Second Saturday of Advent
Reading: Grab your bible and read Matthew 21:28-32
Today’s reading offers a tough parable which Jesus told to confront the religious leaders with their failure to recognize God’s message through John the Baptizer and God’s coming in Christ. In this section of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus challenges the religious leaders of Israel because, although they think they are part of God’s Reign, they have missed the point. Though they think that “sinners” are being excluded, through Christ the rejected ones are discovering God’s love and life. It’s an important warning, especially as we reflect on God’s coming through this Advent season. We may be tempted to think that God is only coming to “us” and those who are like us, but Jesus makes it clear that God comes to all people, and if we become complacent and self-righteous, we might just miss the signs of God’s Reign when they’re right in front of us.
The tragedy of the Gospels is that, as Jesus pointed out with respect to John’s message, these religious leaders failed to heed the warnings they were given, and they never did learn to recognize God’s coming to them. They could have shared in the wonderful liberation of God’s reign, they could have discovered a new life together with those that they had previously thought of as unworthy. But, instead, they clung to their own view, and they missed God.
In what ways are you like these religious leaders, clinging to your view of how God works, and closed to any radical, new ways God might be revealing God’s Self to you? In what ways are you different from them - more open to the radical inclusivity of God’s reign, and more aware of the challenging message of the Gospel? How can you be even more mindful of God’s presence and grace in your life and those of others?
Sometimes your love is offensive. Sometimes I find you loving and accepting and welcoming those whom I think are unworthy - those who live or believe or worship differently from how I believe they should. But, then you remind me that it is only your grace that gives me a place in your Reign, and so the same must be true for everyone else. And, if that’s the case, then I don’t get to say who is “in” and who is “out”. I only get to learn to love and serve the ones who are around me, whoever they may be. Thank you for your grace and love. And thank you for teaching me the welcoming ways of your Reign. ~ Amen.