Today’s Gospel from St. Matthew records Jesus prayer to his Father. Jesus opens his prayer with the line, “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and learned you have revealed them to the childlike.”
We hear a similar theme later in Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus tells his listeners “unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
The “wise and learned” Pharisees, who occupied a prominent position in Jewish society, knew that law and had great discipline in adhering to it. But their very position in Jewish society and their self-righteousness made it difficult for them to hear Jesus. They knew the law, they knew what was right, and they relied on that knowledge. They saw no need for anything else.
What they lacked, and what Jesus realized they lacked was a humility and a recognition of their need for God. A dependence on God rather than on themselves.
We are invited by this Gospel to open our hearts to God, to recognize our need for God, and to trust God as a child trusts a parent To be more like “babes” and less like the “wise and learned” Pharisees.