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Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

St Paul made the cross the central part of his teaching. When he had preached to the Athenians, he found that they were more interested in hearing something novel rather than exploring the mystery of the cross and resurrection (Acts 17:16-32). There are many people today who reject religion with a seemingly very superficial knowledge. It is true that, as humans, we cannot begin to comprehend God. Jesus himself said only the Father knows the Son and the Son the Father. What we know of God has been revealed by his Word, Jesus.

When Jesus speaks of “mere children”, he is using an image of little ones who are well aware of their need for their parents. He is not suggesting that we be childish but that we realise that we are helpless without God. This in contrast to those who feel they are self-sufficient and that science will provide all the answers they need. Nicodemus differed from his fellow Pharisees in that he felt he could learn from Jesus, in spite of being knowledgable himself. As a result Jesus was able to set forth some of the most beautiful teaching in the whole of the bible.

The leaders of the Jews placed heavy burdens on their people, elaborating the law so it ceased to help them in their relationship with God and instead made life difficult for them. Jesus, on the other hand, showed that love of God and neighbour were the important commandments and that everything other law followed from these. Thus his yoke was easy and his burden light. In his short public ministry he did everything to alleviate people’s suffering and people only had to look at him to see a portrait of God.