Wisdom 2.1,12-22; Psalm 33; John 7.1-2,10,25-30
‘When the Christ appears no one will know where he comes from.’ The notion that the Messiah would appear suddenly from a place of hiding was a commonplace among Jews of Jesus’ day. Indeed, throughout John’s Gospel people find and recognise Jesus in secret encounters: so Nicodemus the Pharisee comes to Jesus by night [3.1-21]; a woman of Samaria meets Jesus in territory that well-bred Jews assiduously avoided and she declares him the Messiah of pious expectation [4.29-30]; and in a burial garden, a place avoided instinctively by the devout, Jesus reveals the Glory of God. [11.41-44]
The deepest truths are made known to us in concealed and out-of-the-way places; as the motto on St John Henry Newman’s cardinalate coat of arms put it ‘Heart speaks to heart’. The most important things we will never understand superficially, but only when the depths of God can speak to the depths of our own hearts. [I Corinthians 2.10-11]
Yet secrets are meant for revelation. [cf Matthew 10.27] When we understand the truths of God we find that our own interiority will not suffice to contain them. We learn eternal truths not for ourselves alone but so that we can transmit them to others. Having been transformed by a Will and Purpose that is deeper than the universe itself, we are bound to witness to that Truth before the whole world.