Friday, July 8, 2011

Parables in The Gospel

In the next several weeks in Mass we will be hearing parables in our Gospel Readings.  They are meant to catch the attention of the listeners and are invitations to the listeners to find their places in the stories.

We are in the heart of the book of Matthew, learning about who Jesus is and who does his coming make us.

This Sunday's parable of the sower is especially poignant. The closer Jesus comes to our part of the soil the more fruitful we become and he will not leave us to ourselves. By ourselves we will whither and default to our beaten-pathness. By ourselves we will be choked by our own greed and self-centered demands.

When I was a little girl (in Methodist Church) I was perplexed by parables. I remember being taught that everyone was supposed to interpret these parables for themselves.  So, it could get very confusing. Not knowing about the Magisterium or the Church that Jesus Christ set up here on earth I felt it was all so ambiguous!  I remembered wondering,"Why doesn’t Jesus come right out and say what the point of the story is?"
I understood from an early age that there was only ONE truth. Truth is not relative (although I could not have worded it thusly as a child).I used to wonder why Jesus would leave us to personal interpretation --- especially when I heard so many versions of "what the Gospel meant." 

Through the richness of the Magisterium and the guidance of The Holy Spirit I understand more now why Jesus spoke in parables . . .

Knowledge and insights do not save. Answers invite only more questions. Parables are for those who know beyond knowledge. They hear and see beyond senses. Tribulations, persecutions, worldly fears and the desires for riches are all parts of our human soil. The Word of God, Jesus, has come to identify the soil, improve it and assist its knowing and growing.

Fruitful living is how people live under the influence of the person of Jesus. As we reflected upon in last week's liturgy, relationships change the persons in the relationship. Usually the intimacy of the relationship brings about changes which are not immediately perceived by the relaters. Others see changes and the changes are usually defined as being more alive, more spirited, more who they have always wanted to be. Ideas don’t change us much or very deeply. The influence of the significant people in our lives changes us far beyond the power of thought. God so loved the world that God did not send an idea or a book. God rained down the grace within the person of Jesus the Word who remains until the good earth remembers who it is. So God did come right out and say it!

What remains is our staying attentive not to Jesus as teacher or idea-giver, but to Jesus who desires lovingly to bring God’s goodness out of our good soil.

Preparing for the Mass
Larry Gillick, S. J., of Creighton University’s Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality

1 comment:

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

I like the parables, too -- and the secular allegories. Sometimes saying things directly is less effective than letting people come where you are leading them through indirect means.

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