Year A – Proper 9 – 5th Sunday after Pentecost
Gospel Reading: Matthew 11:18-19 New Living Translation (NLT) 18Â For John didnâ€™t spend his time eating and drinking, and you say, â€˜Heâ€™s possessed by a demon.â€™ 19Â The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, â€˜Heâ€™s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!â€™ But wisdom is shown to be right by its results.â€
Have you ever met someone who says they want to change and get better, but then when you try to help them changeâ€¦ it turns out they really donâ€™t want to change after all? Hereâ€™s an example: Letâ€™s say that I tell you I really want to change my eating habits. I donâ€™t want to eat so much sugar. I know itâ€™s bad for me, and I know that I especially eat too much chocolate. So I say, â€œPlease help me change by not buying any more sweet things, and especially no more chocolate. Itâ€™s too hard to resist.â€ Then the next day, I start looking through all the cupboards for a snack, and I canâ€™t find any chocolate. So I complain, â€œWhereâ€™s all the chocolate? Why didnâ€™t you buy any chocolate? Why are you being so mean?â€
Now, that may sound silly, but believe me it does happen. But do you think that makes sense? How would you handle that? The person who wants chocolate may be saying that they want to change, but deep down, they really donâ€™t want to change. And they are even trying to blame this problem on someone else.
This story about chocolate is just an example of how people can act. But Jesus saw people doing kind of the same thing when he was preaching here on earth. In Matthew 11, verses 18 through 19, Jesus says, â€œJohn (the Baptist) didnâ€™t spend his time eating and drinking, and you say, â€˜Heâ€™s possessed by a demon.â€™ The Son of Man, (thatâ€™s Jesus) on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, â€˜Heâ€™s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!â€™ â€œ Jesus was pointing out that the people who should have been listening to God – through the words of John the Baptist and through the life example of Jesus – those people who needed to change on the inside, did not really want to change. They just wanted to find excuses for not changing their bad behavior. They wanted to look like they loved God, without really acting like they loved God.
After saying this, Jesus adds, â€œWisdom is shown to be right by its results.â€ In other words, your life and the choices you make will show to the world whether you are following God or not. Jesus doesnâ€™t want us to make excuses for not loving certain people. He doesnâ€™t want excuses for us saying mean things to others. Jesus wants us to really want to change, and to let the Holy Spirit make us more like Jesus.
Prayer: Help us to stop making excuses for bad behavior, dear Lord. Please open our hearts and help us to be kind to everyone, especially to those who are having a hard time in life. Help us to be loving and to share Godâ€™s love in all that we do and say.