Monday in the Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

Matthew 11:20-30

The Advantage of Being a “Child”

I did not comment on part of our passage yesterday, but it goes well with what we shall discuss today.  Jesus chides the generation of his day as children calling out to their playmates, “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.”  (This may have been a saying of that day which Jesus borrowed.)  At any rate, the meaning is that no matter how righteous a person may be, people find fault; after all, John was austere in manner of life and the people said he had a devil, while Jesus came eating and drinking and was called a glutton.  Jesus moves from there to pronouncing judgment on the cities where these people lived, whose hearts were so hard that they could not discern the work of God that was openly manifest in his ministry.

If Jesus’ words sound harsh, then imagine just how wicked the Lord considers darkened minds and hardened hearts.  The cities Jesus named are the ones in Galilee where he spent the most time: Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum.  Jesus actually declares that if he had done the deeds in Tyre, Sidon, and even Sodom, which he had done in those cities, they would have repented long ago.  Tyre and Sidon were Phoenician cities given to commerce and greed, and, of course, Sodom (and sister Gomorrah) is considered the epitome of “sin city” in the Bible for sexual immorality and injustice (Genesis 19:1-29; Ezekiel 16:49; Jude 7).  And yet, the Son of God walked in and among the people of the aforementioned cities, and they did not know him (John 1:11).  I wonder if our Lord would be treated any differently if he walked among our cities today; I think not, for mankind is little changed over two-thousand years, indeed, not at all (Genesis 6:5).

Then Jesus praises his Father that the wonderful things of the kingdom and salvation have been revealed to and understood by, not the wise, but “little children,” “for such was [His] gracious will.”  The Son is only known by the Father and the Father only by the Son – “and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him,” which apparently are these “little children.”  It is these who labor and are heavy laden, laden with the trials of this world, the injustice of it, and their own sinful natures and crosses which they must bear (Galatians 6:5).  Jesus himself declares that he is like them: gentle and lowly in heart.  His yoke is easy and his burden light.  Do be careful with this.  Jesus is not saying that we may have him and our sins, too.  Jesus is saying that his yoke, his law, is a law of liberty, in which we are freed from sin, and liberated to serve him (James 1:25; John 8:31-36).

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