Wednesday of Week 15 of Ordinary Time – Gospel

Commentary on Matthew 11:25-27

Yesterday we saw Jesus severely chiding the people of three cities, where he had shown many signs of his divine origin, for their slowness to believe in and accept him. Today he speaks with warmth and praise of those who have become his followers.

He remarks, in a prayer he makes to his Father, that it is not the learned and clever, the Scribes and Pharisees, the religious experts, but “the infants”, his disciples, who have been graced with understanding the secrets of the Kingdom.  They are infants not only in their lack of learning and sophistication, but also in their openness to hear and learn, a virtue lacking in those who regarded themselves as intellectuals.

This was in fact a reflection on the actual development of the early Church.  It was a grassroots movement which spread most among the lower levels of society and among slaves.  It would not be until later that Christianity spread to the higher echelons and would become the faith also of the ruling elite and the intellectual classes.  As Jesus says today:

…yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.

In growing and spreading in this way, Christianity showed, first, that it was really the work of God.  It worked against powerful forces which tried very hard to obliterate it, but in the end the power of truth and love were too strong for even the strongest opponents.

Second, it revealed the truly catholic nature of the Christian faith.  It was never an exclusive domain of either the political or educated elite.  It has appealed, and continues to appeal, to people at every level of society from intellectual giants like Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and John Henry Newman to the totally illiterate.  Both can sit side by side and together hear the Gospel and celebrate the Eucharist.

Finally, Jesus suggests that knowing him and, through him, knowing the Father is a gift that he gives.  We can all, of course, open ourselves to that gift.  Why some of us do and others do not is something we cannot understand in this life.  It is a gift which is offered, never imposed, and again no one can know who are those who have been offered it and turned it down.

Let us today thank God that we have been among those who have listened and accepted and been graced. But we know we have a lot more listening and accepting yet to do.  Jesus stands at our door and knocks today and every single day.  It is my decision to what extent I open that door and let him come in.

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