First Reading: 1 Jer 2:1-3, 7-8, 12-13
Psalm: 36:6-7ab, 8-9, 10-11
Gospel: Mt 13:10-17
Some people read today’s Gospel and think that Jesus is saying he teaches in parables in order to confuse the listeners. Of course, this doesn’t make sense. No teacher teaches so that the listener will not learn.
So what is Jesus saying? We’ve talked with someone about a matter of great importance to both of us. After the conversation we think the matter is understood, settled, there will be no problem with it. Then later on we find out that nothing was settled by the conversation, because we heard only what we wanted to hear, not what the other person actually said. So both of us were talking on different wavelengths. There was no conversation at all.
This is the sort of thing Jesus is talking about in today’s Gospel. “I use parables,” Jesus is saying, “because they look and do not see, they listen and do not hear or understand …”
The danger to Christians who live but do not listen is very real. The more closed we are, the less will we grow in the Spirit; the less we grow in the Spirit, the more closed we shall become. Thus, we will be able to see and hear and understand less and less as time goes on. As Jesus puts it, “The person who has not, will lose what little he has.” Jesus teaches using parables, because Jesus hopes the picture will seduce the mind of the listener away from his self-interests. “I use parables to get them to see and hear and understand.”
It is important, therefore, to pray for openness of spirit to Jesus’ teaching, for this is the only path along which any one of us can follow him.