A Reflection on Mt 11:25-30
By Fr. Serg Kabamalan, CJM
Communications technology may have changed through the years but some things remain unchanged: there are always a sender, a message and a receiver. It is important to note, however, that the receiver these days should use a gadget compatible to what the sender used to send his message. For example, those who attend the online Sta. Maria della Strada mass from the comforts of your home have to go not just to any page or group in Facebook but to the SMDS Parish account to tune in to this live streaming that uses precisely this same social media and the same account. Otherwise, you won’t be able to participate right now.
Our Gospel today speaks of the same reality between God and humanity. To know God and to receive his message, we must be attuned to his divine ways. That means our hearts and minds must be aligned with that of God. Otherwise, we cannot receive his messages no matter what effort we put into it.
The wise and the learned are beyond the range of God’s self-revelation because they are deeply entrenched in their patterns of thinking, evaluating and judging. They have mindsets that dictate who and how God should be. Their standards, biases, judgment, pride and sense of self-importance have narrowed down their horizon. Their “learning” and accomplishments have closed off their minds to God’s mysteries. Think of the atheist in the scientific and intellectual communities, who declares that God if he were real should be observable within the confines of their laboratories or with the tools of science. They forget that if God and his presence could be controlled within strict and controlled environment then they will be examining not God, but a factual data of creation. The wise and the learned think they have figured out everything in this universe. But nothing could be farther from the truth.
On the other hand, the little ones are naturally disposed to see, hear, experience and understand God because they have a very open stance which comes from their humility and simplicity. They are unbiased and accepting because they acknowledge their littleness, the limits of their own capacity and understanding. They know that their existence is dependent on a power far greater and higher than their own.
In other words, God’s self-revelation is something that God undertakes continuously. He neither withholds it or reveal it only to a limited privileged few. God’s self-revelation is universal. It is at the receiving end where God’s grace encounters a disturbance in its acceptance . There are people who are ready to receive it and live it – those are the little ones for whom Jesus was filled with gratitude to the Father in the prayer captured in Matthew, Chapter 11. There are people who are not ready to receive and live it – those are the wise and learned in the ways of the world.
Unfortunately, many of us find it difficult to be like the little ones; we are more like the wise and the learned: limited in our capacity to perceive God and his actions. Yet the graciousness of God is still manifested in the invitation of our brother Jesus Christ: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” For indeed, it is difficult and burdensome to believe that everything is within our power and control; that we call the shots even in the way we approach God and relate with him. Weariness sets in as we realize we are going nowhere in our search for God or self-fulfillment. Hence, we do need rest. However, we can only rest in Jesus when we learn to surrender our power and control and acknowledge our need for God. That would be the same time we come to understand that life is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to enter into and live in. That is only possible when we let go and let God in humility and simplicity.