Jesus said to the crowds: “To what shall I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children who sit in the marketplace and call to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance. We sang a dirge, but you did not weep.’ For John the Baptist came neither eating food nor drinking wine, and you said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”
If you have a problem in a relationship, it is generally good to express it. And it is even better to try and solve it. For harboring a difficulty inside inhibits the genuine and joyful investment in the relationship. You notice it, the other notices it, and eventually you will have to talk.
This is also true in spiritual life. In fact, an interior inhibition is probably quite frequent in our relationship with God. There always seems to be something that holds us back from being more genuine with Him. We know that, we feel that. And we usually have a couple of handy reasons for that at the ready: I have no time, I will wait for a better moment, I need more rest, I have to go to Confession first, I cannot go to Confession now, I am angry with God for allowing this or that, I cannot feel God, I do not see God, I want to hear God… The reasons are infinite. But listen to yourself: All these are reasons to go and talk to God all the more. If these or similar things are the issue, you will only fix them by going and talking to Him, by investing in the relationship.
Consider the other side of the spiritual relationship for a moment: God’s heart. He perceives our excuses, He hears our complaints, He respects our pain. And He waits patiently, offers small opportunities to reconnect, respectfully tries to reveal Himself. In response, He is often bombarded with yet another volley of lamentations. He only wants to be alone with you for a few moments. He only wants you to remember His unconditional love. He only wants you. “Come back another time” is what He often gets as a reaction. And God’s heart aches.
In today’s gospel, this aching heart cries out. Jesus shows us for just a short instance, how difficult it is for God to please us. Like an artist whose performance leaves the audience entirely unimpressed, like a servant who only tries to cater to the master’s wishes and is still rebuked, like a lover who carefully compiles a plan to win the beloved’s heart only to be repeatedly rejected: God is cold-shouldered by His people time and again. What Jesus uncovers with His comparison is not simply the disinterest of the people who reject and criticize Him; He shows that they hide behind petty and contradictory excuses. Like in a relationship, such excuses blanket the true issue that paralyzes it. While the attention is focussed on these excuses, the true challenge remains unaddressed and the inhibition cannot be loosened. A relationship in such a state is destined to crash. If you have a problem in a relationship, it is generally good to express it. If there is something between you and God, bring it up.