Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said to them privately, “Fortunate are you to see what you see, for I tell you, that many prophets and kings would have liked to see what you see, but did not see it; and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”
In today’s gospel reading we hear Jesus say something very strange and somewhat shocking. In a prayer to his Father he says: “You have hidden these things from the wise and the learned, and made them known to little ones.” What does Jesus mean exactly? Does not the Father act unfairly here by hiding his revelation to a whole group of people, the intellectuals? Why does he favor the little ones? Does he not have an equal love for all his children, just as any good parent has?
Those are all legitimate questions, but they result from a too literal interpretation of Jesus’ words. For here Jesus is using a Hebrew way of speaking. Since the Jews are convinced that in some way everything depends on God, they attribute directly to God as a cause what in reality is only a consequence of people’s free choices. In this case, intellectuals freely decide that they are not interested in learning about God, whereas simple people are. And so, in a condensed way of describing this phenomenon, Jesus says that God hides his secrets from some people and reveals them to others. But Jesus is thus merely describing people’s free choices with a Hebrew idiom.