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The purpose of parables

Gospel reading: Mt 13:10-17s
The disciples approached Jesus and said, “Why do you speak to the crowd in parables?” He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand. Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:/ You shall indeed hear but not understand,/ you shall indeed look but never see./ Gross is the heart of this people,/ they will hardly hear with their ears,/ they have closed their eyes,/ lest they see with their eyes/ and hear with their ears/ and understand with their heart and be converted/ and I heal them.

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. “Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

Why do you speak to the crowd in parables? The disciples ask this of Jesus; they themselves do not understand the meaning of his stories.

Jesus’ response is enigmatic. He is supposed to make things clear to people, but he seems to reserve some things for those who belong to his inner circle, the disciples. They are the only ones who deserve to know his “secrets”. He is like an artisan or a good cook who keeps his formula secret. He is just fulfilling what prophet Isaiah once predicted.

Certainly the hardheaded and the close-minded, even if they see and hear God, will not understand and appreciate the mystery of God. It will not make any sense to them.

We, the present-day listeners, do not consider this anymore as secret or an encrypted message to be deciphered.

Through study, prayer, and the living interpretation of the Church, we have more or less gotten the meaning of the parables. Jesus himself acknowledges the better status of his lowly followers who have been with him all these times.

“Blessed are your eyes… ears…” (v 16). God has given them a privilege that even the deserving holy ones of old did not have.

Are you also at a loss as to the meaning of the parables?

Strive to enter the inner circle of Jesus.

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SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.