December 11, 2020 – Friday of the Second Week of Advent
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/121120.cfm)
Children are particularly special to Jesus because the Kingdom of God belongs to them. This is because of the characteristics associated to the children. Children express their dependence to adults and tend to be trusting, welcoming and open to surprises. Their simplicity makes them sensitive to God.
Jesus used the image of children in the Gospel, however, this mirrors the attitude of unbelieving people. Children have both strengths and weaknesses. In the parable of the kingdom of God, Jesus pointed to us the strength of being “childlike.” And in today’s Gospel, Jesus emphasized the dark side of becoming “childish.”
Being “childish” reveals our negative and selfish attitudes. A child can throw up tantrums when displeased and does not get what he/she wanted. This attitude of a child is an unconscious form of control and manipulation to get what he/she desired.
Being childish is being selfish to get what we want no matter how unfair that would be to others. Being childish focuses on what “satisfies me” and on what “I can gain.” To be childish prevents us to “listen” to what is more important. It also prevents us to believe and to accept other ideas because we are already convinced of our own judgments and beliefs. Thus, being childish is also characterized by being indifferent.
This was the attitude of those people who rejected Jesus as well as John the Baptist. So, what was Jesus really doing? Jesus was very unconventional because he ate and drank with sinners. He touched and mingled with the sick and the unclean people. Jesus preached a loving and forgiving God the Father. He was from Galilee, from an insignificant town called Nazareth. He was not a well-known intellectual and did not come from a rich and influential family. And all that Jesus did was a threat to the status quo.
The Chief Priests of the Temple and the Pharisees were already contented with the comfort that they had, with the power and influence that they were enjoying. They were privileged people and the ordinary ones would almost worship them. They preferred a strict and unforgiving God because it was through that belief that they could advance their self-interest. They used their position in the society to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor.
That is why; they were against Jesus because he was changing their ways. Their hearts were filled with bitterness, hate, anger and the desire to have more; in other words, they were filled with themselves, worshipping their very selves. This is idolatry.
These were the reasons why they could not accept Jesus or even recognize the presence of God in Jesus. They rejected John the Baptist by accusing him of being possessed by a demon for being different and radical. They rejected and despised Jesus, accusing him for being a glutton and drunkard because Jesus ate and drank with sinners and the poor.
Being childish makes us blind to what God shows us now. This attitude makes us “blind” to what is happening around us today. We refuse to see the suffering of others because we tend to only see ourselves. This attitude would also make us deaf to what God is telling us now. It makes us deaf to the many cries of those who are suffering.
The Lord invites us not to be childish anymore and to turn away from that attitude and become childlike. This is the invitation today, as we continue our journey in this Season of Advent. Let us pray that we may have the courage and the faith to become childlike who can see and hear God in the lives of those who are suffering and among our loved ones. Hinaut pa.