Making Sense of Parables Part 1

 Making Sense of Parables

To understand parables, I need to find a definition that best suits what a parable tries to convey to its audience.  I have borrowed from other definitions and come up with this one.

A short simple story that everyone can relate to and challenges us to change the way we view our way of life. They also create a discombobulating shift which helps us understand the meaning of Parables which are meant to discomfort us by turning our expectations upside down. Thus, the challenge of being a Christian and living according to the Gospel values. Therefore, in this reflection paper I will explore three parables, Sower, Talents and Vineyard and how it relates to my personal life, work and world. I particularly like this view on the Parables, “Each generation looks for new meanings, reads with new sensitivity, and projects onto the text new issues. Good literature continues to yield those new meanings, and the parables are no exception.”

A-J Levine, 2014, Short Stories by Jesus, Harper Collins, NY, (19)

For example, in the Parable of the Sower. Jesus tells us about a Sower who sowed seed (the Word of God) some which fell on the path and were eaten by birds. Other seeds fell on rocky ground and sprang up quickly but the soil had no depth and when the sun rose, they were scorched and because they had no root they withered away.  More seeds fell amongst thorns and the thorns grew up and choked them. Whilst, further seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain a hundredfold, sixty and thirty. Matthew 13:1-9 So, my take is the seed that fell on the path that was eaten by the birds depict them as an image of people with selfish desires consuming all that is around them. The greatest example being when there is a suggestion of a Covid outbreak the mad rush for toilet paper.

The seed that fell on rocky ground grew only for a short time but had no foundation and therefore when difficulty arises, they can no longer meet the challenge. I often reflect in my life when I find situations difficult and rather than take them head on, I defer and fail to persist.

Moreover, the seed that choked on thorns was people hearing the Word but become seduced by life’s pleasures. Thus, the meaning and purpose of life focusses not on the gospel message but on hedonistic pursuits. Which makes me reflect on my role in my parish which sometimes I see as a chore rather than an opportunity to encounter Jesus through people and other parish activities. While, the seed that fell on fertile soil that yield increased 100 times. A great example, is how Catholic schools have a sense of mission in proclaiming the Gospel and continuing Christ’s mission.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *