This is the 13th in a series of daily Advent reflections based on the Daily readings. To see the other posts in this series click on the Advent Reflections link above, or in the right-hand sidebar under categories.
Today’s reading is Matthew 11:16-19 click on the link to read the full text from the Oremus Bible Browser.
When we first saw this building in Paris, I thought, “Wow, that is some creative architecture” – well something like that. Then I realized we were looking at a building renovation site. They drape buildings under renovation in these shrouds which have distorted images of buildings printed on them. It’s a bit like walking through one of those hall of mirrors at the funfair. It’s a great way to make the building site look more attractive and actually becomes an attraction in itself. But it is a bit disorienting until you figure out the secret.
I sometimes think we have a similar problem when we try to think about things like Advent and the second coming of Christ – or the Kingdom of God. We have an image of what things should be like and get disoriented when we hear or see something different.
In today’s reading I think we are hearing Jesus showing quite a bit of frustration at the ‘blindness’ of the people around him; their unwillingness to accept the truth of what they see. They were flocking to see his great deeds. They wanted to receive his healing touch. But they didn’t want to accept his idea of Messiahship. They really wanted a strong military leader who would help to unite the people of Israel and lead them to a violent victory over the Roman occupiers. Jesus, on the other hand was teaching about non-violence and about loving one’s enemies. Many couldn’t understand how he could act like a regular person, eating and drinking, partying and socializing with the outcasts of society like tax collectors and other ritually unclean people.
Jesus, knew that the best way to reach people is through hospitality, by inviting people to belong, by accepting them for who they are! Imagine the joy of many of these people who the religious majority had ostracized, to be invited to eat and drink with this amazing rabbi. Jesus was demonstrating by these actions the coming Kingdom of God. He often referred to it as being like a banquet thrown by a king. All are invited to the banquet.
Advent is a good time for me to take time to reflect on my own blindness. Am I seeing straight? Am I seeing only what I want to see. Can I recognize there is wonderful restoration work going on under the shroud that seems to be covering society today? And will I be ready to take my place at the banquet?