The Gospel presents us with an example of a good teaching practice that I was known to use back in the days when I was a high school teacher. I would usually make the first quiz or test so easy that everyone could score a really high grade. It proved to be a great motivation for many students who were not used to seeing high grades on their papers. They seemed to try even harder to maintain their high grade the next time around.
Jesus does something similar in the Gospel today. He asks the disciples an easy question. “Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand?” I am sure that each of the disciples knew the answer to this question. Then Jesus makes a comment that is somewhat more difficult. “Nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light. Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.” This is certainly more difficult to understand than the original question.
In his commentary on this passage, Blessed Theophylact of Ochrid, who lived at the end of the eleventh and beginning of the twelfth century, observed: “What can be more hidden than God, nevertheless God has been manifested in our flesh.” In other words, God, who is an unknowable mystery, has become a human person. Even as Jesus gives his disciples this wisdom that they do not understand, he is the light that is hidden from them now, but has come so as to shine for them and for all of us.
As followers of Jesus, we have much to learn. Like the disciples, we likely understand some of what Jesus communicates to us, but there is always much more that is beyond us. We are in good company with the disciples who heard, but did not understand. We are in the best company with the Lord, who does not ask us to understand him, but rather to be faithful to him. When we stay with him in our hearts, in our prayers, and in the way we live our lives, he can and will continue to teach us all we need to know of him and the mysteries of God. Jesus stays with us in this Eucharist. We abide with him when we receive him each day.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator