Ordinary Time Week 16: Thursday

“He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.” (Matthew 13:11)

In an ancient work known as the Incomplete Work on Matthew, an anonymous Ancient Christian Writer (ACW) offers the following insight on this verse from today’s Gospel:

“To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.” In light of these words some might put the blame on God for their own negligence, saying: “It isn’t my fault if I don’t know what God has not given me to know.” And they don’t say this dolefully, because they do not understand anything about God. Rather, they are only seeking an excuse for their sins. The Psalm says concerning them: “Incline not my heart to any evil, to finding excuses for my wicked deeds in company with those who work iniquity.” Therefore let us speak more clearly on this point. Every intellect is from the Holy Spirit and is a God-given grace. It is one thing that God has given his grace to all humanity. It is another thing to refine this by saying that the grace he gives is not given to all people irrespective of their responses but to those who are more worthy and excellent and fit to be chosen.

Notice how Jesus says, “To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.” He did not say “to you it is given” to someone who has no knowledge whatever of good and evil. All rational souls are given a chance to understand the difference between good and evil. Yet not all have the grace of knowing the mysteries of the kingdom. It is not the fault of God who does not give, because this general rational knowledge is available, but of the person who does not ask or make haste or work in order to be ready to receive the kingdom. If you pursue this general knowledge of good and evil — that is, if you make good use of what you can know — you will be ready to receive the special knowledge of knowing the mystery. But if you have hidden that general knowledge in the ground, that is meant to supply nature’s needs, how will you merit the special knowledge that is meant as a reward for good will or works?” (Incomplete Work on Matthew, «Homily 31»)

Show favor, O Lord, to Your servants
and mercifully increase the gifts of Your grace,
that, made fervent in hope, faith and charity,
they may be ever watchful in keeping Your commands.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen