To the Humble Revealed

Matthew 11: 25-27
Isa 10:5-7,13b-16 / Psa 94

I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.
(Matthew 11:25)

Do not crave for worldly wisdom,
Nor in its glory be fulfilled;
Seek rather to know God’s kingdom,
And its mysteries be revealed.

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.” (Matthew 11:25-27)

Reflection

Jesus seems to be telling us in today’s Gospel passage that God the Father is prejudiced towards those who are smart and intelligent, but reveals His mysteries to the intellectually disadvantaged. The Bible affirms this in the book of Proverbs: “God deals sternly with the arrogant, but shows kindness to the humble” (Prov 3:34), and in the letter of St. James: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (Jam 4:6). In truth, God is not biased against the wise and the learned, but only more compassionate to those who have less in understanding and wisdom. In most cases it is their brilliance and intelligence that handicap the privileged intelligentsia, because they have become proud of their knowledge.

One of the lasting legacies of the Jesuits in drawing young men into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is a week-end seminar called “Days with the Lord” which started in the late 1960’s at the Ateneo de Manila University. One of the seminar’s graduates introduced this spiritual formation to our alma mater in Davao City, and taking a bolder step, decided to invite out-of-school youths from the city’s poorer quarters. More than 35 years later, and approaching Batch #400, the “Days with the Lord” has become a true brotherhood in the grassroots community, devoted to the fellowship and values of “Bro. Jess”, while its school-based more intellectual counterpart has transformed itself into a fraternity, banned by the very religious order that started it. The former remains faithful to the “Blue Book” for its seminars, and is under the guidance and ministry of a Jesuit priest. Its leaders are humble high school graduates, whose speakers share the Word of God in the vernacular, changing the lives of thousands of the unschooled in Davao’s slum areas. Lack of education and resources have not diminished their enthusiasm in sharing Bro. Jess’s love to the disadvantaged, who have opened their hearts and minds to the transforming power of the Gospel. How this movement has thrived and grown can only be the work of the Holy Spirit, and the will of our Lord Jesus to reveal Himself to the least of God’s children.

This grassroots movement is reminiscent of how Christ’s early Church started. Composed mostly of uneducated fishermen and common village folk, their followers grew in number, in spite of the persecutions and lack of a structured organization or even resources. Through the centuries, Christianity has spread to all the corners of the world, appealing to all people, both rich and poor, nobles and commoners, intellectuals and unlettered, testifying to the truth that this can only be the work of God.

God is not selective in inviting us to join His flock. He is merely reminding us that whatever our state in life may be, even if we are illiterate, we have the hope of one day sharing in His glory. And if we are humble enough to accept our limitations, be penitent of our sins, and lift our lives to Him in total surrender of faith, then our way to Him will be greatly assured.

Father God, we praise and thank You for revealing Yourself to us in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. To His Word and to His Church’s ministry, help us to be faithful. Amen.

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