DIFFERENT STYLES, SAME MESSAGE
“But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; 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 is proved right by her deeds.” (Mt 11:16-20)
This passage tells me that there are different forms and styles of Christian life and Christian ministry. Jesus mainly lived and walked among the people, “eating and drinking,” as it says here, and being “a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” St. John the Baptist, on the other hand, was a desert-dweller, practicing severe asceticism. And yet, both carried the same “wisdom” or message, as the Lord indicates here by saying “we” (“We played the flute for you…”). And both were judged harshly, specifically for their lifestyle, and not for their message, by the “generation” Christ is talking about here.
So various people can lead a life of faith in various ways, according to their own character and gifts. I shouldn’t be quick to judge someone else’s character or approach, just because it disagrees with my preconceived notion of what a life of faith looks like. God’s voice and His wisdom can be spoken to us through various people and also various art forms, like music in different styles, or humor, or tragedy, or something else. Let me listen for His message today, rather than judge the messengers.