First reading Isaiah 48:17-19

If you had been alert to my commandments, your happiness would have been like a river

Thus says the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
I, the Lord, your God, teach you what is good for you,
I lead you in the way that you must go.
If only you had been alert to my commandments,
your happiness would have been like a river,
your integrity like the waves of the sea.
Your children would have been numbered like the sand,
your descendants as many as its grains.
Never would your name have been cut off or blotted out before me.
 

Responsorial Psalm 1:1-4,6 

Anyone who follows you, O Lord, will have the light of life.
 
Happy indeed is the man
  who follows not the counsel of the wicked;
nor lingers in the way of sinners
  nor sits in the company of scorners,
but whose delight is the law of the Lord
  and who ponders his law day and night.
 
Anyone who follows you, O Lord, will have the light of life.
 
He is like a tree that is planted
  beside the flowing waters,
that yields its fruit in due season
  and whose leaves shall never fade;
  and all that he does shall prosper.
 
Anyone who follows you, O Lord, will have the light of life.
 
Not so are the wicked, not so!
For they like winnowed chaff
  shall be driven away by the wind:
for the Lord guards the way of the just
  but the way of the wicked leads to doom.
 
Anyone who follows you, O Lord, will have the light of life.
 

Gospel Matthew 11:16-19

They heed neither John nor the Son of Man

Jesus spoke to the crowds: ‘What description can I find for this generation? It is like children shouting to each other as they sit in the market place:
 
“We played the pipes for you,
and you wouldn’t dance;
we sang dirges,
and you wouldn’t be mourners.”
 
‘For John came, neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He is possessed.” 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 has been proved right by her actions.’
 
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Recognising God’s presence

In today’s gospel, Jesus compared His contemporaries as children in the marketplace who refused to dance neither to a happy tune nor a  sad tune. In the same way, His contemporaries stood apart from Jesus as well as John the Baptist. They criticised John the Baptist for being  too austere and thus, dismissed his message. They regarded Jesus as a glutton who goes around eating with sinners and so rejected His message. Due to their own prejudices, they closed themselves to God’s presence. “Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds”. Indeed, God’s  wisdom, which is not of this world’s, is seen in both the words and deeds of John the Baptist and Jesus. Only those with humble faith would  perceive God among them.
 
In this Advent time, let us be open to the many different ways that God wants to come to us. He can come to us in times of fasting and  feasting, in times of mourning and rejoicing. May we never reduce God to our narrow understanding but exercise our faith to recognise His  presence in the journey of our lives.
 
Question for reflection:
How can I grow in my openness to the ways that God comes to encounter me?
 
 
Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year C” by Sr. Sandra Seow FMVD.