JULY 19th –
“THE TREASURE OF THE PARABLES OF JESUS”
by Fr. Walt Wainwright
On many Sundays during the church’s liturgical year we are blessed to hear Jesus call together the crowds, inviting them to ‘come’ gather around sit down on the hillside or along the shore or in some other common place. Because He was such a great story teller and one who did not only entertain His listeners with a good story, he also taught them very profound lessons, very often using something that would keep their attention and give them food for thought, than from such a story, he drew out the parable, the lesson to help deepen their understanding of the truths of their faith. Today Jesus calls us to come and listen to not only one parable but three. Each one is profound in itself but I’m not going to go into an explanation of the parables’ meaning. I’ll leave that for you to glean from the word of today’s proclamation of the gospel and the words of instruction in the homily. Perhaps you will also like to take some time later in the day to read this passage from Matthew’s gospel (13:24-43) and spend some time bringing to life what these words of the Lord hold for you.
In Jesus’ day when the people gathered for their worship, whether it was in a locality where there was a synagogue or not, much of their time was listening to the rabbi and the lesson he would offer them. The rabbis had to be men who had reached the age of thirty to be installed as a rabbi having completed their own years of learning and the awesome responsibility of helping to guide the faithful in learning t more about their faith and coming to grow in the truths which have been given to them from ages past. As we read in the closing line of these three parables Jesus tells the crowd why He taught them using parables.
“I will open my mouth in parables. I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world.”
What Jesus was doing as a rabbi was helping to bring to the people, who were largely very uneducated and so the use of the many figures familiar to the people aided greatly in the people giving their attention and interest to the lessons from the prophets which helped the people to come to a better understanding of and ability to live more fully the truths that had been handed down, coming from the prophets and the history of the ages of the Old Testament.
We are blessed to have so much more than the people of long ago had available to them. We have the printed word preserved for us in the words of sacred scripture, both the Old Testament, containing the richness of the history of God’s dealing with His own chosen people, and the New Testament, the gospel accounts, and the beautiful letters of the apostles. Read the word! Remember it is the word of God that nourishes our minds leading us to our own deeper understanding of the truths of our faith. I am 81 years of age and have been a priest now for 55 years, and even with the life I have lived and the ministry that has included so very much with the word of God, I still feel like I could use another 81 years and learn a little more.
God bless and enjoy these summer days!