Parables

Today in the Daily Office, the Gospel reading is Matthew 13:10-17:

The Purpose of the Parables

Then the disciples came and asked him, ‘Why do you speak to them in parables?’ He answered, ‘To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. The reason I speak to them in parables is that “seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.” With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says:

“You will indeed listen, but never understand,
and you will indeed look, but never perceive.
For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and their ears are hard of hearing,
and they have shut their eyes;
so that they might not look with their eyes,
and listen with their ears,
and understand with their heart and turn—
and I would heal them.”

But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly I tell 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.  (from NRSV)

From the Wikipedia entry on parables:

parable is [1] a succinct story, in prose or verse, which illustrates one or more instructive principles, or lessons, or (sometimes) a normative principle. It differs from a fable in that fables use animals, plants, inanimate objects, and forces of nature as characters, while parables generally feature human characters. It is a type of analogy.[2]

I think of parables as stories that point to a greater meaning.  I have learned over the years that people remember stories better than they do other forms of prose.  Stories have a way of sticking with us, and shaping us.

Consider today:

  • What are the stories that have most influenced your life?
  • Of Jesus’ parables, which ones have had the most impact?
  • What is the most memorable story in your life, why is that so?

 

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