The Gospels contain many parables. Jesus’ favorite method of teaching was using parables. In doing so, he was following the tradition of the rabbis at the time. Why was teaching in parables so important and fruitful?
Once there was a famous rabbi who loved to illustrate a truth by means of a story. One day his students asked him why he adopted this approach. The rabbi replied, “The best way to answer your question is through a story.”
And so he continued, “There was a time when Truth went around naked and unadorned. But the people shied away from Truth, and gave him no welcome. So Truth wandered through the land, rebuffed and unwanted.
One day, very disconsolate, he met Story strolling along happily dressed in a multi-colored robe.
“Truth, why are you so sad?” Story asked. “I’m sad because I am so old and ugly that everybody avoids me,” Truth replied.
“Nonsense!” laughed Story. “That is not why people avoid you. Here, borrow my robe, and see what happens.”
So Truth donned Story’s multi-colored robe, and lo, everywhere he went, he was welcomed.
And the rabbi concluded, “The fact is, people are unable to face the naked truth: they much prefer the Truth disguised.”
Sometimes the truth can be so painful that we are not able to take it straight. We have to dress it up. A story makes a bitter truth more palatable. A short story can contain a great truth and enable us to penetrate to the heart of that truth.
In today’s parable of the sower and the seed, Jesus is telling us that the Word of God is to the human heart what seed is to the soil. Just as soil is barren without seed, so our lives are barren without the Word of God. The Word of God is the life-giving spring of the spiritual life.
Through his Word, God is continually inviting us to a better, more abundant and fruitful life. God speaks to us as a Father. God’s Word is as gentle as seed falling into the soil. Yet that Word is more effective as it has the power to change people’s hearts.
God doesn’t only speak to us in the Sacred Scriptures but also through the events of our lives. However, it is the Word of God that helps us interpret what God is saying to us through those events.
May the Word of God penetrate our minds and hearts, conforming us to the image of the Son!
– Fr. Dennis, July 12, 2020