The Gospel, according to Luke (7:31-35)
Jesus said to the crowds: “To what shall I compare the people of this generation?
What are they like? They are like children who sit in the marketplace and call to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance. We sang a dirge, but you did not weep.’
For John the Baptist came neither eating food nor drinking wine, and you said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”
REFLECTION: In our Gospel today, Jesus challenged those who failed to have the proper human response at the right time when it says; “We played the flute for you, but you did not dance. We sang a dirge, but you did not weep.” The image of playing a flute and singing a dirge (hymn) and the failure to dance and weep reveals a certain failure that many people had in connecting to John the Baptist and to Jesus Himself during their ministries.
In commenting upon this, in today’s Gospel passage, Saint Augustine says that John the Baptist’s preaching was like a dirge (hymn) that called people to the “weeping” of repentance. However, when he preached, there were many who failed to respond with the appropriate repentance. When Jesus came, He preached and gave witness to the new life of grace that He came to offer. Though some listened and responded to Him, there were many who did not. Jesus’ message was like the music of the flute that was to inspire people to “dance.” But many failed to respond with the joy that they were invited to experience and live through His transforming message and grace. In the book of Ecclesiastes 3:1 it says, “There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.” The mission we have been given is to be attentive to that time in which God is speaking to us at each and every moment of our lives.
Well, the crowds in today’s time are not that much better in connecting with Our Lord Jesus Christ – St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta said; “Sometimes we think that we don’t hear God’s voice. Not because He isn’t speaking, but because We have the volume of the world way too loud.” At times we must “weep” by looking at our sins honestly, experience the horror of those sins, and reject them with all our heart. As we do when we go to Confession; “O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee…”
And other times we will “dance” when God invites us into His consoling grace and asks us to see clearly His merciful love. At those moments we are invited to be deeply grateful and to express that gratitude with our whole souls. Those can be moments in which we allow our souls to become sensitive to the signs of grace and as a result we may respond accordingly. Seeking to align our souls to the Cross of Our Lord Jesus so that we may live and experience the life that God places before us each day in accordance with His perfect will.
Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and Companions, did not failed to hear and danced to God’s dirge after encountering Christ. They chose Him over the rest in society. God rewarded them with eternal life, and death became their gain for God. They became so deeply devoted to Christ that nothing, not even death, deterred then from following Him. May the hope that they witnessed gives you and me, the inspiration to become saints like them.
ACTION FOR THE DAY: Reflect, today, upon the calling you have been given to live in a well-ordered way – childlike and not childish. Do so by considering how attentive you are to the people around you. Does the attentiveness of your charity help you to see the hurt within the hearts of those who are suffering? Are you compelled to offer them a compassionate ear and merciful heart? When others are experiencing the joys of life, are you able to share that joy with them? Can you do so fully, without jealousy or envy of any kind? When God inspires you to some act of conversion and offers some grace, do you listen and promptly obey, responding in the most appropriate way?