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How Often Is It Me?

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. (see John 8:12) 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

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“To what shall I compare this generation?”  Today’s Gospel reminds us that the words of Christ are cross-generational. Our generation . . .  maybe not like children in a marketplace but not much different, right?

When I read this, it’s easy to turn to the default reaction fed by my own concupiscence — “Wow, look at THIS generation; look at THAT generation.” But Jesus is not asking me to evaluate who and how these people were or how our own generation is. I don’t think He is asking that from you, either. I read this Gospel over again, and I think, “How often am I the scoffer, how often is it me?” When I look at our generation, trying to figure out how we relate to each other, I find many revelations. Some things that are ugly in my own heart, too. Accusations, expectations, judgments, bitterness. They’re all there.

Living out this beautiful faith is a continuous editing process, a never-ending revision meeting, a way to look into the heart of Christ and into the lives of the Saints and say, “Jesus—what is it you ask of me?” Not them, not my generation, but me, personally.

Turn inward, once again, again, and again, holding these words up to your heart like a candle to a stained glass window. Allow our Lord to reveal your defects, and your bad habits, and accept them all. And then allow Him to love you and to change you. Go back into the world—our homes, our work, our social media, our marketplace, with generous hearts soft and ready to love.

Have you looked inside before taking a judgmental stance outwardly? In this season of Advent, how can you soften for our Baby Jesus?

photo credit

Blythe Fike is the wife of Kirby and mother of 7 smallish kids. She loves the quiet life in small town SoCal. You can find out more about her here.

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