The saying goes that you can judge a person by the company he keeps. Likewise, we tend to judge a prophet (and his message) by who accepts him. In today’s Gospel, Jesus notes that tax collectors and prostitutes were accepting the message of John the Baptist, but not the priests and elders. They did not accept the message, and so they would not do the Father’s will. They may have said “we want to do the Father’s will,” but they weren’t all that interested in the message of what the Father’s will is. After all, how good can the message be if “those” kinds of people are accepting it?
In the movie Ridicule, the main character gets into a game where he trades one-liners with a few others, to see which person can top all the rest. At one point, a person repeats the saying about judging someone by their company, to which the main character replied “Judas kept excellent company.” We may spend time with all the right people and give all the right opinions, but that says very little about the state of our souls. Judas kept excellent company, and so did the priests and elders, while prostitutes and tax collectors did not. What was important was not who they spent their time with, or whether they had all the right opinions, but whether they did the will of the Father.