Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Today we have in the gospel the well-known passage,

I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.

In Greek there are a number of words for a child depending on the age.  In Luke's gospel the word we translate as child like  is nepios. It literally means "without words". It refers to an infant so young it cannot yet speak.  In other places in the gospels the word paidon (a child of up to about 10) is used but here the word that is used refers to a child at its earliest stage of life.  

As I reflect on this I am taken back to all the newborns that came to our house as foster children before being adopted.  I can't even count the number.  In their earliest weeks their eyes can't even really focus, and so touch and hearing become their primary senses.  And maybe that is the key.  

Once our eyes can focus we become very visual, perhaps even too visual.  We are so captivated by the visual, by appearance, that we loose our ability to listen.  The old saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" has never been more true than today.  Ask anyone in the field of communications. 

The problem for us as Christians is that we are not people of the picture we are people of the word. 
In the beginning was the word... (Jn 1:1)
Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God (Mt. 4:4)
Stop judging by mere appearances... (Jn 7:24)

We are great at looking at pictures, and we are great at talking.  We are not so good at listening. 
Perhaps this gospel is reminding us that if we want to be truly with wise we have to spend more time speechless, and spend more time just listening.