Neither Dancing Nor Mourning

Matthew 11:16-19
Isa 48:17-19 / Psa 1

But wisdom is vindicated by her works.
(Matthew 11:19)

Who judges by appearances
Will not see the fruits the wise discern;
Work to resolve our differences,
And God’s wisdom is the prize we’ll earn.

Jesus said, “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge and 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.”


The Pharisees and their cohorts were always quick to find fault with Jesus and John the Baptist, who also condemned them (Mt.3:7). Both Jesus and the Baptist were preaching repentance, but the Jews’ religious leaders saw themselves as righteous. Jesus and John refused to conform to their structured forms of worship, and the Pharisees were too proud to abandon them and submit to Jesus’ wisdom. In spite of the many miracles that Jesus performed in their midst, and the irrefutable truth of His words, they still remained as stubborn as the undisciplined children in the marketplace, who only wanted others to follow them in their foolish charades.

At times we can be like foolish children too, when we refuse to trust the wisdom of God’s hand in the midst of difficult circumstances. We only believe after God has manifested His miracle. We still doubt, even if time and time again in biblical history, God has shown us that faith is more important than knowledge.

Why are we always sceptical about things done outside our conventional ways of doing things? Jesus exhorts us to be creative, to get out of our comfort zones, to be bold and look beyond our normal routine, be more dynamic in our outlook in life.

People who are creative and willing to face challenges everyday live longer and fuller lives than those who prefer to remain in the “safe side” of life. The latter eventually become lethargic or bored with their static lifestyle and fall victims to depression, stroke, cancer, or other maladies of the inactive.

The “Associates of the Missionaries of Charity” were helping the Sisters distribute foodstuffs to the poor residents of Babak in Samal Island one day. They were very impressed with the methodical way the Sisters were able to draw out the poorest to be served. They simply went house to house days before, distributing claim stubs to selected beneficiaries. More than six hundred people filled the church before the gift-giving. After celebrating holy Mass, the numbers were called, and the people queued up to receive the donations of mercy. The helpers were worried that the truckload of foodstuffs (rice, noodles, plastic water pails, soap, towels, and snacks would not be able to satisfy the big number who attended. As it turned out, they had such little faith. There was even enough left over for those who came without claim stubs!

Teach us, Lord, to be more discerning, instead of harbouring doubts; to be more trusting, rather than be sceptical in the face of trying circumstances. Let no negative feelings toss us in waves of uncertainty, so that our faith in Your promises will never falter, but will grow stronger and be useful in following Your holy will. Amen.

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