Homily for the fourteenth Sunday, A.

Jesus exclaimed, “I bless you Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children.” This is not a condemnation of intellectual power, but intellectual pride. It’s not that God hides the truth from the learned, but that the learned rather hides themselves from the truth. In this passage of the scriptures, Jesus was actually talking to the scribes and Pharisees who held on to their offices over and above the truth.

We may be beautifully gifted, but if those gifts are not well handled, they may become harmful to us. That is the situation in our gospel passage this morning. God did not hide the truth from the learned; that is not what Jesus is telling us, but that the learned lacked the wisdom, humility and faith to manage their knowledge. Not everything can be subjected to intellectual test, there are things that are beyond intellectual power. In our relationship with God, we do not seek to understand before we believe, we believe in other to understand. Our faith in Jesus Christ is beyond science, and that is why he is omniscience. The learned cannot understand the mysteriousness of God’s power unless they humble themselves like little children to let the light of God illumine their intellect, that was what Nicodemus did.

Nicodemus was a scholar, a learned man, a teacher of Israel. He humbled himself to come to Jesus at night time to learn; he confessed, saying; Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him. Nicodemus acknowledged the supremacy of God’s power and wisdom. He could not understand what Jesus meant to be born again, he asked; How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born (Jn. 3:4)? When Jesus explained, he asked again; How can this be? Jesus answered him, Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand this? The truth is not hidden from the learned, but the learned hide themselves from the truth when they try to subject it to intellectual analysis.

We all, in our pride and self-sufficiency represents the learned. We are sometimes tempted to trust in our powers, in our intelligence, in our wealth and connections over and above the power of God. We human beings sometimes fail to understand that the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men (1 Cor. 25). God knows everything, and he is able to handle every situation. That is why Jesus says, come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Jesus says, come to me. To come to Jesus is not just to walk up to him, for there were people that walked up to Jesus and walked away the same way they walked in without any kind of special touch or experience. The woman with the issue of blood in the gospel of Luke 8:43-48 walked up to Jesus with faith and was healed. To come to Jesus is far more than coming to Church and receiving Holy Communion, it is about coming to him with expectant faith; believing that in him we have salvation, healing and every blessing. We come to Jesus not just because we see others go to him, but because we believe he is the redeemer.

When we humble ourselves and come to Jesus in faith, we shoulder his yoke. His yoke is easy and his burden light. A yoke is a wooden crosspiece that is put on the necks of two animals and attached to the plough to be pulled, it is an instrument for labour. In other words, Jesus is not saying that there will be no labour or burden in the world, but that when we come to him in faith, he makes the burden light. He gives us the strength to carry on.

The burden we carry today may be too heavy for us, those around us may not know it but we know what we carry. Jesus invites us this morning to come to him, to shoulder his yoke. In humility let us approach him as Nicodemus did and not hide ourselves from the truth and help of God.

 

Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA

Joel Okojie is an ordained Catholic Priest in the Order of St. Augustine. He has been a Priest for over a decade. He served as pastor in two different parishes, he was one time Novice Master and a member of the Provincial Council of the province of St. Augustine of Nigeria, and he is currently on a mission in response to the needs of the Church in Canada.

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