The Gospel according to Mathew (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.”
Opening Prayer: Heavenly Father, I believe that you have something to say to me today. You know how much I need you! Open my heart to your Spirit and fill my life with your grace. I believe that you are good and wish to draw me closer to you. I trust in you, even though I don’t always understand your plan. Help me to draw closer to that mangerside on this Advent journey so that when you do come, I may receive you with a heart full of love.
Encountering Christ: What we have here is the ugly sin of calumny. Calumny is the intentional twisting of facts so as to misrepresent the truth. Basically, calumny is a lie meant to do harm to another.
Jesus points out that both He and John the Baptist were ridiculed and falsely accused of being sinful. John, for example, fasted much which was quite virtuous. But the Pharisees interpreted it as the work of the devil. Jesus spent time at many people’s homes as a guest and He was accused of being a glutton and drunkard.
When someone gives into calumny, they often look at some virtue in another and twist it some way so as to deceive and misrepresent the truth. And it is often done out of envy or jealousy.
This sad situation should be an opportunity for each of us to look at how honest we are in our relations with one another. When you see goodness in another are you able to rejoice in that fact? Are you able to honestly give thanks to God for their goodness? Or do you immediately start to interpret their virtue in a false way?
Reflect, today, upon the way you look at others around you and, especially, how you speak about them. Look at their virtue and try to honestly honor them for it.
Closing Prayer: Lord, help me to see others in the light of humility and truth. Help me to see their goodness and virtue and to rejoice in it. Strip from me any falsity and calumny. Jesus, I trust in You.
Action: Lord, today by your grace I will strive to let my faith, my words, and my actions be authentic and coherent.