Wednesday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
September 18, 2019
Today, in Mercy, Jesus speaks to us like a frustrated parent.
All of us have seen fussy children, needing a nap, twisting around noisily from toy to toy, satisfied only to swipe the toy another child is playing with.
Jesus compares his resistant listeners to such children. They were not convinced by the austere preaching of John the Baptist. They are not moved by the loving freedom of Christ’s message. They find in both teachings only theories to toy with and toss aside. Because their hearts are hardened by distraction, they cannot find the heart in the truth offered to them.
Oh my goodness! Are we not living in the midst of such hardening distractions? So much in our culture invites us to “play” rather than to relate with our environment, with our lives. Advertising tempts us to get as much as possible out of everything, but to give nothing back. Media thrives by convincing us that we are the center of the universe.
We make a lot of noise when we feel threatened by the quiet truth of our common creaturehood and its inherent demand that we live in reverence for one another and for the God who created us.
John preached a message of repentance from such sinful self-absorption. He lost his head over it. Jesus preached the Word of transcendent love and mutual service. He was crucified for it. Each was seen as a threat to the manipulated Law that had become the refuge of their hardened listeners.
We see the pattern repeated down the long corridors of history, filling its passage with martyrs. We see it in our own day wherever someone tells the truth about the demands of the Gospel.
In our own Church, we see Pope Francis persecuted – even by some of his own bishops – for his call for compassion, mercy, and reverence for every person, for all Creation.
Indeed, we still live in the frenzied marketplace where
“We played the flute for you, but you did not dance.
We sang a dirge, but you did not weep.”
Luke’s final cryptic verse may suggest our deliverance from such frenzy:
“But wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”
Our hearts recognize the Wisdom figures in our world. They have heard the true melody of God in their lives. By steady reflection and good works, they have gone beyond the din of a sinfully distracting culture. The result is inner peace, joy, and salvation, like that of John and Jesus —- and Pope Francis.
May we have the courage to go deep into Christ’s Word to embrace this Truth.
Music: Perfect Wisdom of Our God – Keith and Kristyn Getty