The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 11:25-27

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 13, 2014

Mat 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said: I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones.

“At that time.” According to St. Luke 10:21, this occurred on the return of the seventy-two disciples from their mission, and while they were boasting of the success that attended them, and of the miracles they wrought. From this, our Redeemer takes occasion to give expression to the following, and then He “answered.” However, the word, “answer,” is frequently used in the SS. Scriptures, when nothing in the form of a question demanding an answer, preceded; and merely means, to enter at once on some discourse. Here, then, it may be very probably connected with the foregoing denunciation of the Capharnaites (Capernaumite)   thus:—Jesus, considering within Himself the obstinate impenitence of the Capharnaites, &c., and the just judgment of God, withholding His lights and graces in punishment of their sins, consoles Himself with the thought, that such was according to the just dispensation of His Heavenly Father; and He exultingly bursts forth into acts of thanksgiving for His adorable dispensation. St. Luke says (Lk 10:21), “He rejoiced in the Holy Ghost,” and thus consoles Himself with the idea that His Father willed it so. “Answering,” may also have relation to the thoughts passing in our Saviour’s mind regarding this wonderful economy of God, and the obduracy of the Capharnaites.

“I confess to Thee,” i.e., I praise Thee, I extol Thee, I give Thee thanks.

“O Father,” of whom I am alone the eternal, consubstantial, well-beloved Son.

“Lord of heaven and earth,” having supreme dominion over all creatures, angels, and men. It is not, therefore, from infirmity or weakness that He has not subdued the rebellious wills of the Capharnaites. The words also convey, that He can do as He thinks proper, in heaven and on earth; and that, therefore, any disposition He makes regarding His creatures, is supremely just and equitable.

“Hast hid,” by not imparting powerful interior graces, and in punishment of their obstinate pride, withholding those lights which would efficaciously influence them to profit by the external graces of preaching, with which they were favoured.

“These things.” These mysteries of grace and glory preached by our Redeemer and His Apostles.

“From the wise and prudent,” viz., the Pharisees and others, who were endowed with human learning and abilities. These were the “wise,” to whom St. Paul refers (1 Cor. 1), as rejected in the work of the Gospel; worldly wise, “wise” in their own conceits, haughty and proud, devoid of the humble docility necessary for embracing the faith.

“And hast revealed them to little ones,” i.e., hast given Thy abundant, illuminating graces for embracing the difficult and abstruse truths of faith to the humble and the poor (the Greek for “little ones,” νηπίοις, means, infants), who, with the humble docility of children, embrace what is proposed to them.

These are the foolish, the weak, and the contemptible things, which God has chosen, to confound the wise, the strong, and the things of consideration in this world. (1 Cor. 1) Humble, unlearned fishermen, has He replenished with all knowledge, and placed on a level with the princes of His people.

But how could our Lord rejoice and praise his Father for having concealed these things from the proud? As a great evil, should it not be a subject for tears and sorrow? Resp. Thanksare not rendered precisely for having concealed these things; but, because, having concealed these truths from the wise, He was pleased to reveal them to the humble. Precisely, as it is said (Rom. 6:17), “But, thanks to God, that you were the servants of sin, but have obeyed,” &c., which means, thanks to God, that, having been formerly servants of sin, you have now obeyed, &c. He thanks His Father for having chosen men, like infants, and enlightened them to disseminate his faith, passing over the great ones of this world. Others say, thanks and praise are rendered for both. For, when “He hides these things,” He shows His Justice; and when “He reveals them to the little ones,” He displays His Mercy. The judgments of God, whether in the matter of Justice or Mercy, are ever equitable; ever deserving of praise.

Mat 11:26 Yea, Father: for so hath it seemed good in thy sight.

“Yea” (in Greek, ναι, nay), briefly repeats the former acts of praise, and is strongly commendatory of the workings of God’s adorable providence. “I confess,” is here understood, to be repeated, as if to say: Again and again, I thank Thee, O Father, for this ordination of Thy adorable providence, which is to be ever praised and glorified.

In all things, therefore, coming from the hands of God, we should humbly bow down and give Him thanks, and from our inmost heart, conform to His adorable will, saying always, even when things go against us, “Fiat voluntas tua sicut in cœlo,” &c (Thy will be done in heaven, &c). “Ita, Pater, quia sic placitum fait ante te.” (Yea, Father, for so hath it seemed good in thy sight) “Fiat, laudatur et superexaltetur in æternum, justissima, altissima et amabilissima voluntas Dei in omnibus.” (Let it be praised and exalted above all things forever, the most righteous, highest and most pleasing to the will of God in all things) God wills it, no further inquiries, reasoning, or murmurings about it.

Mat 11:27 All things are delivered to me by my Father. And no one knoweth the Son but the Father: neither doth any one know the Father, but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal him.

Lest it might be imagined, from our Lord’s thanking His Father, for having revealed the mysteries of grace to the little ones, &c., that Christ Himself had not this power, He adds, “all things,” all power, all dominion, all knowledge, &c., were communicated to Me “by My Father,” at My Incarnation. Others say, at My eternal generation. These interpretations, however, amount to the same; or, rather, the latter is included in the former. Since it is from His eternal generation, that the gifts bestowed on Him at His Incarnation flowed, therefore, if “My Father” be omnipotent and omniscient, so am I; and I can, therefore, reprobate or save. The mysteries of grace and glory have been concealed by My Father, and also by Me, from the wise, and imparted to the humble.

“And no one knoweth the Son, but the Father.” This may regard comprehensive, perfect, natural knowledge. This the Son also has, and the Holy Ghost. As the words, “and he to whom it shall please the Father to reveal Him,” although not expressed here, because they are included in verse 25, “hast revealed,” &c., are still implied, if we look to the words, “and to whom it shall please the Son to reveal,” it is better to understand it of the knowledge of the Father, known from revelation, as it is only of such knowledge, man is capable; such knowledge alone can be communicated to him.

“Neither doth any one know the Father, but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal Him.” These latter words are not expressed above, regarding the Father; because, revelation was before attributed to the Father (v. 25), and, moreover, it is through the Son that God the Father reveals Himself and the Godhead to the world. “Manifestavi nomen tuum hominibus,” &c. (John 17:6) The equality of the Son with the Father is shown here. For, He knows all regarding the Father, as the Father does regarding Him, which is put more strongly by St. Luke (10:22), “And no one knoweth who the Son is but the Father; and who the Father is but the Son.” Again, “the Son reveals it to whom He pleases.” The Holy Ghost is not included, since the exceptive or exclusive words applied to one Person of the Trinity do not regard the other Divine Persons, who possess equally the Divine nature. They only regard creatures. No one knows the mysteries regarding the Father, nor those regarding the Son, except those to whom they may be pleased to reveal them. Hence, when the Father reveals (v. 25), the Son also reveals. St. Chrysostom observes that the words, “to whom it shall please the Son to reveal,” show the Son to be equal to the Father in power and dominion. For, although Christ reveals as man, and through His human nature, still, this nature subsists in a Divine Person; and this man, Christ is God also, and as God, equal to the Father. Others connect the words of this verse with the following verse, “come to Me,” &c. As all power of saving, all dominion, all knowledge, have been communicated to Me by My Father, to be imparted by Me to whomsoever I please, I do, therefore, invite you all to “come,” &c.

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