18 July
Mt 11:25-27

Jesus said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’

We advise children to “tell the truth and shame the devil.”  Like a lot of advice, it seems to be mainly for giving away.  But we could use some of that advice ourselves: most of the truth in the world is told by young children.  Not far into our lives we begin to take sides on things, and then goodbye truth!  To enter the kingdom of God we have to become like children again, Jesus said (Mt 18:3).  ‘Infant’ comes from the Latin ‘in-fans’: non-speaking.  Language helps us distinguish things, and very soon distinction becomes separation, which then turns into opposition.  Potentially the most destructive opposition is between ‘I’ and ‘not-I’.  In English, ‘I’ is the most frequently used pronoun; and it is written in upper case – “like God!” a Mandarin speaker once said to me.  (It it also a stand-alone word, since English is not an inflected language.)  Language can seduce me into believing that I am somehow divided from everything else, and that everything in the world opposes me…. Then I spend my life mentally protecting and defending this first person singular  -  who in reality would not last five minutes if left without such ‘non-I’ things as oxygen, water, shelter…. 

The ‘little ones’ Jesus spoke of were not just children but the humble, the helpless, the heavy-burdened, those who were ready to hear what he was saying: disciples.  They are the ones who know their need of God and of everything that God gives.  This knowledge may not look like knowledge at all: it can adduce no subtle arguments, no book-learning; but it is, wrote St Paul, “a wisdom that none of the masters of this age have ever known” (1 Cor. 2:8).  It is the wisdom of God incarnate in Jesus. 


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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 


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