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Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

“Come here, come on, you can do it!”

These are words every parent, and if you’re lucky, grandparent gets to say to a stumbling toddler as they learn to walk.

“Come on, walk to my arms.”

This is the tone of our gospel passage, but unlike the friendly face of a parent or grandparent coaxing a toddler to take up and walk, this calling from Jesus, as we well know, is oftentimes misunderstood. If the person calling isn’t known and the child refuses the invitation, the best we can hope for is the one learning to walk grasps on to what is familiar, but the worst is they venture out on their own.

As I read our gospel passage for this week, the first section had a phrase that I haven’t been able to shake; “Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” (NRSV, 11:19)

Wisdom. Well, what is wisdom and what does that mean? Can I ever convince someone that I am wise, and they are not? What does it mean to be wise in the ways of Jesus and his Kingdom? That seems to be one of the central questions from this week’s gospel, but not left without some direction. Let’s see if we can get some help as to what it means to have our actions clarify whether we are wise or not to the things of God.

We need to begin by taking another glance at the gospel passage from last week. Realizing that Matthew is seeking to encourage those living in the way of Jesus, he tells them not to worry, there are those who have fallen for the Kingdom’s sake, but if a sparrow doesn’t fall outside of my Father’s watch and care, he hasn’t forgotten you (10:28-29). I know your families have been torn apart, but remember Jesus told us that he would not abandon us. (10:34-39).

The second half of last week’s gospel speaks of welcoming, and how this is connected to the mission of God (10:40-42); welcoming a prophet, the righteous person, and giving a cup of cold water to the little ones. There is a sense that those living in the way of Jesus are hospitable, good neighbors.

“Wisdom is vindicated by her deeds”. (11:19b)