Reflection for Wednesday, July 13, 2011: 15th week in Ordinary Time.
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Hamm, Dennis, S.J.
The gospel reading takes us into a moment in the Gospel of Matthew when Jesus has just commented on the general population as being like unresponsive children who want neither to play weddings nor funerals. (Like any children, kids of first-century Palestine naturally imitated the adults in their life, and in a peasant village, the main public adult activities were weddings and funerals.) Jesus tells his audience that they are like children who respond neither to funeral dirges nor wedding dances. John the Baptist came with a kind of "funeral" style and they didn't respond; now Jesus comes with more of a "wedding party" style (sharing his table with tax collectors and sinners) and people generally did not cotton to his way either.||Because of that unresponsiveness, Jesus addresses some prophecies of doom to the nearby towns who had witnessed most of his miracles-Bethsaida, Tyre, Sidon, Capernaum-but remained unconverted.|Then Jesus is moved to exclaim, I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and learned you have revealed them to the childlike. So, having told the adults in his audience (folks at least curious enough to stop to hear him) that they are like spoiled brats that fail to respond to their playmates, he praises the Father for revealing "these things" not to the wise and learned but to "the childlike" (other translations have "babes," "little ones," or "infants").|Naturally, when we hear that we have to wonder: what does it take to "get small" so we can respond appropriately to Jesus today? How do I avoid the danger of being so "wise" or "learned" that I fail to hear Jesus properly? I can only think that it means slowing down, paying attention, recognizing my actual smallness and my de facto dependence on lots of others, especially God the Father. That means spending time alone, in silence, and speaking to my Father who sees in secret. Then I may recognize a wedding or a funeral when one comes around. Then I may hear what the Lord is saying.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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