14th Sun A
Christian conversion is promoted by conversation. This section is a response to and a development on the knowledge gained from the commentary section.
This Sunday's Exposition
When Jesus blesses ‘mere children’ over against the learned and clever, we need to pause and ask just what it is that he is blessing and what is being criticised. On a superficial reading we could think that Jesus was against education. Rather, having just experienced the closed attitude of the religious leaders who could only approve of people according to their interpretation of the Law, we see that it is what people do with their knowledge that Jesus is discussing. When these leaders called for humility, it was for humility before them and for docility to their teaching. The ‘mere children’ that Jesus is referring to are his rough and ready disciples. Relatively ignorant of the Law and pragmatic in their outlook, they had, nonetheless, been ready to accept Jesus, his teaching and be open to the God he was talking about.
Jesus was not condemning education but rather what can be lost in pursuit of such. As one becomes knowledgeable, the danger of pride steps in. Firstly, one can be impressed by one’s knowledge and become lost to the wonder of the God who made the knowledge. Secondly, one is tempted to put others down so that one can put oneself up. I have met a number of people who in spite of a good education and a brilliant intelligence would still be classified as ‘the little ones’. Their education increased their awe of God and, when used in the service of their brothers and sisters, actually left them more open to the mystery of God’s love.