Today it seems that we are once more being called to attend to messages that offer us clear directives for good living in a succinct and understandable way. I use the plural “messages” but in the end I see all three readings as constitutive of an overarching theme.
Isaiah (48: 17-19) proclaims God’s willingness to teach us what is for our good if we would hearken to God’s commandments. (The rewards are all nature images – beautiful and worth your time to read.) Next, Psalm 1 tells us that if we meditate on and delight in the law of the Lord, we will prosper (again – interestingly – with nature images).
What this says to me is that we’re called to a consistent and steadfast attention to discernment of what is for our good and what is not, if we are to learn wisdom. It doesn’t help to observe the practices of others and thereby judge them. Truth is the measure of what we learn in the silence of our hearts. After the advice of Isaiah and the psalmist, we hear Jesus speak in rather stark language about this. Listen to what he says.
“To what shall I compare this generation? It’s like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, ‘We played for you but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by her works.”
What do you make of all this?