Matthew 11:16-19 (NRSV) “But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
Jesus is fed up. This generation refuses to acknowledge God’s presence and God’s messengers.
John the Baptist is in jail. He wants to know if Jesus “is the one who is to come, or If they are to wait for another?” Jesus’ responds to John’s disciples not by a simple “yes,” but rather he goes on enumerating the acts of healing and liberation that are happening through his ministry. Jesus also tells how John had been one of a kind and a humble prophet, yet people had ignored his message.
Jesus has had it. Thus, he had been having trouble finding an image to compare this generation… “They are like children,” Jesus says. Children that even when playing the flute in the playground, cannot hear the music.
Our times seem to parallel Jesus’ moments of frustration with a crowd that cannot see the deeds of wisdom. We, right now, in the American society of the US live times when “alternative facts” are considered truth. The information that is substantiated by scientists, political researches and experienced analysts is dismissed if it represents a threat to traditional institutions of power rooted in white supremacy. We are that generation that cannot hear the music and the flutes, and like children are trying to make sense of what path to follow to be just, to choose love and compassion. Police brutality continues to go unquestioned, and black and brown bodies continue to be killed because of the mere circumstance of existing in dark skin…
Prayer: “God, let us hear the music of justice. God, let us preach against oppression even if we need to wait another generation to see the fruits of our fight.” Amen.