Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday of the Second Week in Advent

(Isaiah 48:17-19; Matthew 11:16-19)

It is curious to hear people making excuses for not exercising daily. They say that early in the morning they are not ready to move their bodies and that later in the day they are too busy. Or that they are too cold in the morning and too tired in the evening. Doctors, no doubt, wonder if this kind of patient really wants good health.

Jesus feels the frustration of doctors in the gospel passage today. He sounds amazed that the people refuse to repent despite the testimony of God’s best preachers. John, who warned the people to repent or face God’s wrath, was rejected because he lived on grasshoppers and honey. Then Jesus, who preached a similar message of repentance but for the motive of sharing in God’s goodness, is repudiated for eating and drinking with everyone.

We are required to repent and our repentance must be on-going. Perhaps it is more helpful to use the word conversion. The twentieth century theologian Bernard Lonergan wrote of the need for ever deeper conversion. He says that we convert intellectually by knowing ever more deeply through experiencing, understanding, judging, and believing. Then we convert morally by calling good not what satisfies but what corresponds to true value. Finally, we convert religiously by falling in love as God loves which, we may say, is the full realization of sanctifying grace.