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Homily for the fourteenth Sunday, A.

06 Jul 2017, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Sermons

Jesus exclaimed, “I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and 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. God did not hide the truth from the learned, but the learned rather hid from the truth. Here, Jesus addressed the scribes and Pharisees who held on to their offices over and above the truth.

We may be beautifully gifted, but they may become harmful if those gifts are not well handled. 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 is subjected to an intellectual test; some things are beyond intellectual power.

In our relationship with God, we do not seek to understand before believing; we believe in others to understand. Our faith in Jesus Christ is beyond science, and that is why God is omniscient. 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, Nicodemus did that.

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 couldn’t understand what Jesus meant by been 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, Nicodemus 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 to hide from the truth when subjecting 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 sometimes fail to understand that God’s foolishness is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men (1 Cor. 25). God knows everything, and he can handle every situation. That is why Jesus says, come to me, all you who labor 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. This is more than a mere walk to Jesus, for there were people that walked up to Jesus and walked away from the same way they walked in; they walked away without any 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 put on two animals’ necks and attached to the plow to be pulled; it is a labor instrument. In other words, there will be labor and burden in the world, but when we come to Jesus in faith, he makes the burden light. He gives us the strength to carry on.

The burden we carry may be too heavy; this may not be known to those around us. 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 from the truth and help of God.