Parables of Jesus
To whom can I compare this generation? It is similar to children sitting in the square and shouting at their companions: "We have played the flute and you have not danced, we have sang a lament and you have not beaten your chest!" John came, who did not eat or drink, and they said: "He is possessed". The Son of man has come, who eats and drinks, and they say: "Behold, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of publicans and sinners". But wisdom has been recognized as just for the works that it does".
From the time of John the kingdom of heaven was the object of snares and slanders on the part of the Scribes and Pharisees, who with violence took him from the people. In chapter 13 Matthew reports the warning of Jesus to such slanderers: "Woe to you. Scribes and Pharisees hypocrites, who walk the sea and the earth to make one proselyte and, when he has become one, make him twice as bad as you, worthy of the fire of the Geèna". (Mt 13:15).
The Jews believed that the coming of the Messiah should be preceded by that of Elijah, but they had not understood that the prophecy had occurred with John the Baptist, who had come to prepare the way for the Messiah. The enthusiasm due to John's preaching was short-lived as the people, driven by the insinuations and false doctrines of the Scribes and Pharisees, refused to recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah.
This is why, in the face of such obstinacy, Jesus wonders who should compare this generation, that is, his contemporaries Jews, and respond with a simile drawn from the games of the boys, who want to imitate what they saw done by adults during wedding rites and funerals. Some are sitting and playing the flute, as was used at the wedding, and invite others to dance, but these refuse; then the first ones sing gloomy songs, as they used in funerals, and invite others to cry, but for no reason they want to surrender to their desires.
The seated children represent the Jews who wanted less fasting and less austerity, the one instead preached both by John, who led an austere and penitent life, both by Jesus who on the contrary even called Him an eater and a drunkard; and since both John and Jesus did not comply with their arbitrary claims, they condemned them both and did not believe their words. Despite the false appreciation of the Jews, wisdom, that is, the divine disposition that wanted the Messianic Kingdom to be inaugurated in different ways by John and Jesus, was justified, that is to say recognized as excellent and admired by his sons, by the Sons of wisdom , by the Wise Men, among whom the disciples of Jesus and all those who believe in him are undoubtedly counted.
The parable invites us to reflect on our attitude and to ask ourselves if we are like John the Baptist and follow the teachings of Jesus, from whom the crowd flocked because with his Wisdom he succeeded in making the Kingdom's message understood and accepted, or if we are like the hypocrites and like those Doctors of the Law who thought they knew everything and understood nothing, like the Pharisees who could only criticize and accuse others of their mistakes: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for you are like whitewashed tombs outside they appear beautiful to behold, instead they are full of bones of the dead and of every dirt". (Mt 23:27).
Let us reflect on our hypocrisies, let us abandon pretentious princes and unfounded prejudices, and let us entrust ourselves to the teachings of Jesus, so as not to risk being ourselves "outside, right before men, but on the inside full of hypocrisy and iniquity".
To whom then shall I compare the men of this generation, to whom are they like? 32 They are like those children shouting to each other in the square:
We played the flute and you didn't dance;
We sang you a cry and you didn't cry!
In fact, John the Baptist has come who does not eat bread and does not drink wine, and you say: He has a demon.
The Son of man has come who eats and drinks, and you say: Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.
But wisdom has been brought to justice by all his children".