looking to be outraged, regardless of what it was that actually transpired.

Christ finishes that “wisdom is vindicated by her works.” Does this mean that what we do will rise above what people think about what we do?

Perhaps our choices matter more than the reaction of those around us. Are you facing reprisal for being Catholic in the workplace? Do colleagues think it’s weird you aren’t living with your boyfriend or girlfriend? Do they think your number of kids is too high//low? Do they think going to Mass on Sunday instead of the game makes you the party pooper? Is that Rosary around your rear view mirror just too weird for your non-religious friends? What about the Scapular you wear? Keep doing your thing. You’re vindicated by your works.

Ultimately, closeness to God is choosing to be with Him, near Him, and of Him. Regardless of the popularity of our choice. Following God’s commandments is the right thing to do.

If you’re struggling as we all do with figuring out how to live according to the commandments, make an appointment with a priest you know or someone recommends as a great counselor. Talk with him about it. Find a small group in your parish. Don’t be shy about asking for help and support to feel supported in your Catholic lifestyle.

photo credit

Nell O’Leary is an attorney turned stay-at-home mom to three lovelies. She and her husband live in the great city of Saint Paul. You can find out more about her here.

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