Jesus condemns the disbelief of those who reject Him. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Counsel from the Holy Spirit so he can receive God’s help to battle against sin and by building the Virtue of Temperance so he can fight against the deadly sin and vice of Gluttony.

Liturgy

2nd Week of Advent – Friday – Mt 11:16-19

Commentary

After mysteriously announcing to a large crowd that the imprisoned John the Baptist is the new Elijah, and by implication, that He, Jesus, is the long-awaited Messiah, Jesus gives a harsh and stinging rebuke of the current generation for their unbelief.   

Jesus publicly rebukes His enemies (Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians), but uses veiled terms to confound their evil short-term plans to kill Him. Humiliating them by comparing them as full-grown men to pouting little children who play yelling games in the marketplace, Jesus speaks of His joyous message (“We piped for you…”) that His enemies reject (“you did not dance”), and the Baptist’s call to repentance (“we wailed for you”) that His enemies also reject (“did not mourn”).  

Jesus reiterates His point about the childish and evil behavior of the Jewish elites by getting specific. While John is an ascetic who fasts and eats little, the Jewish leaders accuse the Baptist as being possessed by a demon. When Jesus does the opposite of John by eating with sinners, the Jewish leaders accuse Him of being a glutton and drunkard, a slanderous lie. Jesus ends with this: Wisdom (Jesus Christ Himself is Wisdom) is justified (proven true as the Messiah) by all her children (those who repent, are baptized and follow Jesus). 

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Reflect upon Jesus, the Divine Prophet, as He condemns those who oppose His mission: despite knowing of the plans of the Jewish elites to kill Him, Jesus Courageously (a part of Fortitude) uses Humor to Mock them for their disbelief; the perfection of Truth (a part of Justice), Jesus Condemns the lies and calumnies against John the Baptist and Him; the perfection of Temperance, Jesus has the Self-control to eat and drink in moderation to sufficiently nourish His body, despite being regularly invited to dine at lavish banquets where gluttony abounds.

Seek the Spirit’s Counsel to battle sin

Realize: Today, there are many false teachers who claim to be Christian but teach ideas in opposition to the truth of Christ, such as the “prosperity gospel”, the idea that nobody goes to Hell, and the presumptuous false mercy of ignoring some kinds of obvious sins; most false teachers typically promise blessings from Jesus but avoid or deny the need for self-examination, repentance from sin, and the hard work of sacrifice to grow in holiness. The true Gospel, preserved by His Holy Catholic Church, makes is clear that men must repent (“to wail”) to be able to encounter Jesus’ joy (“to pipe”). 

Believe: Review the need for Repentance (CCC 541, 674, 1425-1433, 1889, 1226).

Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Counsel so I am guided by You to regularly conduct a deep Examination of Conscience, I recognize my sins, repent, am forgiven and cleansed of my sins in the glorious Sacrament of Penance, and I experience the astounding peace and happiness of being given a fresh clean start by You. 

Fight against the deadly vice of Gluttony

Realize: In contrast to the heroic temperance and mortification of John the Baptist, many men in modern society have fallen into the vice of gluttony and become overweight or obese because they eat too much unhealthy food, drink too much, and live sedentary lifestyles.

Believe: Reflect upon Gluttony and Mortification (CCC 1430, 1805, 1809, 1838, 1866, 2015, 2290, 2549).

Pray: Jesus, the Perfection of Temperance, help me build the Virtue of Temperance so I can battle cravings, overcome gluttony and drunkenness, be moderate in food and drink,  get sufficient exercise and be blessed with vitality and health so I may better serve You and Your Holy Catholic Church.