CYCLE II: HOMILY FOR WEDNESDAY OF THE 15TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE HEART!
BY: Fr. Ben Agbo
HOMILY: * Is 10: 5 – 16, Matt 11: 25 – 27.
YOU HAVE HIDDEN THESE THINGS FROM THE WISE AND REVEALED THEM TO MERE CHILDREN!
The 1st reading presents the figure of Assyria as a proud nation. They had a great military power and were bent upon conquering all neighbouring nations. But they became proud and attributed all their victories to their own power. Isaiah had to remind them in today’s 1st reading that they were but instruments in the hands of God to punish and purify the sinful Judah. If Assyria was a mere staff of God’s fury or a rod of his anger, a staff or a rod can never vaunt itself over him who wields it. That is the sin of pride. According to Vima Dasan, ‘The essential vice, the utmost evil is pride. Unchastity, greed and drunkenness are mere fleabites in comparison. Temper, for example, is what gets most of us into trouble but pride is what keeps us there’. God loves the simple and the humble who always seek his grace in all situations. Once we remain humble and in fellowship, God can never disown us.
Today’s gospel is a Thanksgiving prayer by Jesus to his father when inspite of the arrogance of the 3 cities, Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum, he now saw the humility with which some other cities were hearing the gospel and turning to God . He thanked the father for hiding the secrets of the kingdom from the wise and intelligent (the arrogant) and revealing them to mere children (the humble). The kind of knowledge Jesus talks about here is the experiential knowledge of God not the intellectual or mere theoretical knowledge. Do you wish to share the mutual love and knowledge that exists between Jesus and the father? Just pray for the grace of remaining in communion and being completely dependent on God through Jesus Christ. Just learn how to learn from the heart.
A priest once told me as I was preaching a retreat for priests: ‘I listen with my heart to your preaching’ and this got me reflecting. Many listen with the head; only a few listen with their hearts. In today’s gospel, Jesus speaks of a kind of knowledge that is not mere intellectual knowledge – It is not enough to know about God. What is needed is to know Him and encounter Him. Paul says ‘that I may come to know him and the power of his resurrection, and partake of his sufferings by being moulded to the pattern of his death’, Phil 3: 10. This is the kind of knowledge that Jesus says have been hidden from the learned and the wise and revealed to mere children. It is an experiential knowledge. Pope Francis tells us that there are 2 subtle enemies of holiness today in relation to knowledge; gnosticism which overemphasizes knowledge and pelagianism which overemphasizes the will.
Jesus does not condemn intelligence; what he condemns is intellectual pride – a type of pride that does not allow us accept truths from others. Pride is the utmost evil…Unchastity, greed, drunkenness, etc are lesser evils in comparison to pride. Bad temper, for example, gets us into trouble but pride is what keeps us there and makes us not come out. Pride has destroyed many nations as it destroyed Assyria in today’s 1st reading. It has ruined many intellectuals as it ruined a French Atheistic philosopher called Jean Paul Sartre. He supported Friedrich Nietzsche to say that God is dead. When he finally died people went round the streets with a banner written: ‘Sartre said that “God is dead”, now God says that ” Sartre is dead’. Pride goes before every major fall in life.
The knowledge of the heart is a knowledge that comes through humility.
May God bless you today!