Faith Daily | 11 December 2020
PRAYER of the Week| ADVENT TWO: APBA p.466
who sent your messenger John the Baptist
to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:
give us grace to heed his warning and forsake our sins,
that we may greet with the joy the coming of our Redeemer,
Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 11: 16-19
16“But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, 17‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’ 18For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; 19the 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.”
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by Neville Eckersley
In this short reading there is a significant warning for Christians in all generations, and one to which we must pay attention as it was relevant to Christ and his own message.
Jesus in his actions demonstrated that God’s time, His Kingdom, had come and all were welcome. This was clear from what the angel said to the shepherds outside Bethlehem: “Don’t be afraid! I bring you good news of great joy which will come to all the people…” The Messiah was coming for everyone.
Now when Jesus actually acted on this, as a “friend of tax collectors and sinners,” accepting everyone and eating meals with them, some people were very distressed and even angry. He was not doing what they wanted. He was not being trendy or fashionable, let alone as “religious” as they wanted him to be, that is, keeping away from such undesirables.
When Jesus welcomed everyone, he was not accepting of their bad behaviour. We can see this when the tax-collector Zaccheus had Jesus for a meal. Zaccheus got the message that his life needed to quite different, so he announced he would repay what he had wrongfully taken. This was his real response to Jesus and His message.( Luke 19: 1-10.)
The serious warning for us is in two parts: firstly, we must be faithful to Jesus message that the kingdom of God has come for everyone, and secondly that faithfulness to this message will mean there are times when we will not be trendy or fashionable when truth and justice as fairness are unwelcome in the public sphere.
How can we do this fine balance in our day and in our own lives?
FINAL PRAYER: Ikoli Whyte, Nigeria (British Council of Churches, 1987)
Come to the world!
Yes, God the Creator, come!
Things are not as you created them in the beginning.
Come, God, for it is your help we need in the world.
Peace of mind,
Yes, that’s what everyone wants.
Our need, please God, is true peace in the world.
Peace of mind,
Yes, that’s what everyone prays for.
What is our state in the world?
Come and see how our people are destroying the world,
Without seeking what is in your heart,
Without seeking what is in your mind……
Yes, if we seek peace,
God will grant us peace….
It is peace
that encourages our heart;
and making peace
that is the guarantee of hope.