The Purpose of Parables
Somebody had said that God gave us two ears but only one mouth. Some people say that’s because he wanted us to spend twice as much time listening as talking. Others claim it’s because he knew listening was twice as hard as talking.
Jesus in today’s gospel tells His disciples that not everyone would understand His parables. Parables are standard devices use by wisdom teachers and rabbis like Jesus. Parables have enormous suggestive power to trigger insight into the contours of the spiritual domain. They reveal the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. Does Jesus mean to say that He is deliberately confusing His listeners? It is almost as though the Lord does not want them to be able to understand Who He is. Like for example the people of His day could see very clearly Who He is. Somebody said that the people could see that He is working miracles. They could see that He is preaching the Word of God. They could see what His life is all about. But He is not going to show them in pure, plain and simple terms that He is in fact God, that He is the Second Person of the Trinity, that He is the Messiah, all of these things that we have to make an act of faith in and so do they. There is enough evidence there for them. They know the time. They know the tribe from which the Messiah is to be raised up. They have the information that they need; it is a question of whether they want it.
Also, the danger with many of us Christians who live but do not listen is very real. Somebody had said that 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.”
The parables of Jesus will enlighten us if we approach them with an open mind and heart, ready to let them challenge us. If we want to hear and to understand God’s word and His Kingdom, we must listen with godly fear and reverence.
One way of listening with godly fear and reverence is,we must seek to love Him, to know Him, to be united with Him, which means, of course, to get rid of sin in our lives and to have lives of prayer, to be united with God according to the truth and according to love. That is what He is seeking. We must have a desire in our hearts to be united with Him in love. Look at the privilege which is ours. Look at the grace which God has given us to even have an understanding of this truth and a desire for that union with Him. Now, when we see what a rare privilege it is, let us come before the Lord, sit before Him or kneel before Him, and ask Him what He wants from us as a response. What does He want in return? He has chosen us now, we have to choose Him. And in choosing Him, we have to make Him the top priority in our life and love Him with our whole heart and soul and strength.
At the end Robert W. Herron in, Homemade (June, 1987) said that good listening is like tuning in a radio station. For good results, you can listen to only one station at a time. For him, listening requires a choice of where to place his attention. To tune into his partner, he must first choose to put away all that will divide his attention. That might mean laying down the newspaper, moving away from the dishes in the sink, putting down the book he’s reading and setting aside his projects.
OPTION 01, 02, 03,