the games people play
"They are like children squatting in the town squares, calling to their playmates." —Matthew 11:16
Jesus compares us to children who are upset because their playmates won't play their games. The first game the children wanted to play was called "dance" (Mt 11:17). Most children love to dance, but their playmates didn't play. Next, they wanted to play a scary game like "funeral" (see Mt 11:17). Children will copy almost any adult activity, even a funeral. Again their playmates didn't want to play. This upset the children, and Jesus says we are like those children.
The people of Jesus' time wanted John the Baptizer to play the game "relax." John decided to fast instead. They wanted Jesus to play "self-righteousness." Jesus refused to play and instead ate with tax collectors and sinners. This made the people angry, and they rejected both John and Jesus.
Many people today love to play games called "self-deception," "self-indulgence," and "self-fulfillment." Jesus again refuses to play. Instead, He calls us to repentance, self-sacrifice, and carrying our daily cross. This turns us off; we feel like rejecting Jesus.
What games will we play this Christmas? What will we do if Jesus refuses to play? Will we reject Jesus and try to have Christmas without Him?
Prayer: Father, may I quit trying to boss Jesus around.
Promise: "I, the Lord, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go." —Is 48:17
Praise: Pope St. Damasus continued to inspire others after his death by the proclamation on his tomb affirming both Christ's resurrection and his own.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our leaflet on Accepting Jesus as Lord, Savior, and God or on audio AV 43-1 or video V-43.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 4, 2009
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