The chief priests and the elders of the people come to Jesus today while he is teaching. In yesterday's reading from the Gospel of Matthew Jesus had cleaned the temple of the money-changers and those who sold doves. These elders and priests ask Jesus just who does he think he is, from where does he claim the authority to do and say the things that he does and says. Jesus replies asking about John the Baptist's missionary work and they equivocate, proving to Jesus and those who listen that they are a bunch of stiff-necked-closed-minded-self-righteous prigs (SNCMSRPs, for those who like acronyms).
Jesus gives them a parable about two sons: one who says nope, and then changes his mind, and the other who says yup, but doesn't do what the father asked. This parable sums up one of the wonders of our yearly season of Advent. We are all given a chance to not be SNCMSRPs. We are all given an opportunity to prepare ourselves for this gift God gives us in the Incarnation. Being human, we can all have, from time to time, a bit of the SNCMSRP in us. Just like the first son, we can reject initially, but God's waiting embrace is always there for us when we decide to turn and walk into that embrace.
Advent is a wonderful time to get a massage to loosen those tightened neck muscles, open our mind to ideas and concepts that we might have initially rejected, and be gracious in listening to others and not be so self-focused. A good parable to think on this Advent.
Copyright 2009, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.