It may come as a surprise to many that Jesus was not successful, at least in the ways in which we are inclined to measure “success.” He was a wise teacher and a miracle-worker, and at times he drew large crowds. But he also encountered opposition, right from the very start of his ministry, and from the most religious people of his day. Most people were simply indifferent. When the crowds realized that he wasn’t what they expected him to be, and that he wouldn’t do what they expected or hoped he would do, they turned away. And not all who were attracted by his clever stories and powerful deeds became faithful followers. Even his closest, most trusted friends often disappointed him, and abandoned him when times got tough. He died alone, except for a few faithful women who stayed to the end.
In today’s gospel, we get a glimpse of the frustration he felt from time to time when he encountered the indifference of the crowds and the opposition of religious leaders. “To what will I compare this generation?” Jesus asks. “It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,