In the verses that precede today’s Gospel from Matthew, Jesus has pronounced woes on the cities where he has performed miracles, deeply disturbed, perhaps even saddened that so many have not been open to the breakthrough of the Father’s compassion revealed in his mighty deeds. They missed it all. Apparently God in Christ wasn’t big enough to meet their expectations.
But in this morning’s passage there is a lightness in Jesus’ heart, as he exclaims, "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 little ones.” These little ones are ne’pios, in Greek- infants, helpless little children. Jesus rejoices because they cannot depend on their own wisdom, sophistication or intelligence but know only how to love and depend on their Father.
To them the Father reveals- literally uncovers- the hidden mysteries of the kingdom. Their loving, indeed their need for love transforms them; their burdens are light, born out of love. Jesus is first among these little ones of the Father; he is the Littlest One, for he has emptied himself and taken the lowest place; his only food to do what the Father desires.
Jesus invites us back to a place of immense littleness, where with wonder and deep reverence, we will be one with him and so truly children of the Father. Perhaps he is even inviting us back to what we might call the anguish of littleness. Not to put us down, but because he knows the immense freedom that is hiding there beneath our frustrations and defeats and surrender. He points to a treasure hidden in that low place where we can only depend on God our Father to provide for us. He knows, because this is how he lived and died and rose. A treasure is there because God understands; God is waiting to meet us down there in a low place, welcoming our need of him.
During this coming week the community will be on our annual retreat. We promise our prayer for those who follow our blog. Please pray for us.
Photograph of the north road by Brother Brian.