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.” — Matthew 11: 16-19
Advent offers us a chance to take stock of the state of our souls. This thought experiment isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s worth doing. Ask yourself, “If people were to meet me, knowing that I’m a Christian, would they say, ‘I want what he [or she] has!'”
If we are falling short of that goal, perhaps it’s a good time to reflect on what might be preventing us from being the person we want to be. To put it another way, are we living our lives in such a way as to prevent Jesus from transforming us into images of Himself?
One area in which we may be setting up obstacles to our own spiritual growth is our behavior on social media. Even people who think of themselves as Christians, and are defenders of the worthiest of causes, can be the authors of snide remarks and clever put-downs on social media. While we may not be taking part in it ourselves, how often do we find ourselves laughing along, as someone has just been “served” for making an ill-advised comment?
In this passage from Scripture, Jesus addresses the Pharisees, and accuses them of judging John and Jesus by the company they kept. Are we guilty of this too? Ask yourself, “How often do I judge others? Am I quick to dismiss people because I think they fit into a certain category, or have a particular political opinion I think is wrong-headed? Do I have an open mind when I meet people, both on social media and in person?”
If you aren’t entirely happy with your self-assessment, the good news is there is still time to change, and we have the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist to help us.
Grant that your people, we pray, almighty God,
may be ever watchful
for the coming of your Only Begotten Son,
that, as the author of our salvation himself has taught us,
we may hasten, alert and with lighted lamps,
to meet him when he comes.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.