There is an important difference between the Latin and Western understanding of knowledge, and the Greek and Eastern Understanding. This difference is what drives most of the misunderstandings in this world today. The Latin and Western understandings of knowledge as conceptual and abstract. Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek do not have this abstract understanding of knowledge. Immediately before this, Luke tells us, “No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.” The key words here are “Reveal,” and “Know.” “Reveal implies seeing and the Greek understanding of knowledge is a mental seeing, a seeing with the mind’s eye, and then distinguishing, separating two mental images.
Our Catholic faith borrows from Aristotle who spoke of four causes, Formal, Efficient, Material, and Final causes. The Formal cause of the world is Torah, the structural under-girding of the world. God is the Efficient Cause in that he is the primary force moving the world to the Final cause, which is himself. The world is the Efficient Cause.
Luke begins today’s passage with the seventy-two coming and bragging about their great success. Jesus points them to the fact that the world is the Material Cause. They, acting in it, are but a small manifestation of the Efficient Cause. The passage begins with Jesus relating the Great Accuser falling as lightning from the sky. He speaks of scorpions and serpents. Jesus speaks of tangible things for his followers to see.
He then tells them, “Do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” God and our final place with him is the Final Cause of all there is. We must constantly direct our lives to this.
The ending of the Saturday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time ends, ““Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. Many Naviim and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.” Jesus tells us of the importance of seeing the serpents and scorpions, but looking toward the final reward.
We read, “You hid these things from the wise and the learned. You revealed them to babies. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will… No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”
On the surface, this is hopelessly abstract, until we see. Adults follow the way of the Latins, abstract, conceptual, sensible, logical, responsible, practical, dependable, clinical, intellectual, and cynical. Children are, “wonderful, a miracle beautiful, magical. And all the birds in the trees, singing so happily, joyfully, playful and watching. We need the latter if we are ever going to find God. This is how God reveals himself to us.