Luke 7:31-35 NRSVue

31“To what, then, will I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? 32They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another,

‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not weep.’

33“For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon’; 34the Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ 35Nevertheless, wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”

Some thoughts on this scripture

It would have been almost impossible for a Roman Centurion to put his faith, humbly, in an itinerant Jewish preacher. The culture and politics of supremacy would have ruled out contact, let alone this act of faith and homage. His act of faith, so unexpected and against the culture, was a gift. It made a huge impression on Jesus. Do I find myself, at times, weak in faith, discouraged by the atmosphere and culture around me? What about the gift that the centurion got? Am I open to receive it?

Jesus is trying to find a hearing from the people he is talking to. We can always find reasons for not listening to someone - we criticise some for being too spiritual, others for being too unspiritual. Jesus asks that we look into our own hearts and find the way to conversion from there, without comparisons or condemnation with regard to others. Prayer is one of the fields of conversion in our lives.

Jesus' frustration with his hearers is behind this short group of sayings. He could never please everyone. He knows that he will be accepted in faith by some, and that his way of life will make sense to faithful followers. In prayer we often wonder what he means by some sayings and stories. We are led in the words of Jesus into the mystery of God's communication with us.