Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wisdom's Children

Isaiah 48:17-19
Matthew 11: 16-19

In Isaiah we hear the words “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you for your own good.”

In today’s gospel Jesus points out the fact that there are many people who reject God because He seems so harsh and judgmental, and demands too much self-discipline and self-sacrifice. At the same time, there are those who are proud of how disciplined they are and see religion as the way to establish a social hierarchy with themselves at the top. They reject Jesus because he seems to prefer the company of sinners and does not keep the law as rigorously as they do.

The wise ones that Jesus refers to, are those who recognize the fact that God’s holiness and justice cannot be separated from his mercy and love. They are two sides of the same coin. Indeed! If God’s justice were not absolute there would be no need for his mercy. He could simply turn a blind eye towards sin and pretend that everything was all right even though people were busy abusing each other and destroying themselves.

Fortunately God is not like that. He loves us and desires what is truly good for us. To those who live disciplined lives, he reminds them that pride is one of the deadly sins that can separate them from God for all eternity. Love of neighbor requires compassion. Those who say they love God must reject contempt for the sin that it is.

To those who have allowed the pleasures of this world to dominate their lives, He calls them gently but firmly to think about what they are doing. God will do anything possible, and make any sacrifice to save them from their addictions, but there is no substitute for virtue. All are called to holiness, and by the grace of God all can attain it.