22nd Wednesday in Ordinary Time
I could not talk to you as spiritual people but as fleshly people, as infants in Christ. I fed you milk, not solid food.
Hearing the words of St Paul we may get the impression that there is some secret esoteric teaching in Christianity imparted to a few, while the rest of us are dogs getting the crumbs that fall from the table. In many pagan cults this is the case. Only the elect, the gnostics, are privy to the secret teachings imparted by the Master. The rest who are not initiated into the inner circle are cut off from this gnosis. It is knowledge that separates the few from the many.
But St Paul however refers to even the fleshly people as infants in Christ. Everyone who is baptized is within the privileged circle. The Fathers considered baptism to be illumination. The light takes up residence in all and not just some of the baptized. And the light can potentially shape our living, perceiving, understanding, intuiting so that the hidden realities of faith acquire a reality more solid that the things of the sense. All of us, who have been baptized into Christ have been given the mind of Christ. What a privilege. The esoteric doctrine is given to all without cost – not as an acquisition but as a new being in Christ.
Yet for some it is the pearl of great price. Others like proverbial swine trample it underfoot. And the difference lies in Moral IQ. Moral IQ is a function of purity of heart. St Paul tells his congregation that though all of them have the light, yet the jealous, the contentious, the proud will remain at the surface of the light. They will play at the shallow end of the pool and will not even know it. They will have the words which they manipulate cleverly and imaginatively. But the realities have no home in them because their heart is too full of themselves. They bounce off a dull and opaque heart. A heart that is not hollowed out. The hidden things of God can only impress themselves in a heart that has made room for them. A heart that is stretching beyond itself in its desire. A heart actively seeking to root out vices – not just the branches of vice but letting the Spirit of God cut it out at the very root. In short, a heart that is ever undergoing conversion.