July 16, 2008
Wednesday of the fifteenth week in Ordinary Time
Matthew 11: 25-27
At that time Jesus exclaimed: "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.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you; I know that you are present here and everywhere and are always looking out for me and guiding me. I trust and hope in you, because I know you will never lead me astray, if only I listen to you and obey you. I love you for being so good and patient with me, and I desire to live each day more faithful to you.
Petition: Help me, Lord, to learn how to pray constantly and to be before God like a child before his father – full of confidence and docility to his will.
1. Prayer from the Heart The passage we reflect on today directly follows yesterday’s passage in Matthew’s Gospel. The transition seems abrupt, but this spontaneous overflowing of praise shows us something profound about Christ: No matter what is going on around him and how people treat him, in his interior he is constantly praying and has a profound joy. He lived constantly aware of his Father’s presence. This sudden vocal prayer is not a change of direction for him; it is a manifestation of his underlying union with the Father, which is the light in which he perceives all the rest. If we cultivate a habit of prayer, always seeking to be united to God and live in his presence, we will experience that same deep internal peace and the ability to recognize God’s will in all things.
2. Becoming like Little Children The first two sentences of our Lord’s words tie in with the previous passage. Jesus praises the Father for the way he reveals himself to the “childlike” – those who are humble and trust in him – and hides himself from the proud. The Pharisees and Sadducees were considered the “wise and learned”, yet many of them rejected Jesus. Even Nicodemus, who accepted Jesus, was afraid to follow him publicly. God respects human freedom, and he will not force himself on those who feel self-sufficient and don’t want his help. However, he is always there for those who recognize their need for his love, grace and guidance.
3. Jesus Keeps Nothing from Us The last two sentences are directed not to the Father, but to Jesus’ disciples, perhaps as an explanation for that sudden, vocal, yet intimate moment of prayer. Those around him must have been wondering how and why Jesus would suddenly break into prayer and praise like that. Jesus gives them the explanation. The profound confidence and unity of love between Jesus and the Father is the result of Jesus’ divinity as the Son of God, and no one else has that relationship with the Father by right. It can be had only by those to whom the Son wishes to reveal him; and by implication, in sharing this moment of prayer with them, Jesus has chosen to do just that. If it’s true that the Father gave everything to the Son, it’s also true that the Son held nothing back from us, not even his most intimate communication with the Father.
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I want to be numbered among the childlike, not the proud who vaunt themselves for their human talents. I know we are all very small in your sight and nothing to be proud of, because anything good we have, we have received from you. Thank you for revealing the Father to us and teaching us that we can pray to him always and everywhere, and that we will be received as children by our loving Father.
Resolution: Today I will make an extra effort to maintain my interior peace and contact with God, my Father.
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