Wisdom from Above

Matthew 11: 25-27
Ex 3:1-6,9-12 / Psa 103

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

How do we show our gratitude
For all the blessings God has given?
We simply change our attitude,
And give with love like little children.

(On one occasion,) Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned, and 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 those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.” (Matthew 11: 25-27)


Today’s Gospel passage might be short, but it tells us a lot about the wisdom of God. Upon reflection, it seems to be telling us that God prefers to reveal His truths to people who have less intelligence, maybe because as the saying goes, intelligent people are too smart for their own good. “Little children” who are not wise in the ways of the world are usually compensated by having a lot of faith. Human wisdom and knowledge often become stumbling blocks to the deeper understanding of God’s ways.

Come to think of it, most of the atheists and agnostics we know come from the intelligentsia, and are usually writers, artists, and philosophers. Most famous of the more tragic ones was Ernest Hemingway, who said, “All thinking men are atheists.” Then there was Virginia Wolfe, the famous English novelist, who committed suicide because she was going insane. This was the same problem of the famous painter, Vincent Van Gogh, who ended his life, too bright for his own good. Then there’s the infamous philosopher, Nietzsche, who said that death was the ultimate liberation. Another agnostic who took his life was Voltaire, who declared that “In one hundred years the Bible will be forgotten and eliminated.” The irony of his life was that shortly after his death, his residence became the headquarters of the Geneva Bible Society, a major distribution center for the Book that he predicted would not last. Everyone knows the famous Mark Twain, who said, “It is not the parts of the Bible that I cannot understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.” How sad that one so brilliant in words could be so blind to the Word of God. Then of course there’s Hitler, the mass murderer who did not spare his own life. All of these brilliant minds were so full of themselves that they found life to be empty and meaningless.

Of course there are probably just as many intelligent people who are blessings to our society, if not to mankind itself. In one web log, I read about a Japanese researcher who developed video games for the Nintendo company’s portable system. For his creation, he was entitled to receive 11 million dollars in royalties. But he donated most of the proceeds for the construction projects in the university where he was working. ‘Not a single yen has gone in my pocket,’ he told the AFP in a recent interview. ‘My hobby is work,’ he said. Everyone in his family was fuming mad at him, but he said, ‘I tell them that if they want money, go out and earn it.’ There was also the case of a Manila teacher who discovered more than two million Pesos in her ATM bank account (a computer glitch, according to the bank’s manager), when she knew she only had a balance of less than Ten Thousand Pesos. She reported the discrepancy to the bank, much to the consternation of her siblings, who mistakenly thought the honest teacher had gone out of her mind.

God is stern to the proud, but is kind to the humble (Prov.3:34). That is because God wants us to depend fully on Him, that we may not be swayed by the temptations of Satan who deceives bright minds with the forbidden fruit of false freedom. By the sin of pride the prince of lies had fallen, so by his lies he plays on men’s pride. Only the humble of heart can receive divine wisdom from the Holy Spirit to understand God as our Father, submitting to His Word with child-like trust and humility. St. Paul shared his perspective of God’s plans when he wrote: “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise… so that no human being might boast before God” (1 Cor.1:27,29).

The families of that Japanese researcher and the Manila teacher thought that their actions were unwise, not to have kept the fortune that had literally dropped into their lives. But they were gravely mistaken. On the contrary, these two were gifted with something more valuable than the wealth of this world: simple but lasting values like honesty and hard work.

We thank You, Lord Jesus, for the lessons that we have learned from Your teachings in the Gospel, lessons that the worldly and the wise of this world ignore in their pursuit of temporal things, but precious to us who believe that they will help us to gain eternal life. Amen.

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