10TH DECEMBER 2021
THE WISDOM OF BEING GOOD
Readings: Is 48:17-19; Ps 1:1-4 and 6; Mt 11:16-19
In the gospel reading of today, Jesus pours out His frustration with people such as the Pharisees and the scribes who were criticizing Him and John the Baptist. Although they lived their lives differently, the Pharisees and other religious authorities did not accept both of them. As in the time of Jesus, the people in our age have different demands and responses to situations. They have different and sometimes opposing criteria in judging things and situations such that we can never please everybody. No matter what we do, people will always criticize us. They have lots of unreasonable demands from others but which they themselves are incapable of doing.
We need to have Eyes of Faith: God comes to us in many and various ways each day. Sometimes He reveals His goodness to us when He allows us to succeed in life. Other times He permits trials in our lives, so that, we can cling more surely to Him. The proper response to God’s constant action in our lives will only be possible if we can discern that it is indeed God who is acting –– that it is God who is “playing the flute for us” or “singing a dirge for us.” Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, we need the eyes of faith.
Wisdom is Vindicated by Her Works: Despite the rejection and harsh judgments of many, Jesus went about doing good. This is what He meant when He said that;
“wisdom is vindicated by her works.” In the same vein, He also taught that you could recognize a tree by its fruits. Knowing how easy it is to misjudge others, I cannot permit myself to worry about what others may say or think of me. Rather I need to be busy like Jesus, going about doing good. Good actions speak for themselves, even if it may take a while for others to perceive or appreciate them. When we trustfully follow along to the flute or the dirge Our Lord is playing for us, we do so for His sake and for the sake of spreading His message.
Let us be reminded of the golden rule. If we don’t like people to criticize us, then let us stop being critical of them. Instead, let us develop the habit of understanding their situation and continually engaging with them in a positive manner. Thus, even when people judge us unfairly, we know better than, to get mad at them. That means, we are not so much affected by people’s reactions. If we continue to do good, time will come when we shall get vindicated. That is the wisdom of being good. Jesus’ words to the Pharisees must have angered them and perhaps solidified their belief that this man needed “to be taken care of.” How dare Jesus criticize them publicly! Yet I wonder if one or two or three of the Pharisees took Jesus’ words to heart.
In our first reading, Prophet Isaiah assures us that it is the Lord God who teaches us and guides us. We ought, therefore, to not only listen to His commandments but also dance to His tune because we are guaranteed by the Psalmist today that, “He who follows Him will have the light of life”. Advent calls on us to be attentive to the presence of the Lord, and to His call, in and through the various circumstances of our lives, including those circumstances we might be tempted to dismiss as having nothing to teach us. Let us dance to the tune of the Lord.