Friday of the Second Week of Advent
(Isaiah 48:17-19; Matthew 11:16-19)
For those who do not want to exercise, there is always an excuse. On a weekday, they say they need to get to work. On a weekend, they say they need their rest. In today’s gospel Jesus makes known two excuses his generation uses for not repenting of sin. He says they are like fickle children who always want to have their way.
In Matthew’s gospel both John the Baptist and Jesus preach the exact same message. They tell the people, “’Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.’” It has been said that conversion (another word for repentance) is what the Christian life is all about. People must repent continually to reach the perfection of children of God. However, their reluctance to do is made manifest in the excuses they give. In today’s gospel, the excuse is that the preacher is either a reprobate or an ascetic. In either case they indicate that he is unreliable to follow.
We make such excuses for not repenting at our own peril. As today’s first reading indicates, we lose when we follow our whims rather than repent of our faults. It often hurts to change our ways. But once it is done, our joy should eclipse any pleasure that we gave up. Now is as good a time as ever to change our ways. True, Advent is not as penitential as Lent. Nevertheless, we can hear during these four weeks both John and Jesus calling us to repent.