Infant Jesus & John the Baptist by Murillo

Infant Jesus & John the Baptist by Murillo

In today’s Gospel, Jesus challenges our indifference to both the joy he offers as well as the penitential preaching of John the Baptist.

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.’

John the Baptist came to prepare the world for the arrival of the Savior.  He preached the need for conversion and offered a Baptism of repentance.  Do we allow the preaching of the Baptist to still move our hearts today?  Do we recognize the need for conversion in our own life?

Jesus came as the Son of God, who took on our human flesh.  He came among us to preach the Kingdom of God.  He walked among us offering compassion and mercy to sinners and healed many infirmities.  He ate and drank with tax collectors and sinners, offering them the friendship of God.  He died on the cross for the salvation of the world.  He rose from the dead to restore us to life.

Do we allow the presence of Jesus to stir our hearts?  Do we desire his friendship, his love, his mercy and forgiveness?  Do we allow his teaching to stir our imaginations and lives for a more meaningful life?  Or do we remain aloof and indifferent to wisdom, content with the numbing effect of things that are fleeting?

A wisdom is offered us by both John the Baptist and Jesus.  On the one hand we are called to wisely acknowledge our sins and to be stirred to fast in repentance and contrition.  On the other hand, we are invited to feast at the banquet with Jesus himself.

Advent offers us the grace to wisely heed the voice of the ‘one crying in the desert’ to turn away from sin.  At the same time, the melodic voice of Jesus is calling us to a joyful life in his service and company.

Let us accept the invitation to walk with the Lord, that he may stir our hearts to greater love through this earthly pilgrimage, until we arrive at the fullness of life in the eternal Kingdom.