July 16th, 2003
Howie Kalb, S.J.
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Exodus 3:1-6, 9-12
Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4,
At first reading, it would seem that today’s Gospel is somehow
at odds with the purpose of Creighton University. Jesus is praising
his Father for “although you have hidden these things from the wise and learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.” Our students and professors
show signs of intellectual ability and curiosity or they wouldn’t be here.
But if they grow wise and learned does that mean God will hide theological
truths from them? In accordance with our reading it would seem to be
advantageous to remain childlike so the Lord would reveal greater truths
However, Jesus is a teacher. He would appreciate the importance of
scholarship. He would interact with people who were curious to learn.
It was only the people who thought they knew-it-all he couldn’t tolerate.
That’s why he found the Pharisees so objectionable. They had all the answers
and didn’t need a young rabbi to teach them. They claimed to know exactly
what the Messiah would look like when he came. Unfortunately, Jesus
didn’t fit their blueprint. So they crucified him.
The challenge for us is to realize that we don’t have all the answers.
Instead of pretending infallibility when we disagree with others we ought
to remain humble and inquisitive enough to listen in the hopes of learning
something more. It is the disposition and intention that makes all
For example, in this life we can never know God as he is. We must be
comfortable with the fact that he is infinite and we are finite. With
our finite intellects we can know only a small portion of God’s personality
at any one time. At times we know God as “all-just.” At other
times we understand he is “all-merciful.” But we can never know him
as both these extremes at the same time. Yet that is who God is.
Therefore with our limited intelligence we can only discover and attain caricatures
of God’s personality. But with faith to balance our human understanding,
God will little by little further reveal his true self to us. And this
he will do in his own time and in his own way so long as we believe and trust
So with Jesus, let us praise the Father since he made us childlike and thank
him for giving us the gift of faith. Then be convinced that our faith
will continue to expand our understanding of the Almighty. But it will
only be in eternity, if we persevere, that he will enable us to know him
as he is.
to the writer of this reflection.
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