February 1, 2019
Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a great contest of suffering. At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and affliction; at other times you associated yourselves with those so treated. You even joined in the sufferings of those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, knowing that you had a better and lasting possession. Therefore, do not throw away your confidence; it will have great recompense. You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised. Heb_10:32-39
Jesus said to the crowds: “This is how it is with the Kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.” He said, “To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” Mk_4:26-34
Someone once asked Jesus why He always spoke in parables. Jesus, himself, answered the question with kind-of a “parabolic” answer.
11 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.
12 To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.’ Mt_13:
If I wanted to teach my son to drive, beyond the basics of: this is the steering wheel, this is the brake pedal, and this is the gas pedal; he’s going to have to learn a lot more about instinct, defensiveness, patience and the quirky habits of other people.
Now, all that may not sound like it has anything to do with driving, but without it, that boy may not be driving very long, or may not even be alive very long. So the number one requirement for learning how to safely drive is for the student to really want to learn.
By teaching in parables, Jesus was weeding out those who really wanted this new-found faith – from those who didn’t. And the group fell into a few different categories:
There were those who were lazily just looking for an escape – you know those who say, “Oh it’s snowing out, think I’ll call in sick.” or “Oh there’s a new preacher in town, think I’ll take a day off for a conference.”
Then there were those rebellious ones, who were listening – just to find an edge on which they could hone their debating skills.
And then there were “the disciples,” full of questions, and like those deer in my front yard, with their ears perked up, they were just hungry to learn!
And how do you feed a hungry hippo?
Very cautiously, you lead them to their dinner.
You feed them with parables. And then you step back, and, like the farmer, you patiently watch and wait. And before you know it, you need to buy some pruning shears.
Remember the days when you first began driving, beloved? Your attention was keen, your focus was sharp, and your heart was just pumping with the excitement of freedom. And the very last two things that you would ever want to happen was either getting a ticket or being in an accident. Dad didn’t even have to tell you that – that would be the end of it.
Well, brothers and sisters, I think it’s all just another parable of how God wants us to live. We know the rules, we know the pitfalls and we know the consequences.
But, you know what?
We also know the rewards of keeping in line. And every once in a while we just need a little reminder, a little prompt, a little parable . . .
And there’s the apple – we DON’T eat!
But there’s the sunshine,
and there’s the blue skies,
and there’s the warm apple pie and the ice cream,
and there’s our Sunday Mass,
and there’s the fresh breeze in our hair, driving down the quiet country road, with our favorite music gently playing, and with Mom and Jesus sitting right there – at our side!
. . . And we’re at Peace and
we’re at Home!
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