'Revealed to Little Ones' by Rev. Jack Peterson
Reprinted with permission of "The Arlington Catholic Herald"
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Matthew wrote to show that Christ
Messiah and fulfilled the Jewish prophecies.
At that time Jesus said in reply, "I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.
"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."
You do not have to be intelligent or rich to be saint. You do not have to be bright to be a good Christian. Everyone has been invited to God's Kingdom, regardless of how we have scored on an IQ test or how well we have built our financial portfolio. In fact, Jesus teaches that it can be more difficult to enter the kingdom of God if we are rich or intelligent. Those of us with a little money or a little intelligence can easily slip into the trap of placing all of our trust in our own gifts or in the things we can buy rather than placing our trust in the Source of these gifts and in the One who alone can make us truly and eternally happy.
The focus of today's Gospel is how God's "little ones" are able to grasp the meaning of Christianity; whereas, the smart and the clever can easily get distracted from what God has revealed to us. Jesus praises his Father, the "Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will." God's little ones are those who recognize their dependence upon God for every good thing. It does not take much learning to recognize this great truth. In fact, God makes it easy, through the gift of his grace, to grasp what Jesus revealed about God and his plan for his children. Everyone of us is capable of recognizing our sins, turning to the Lord for his merciful love and choosing to live our lives as a radical response to the bountiful goodness, love and truth of God. The Lord has not purposefully hidden these things from the wise or the affluent. Rather, some of us find it easy, in the darkness of our pride, to go through life convinced that we have the answers to life's important matters or can solve them on our own.
Interestingly, St. Francis of Assisi discouraged his brothers from much study because he was concerned that learning could distract them from the more important task of living the faith and becoming saints. According to Johannes Jorgensen, a biographer of St. Francis, the lover of poverty responded to a young novice who asked for permission to own a particular book by recounting the lives of several martyrs who suffered heroically for their faith in Christ. He went on to contrast their response to that of the learned by saying: "But in these days there are many who only by telling and preaching about what the saints have done, want to win reputation and glory."
Another problem faced by the learned is that we can become cynical and look down on our less-educated neighbor with disdain and contempt. It is easy to judge our neighbor when we think that they are not learned.
Perhaps we see the sin of intellectual pride most profoundly with regard to the beautiful gift of the Eucharist. Jesus gives the precious gift of Himself, his own body and blood, for our nourishment, encouragement, and worship every Sunday. God's little ones are able to see this gift and rejoice. Many who are learned find the saying hard, and leave the Lord, give us the faith of your "little ones." Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us. Enable us to be poor in spirit, powerfully aware of our need for you. Help us to see You, love You, and honor You in the Eucharist this day.
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