The disciples approached him and said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 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. 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. This is why I speak to them in parables, because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand. Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: You shall indeed hear but not understand, you shall indeed look but never see. Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted, and I heal them. But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to 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.” (Matthew 13:10-17)
An interesting reading for today . . . of course, it is not a Gospel about the Gospel. BUT in explaining to his disciples why he used parables, Jesus opens the door as to the posture and the perspective that is needed to truly hear His words. More importantly, to internalize those words.
Over the years, I found that it was a common situation to hear and observe the “ Yes, but not yet” aspiring Christians. They want Jesus in their lives but just not yet. They are afraid that when Jesus comes into our lives, he will turn things around. So, they go through the motions but don’t fully open their hearts and minds to Him.
God can only reveal the secrets of his kingdom to the humble and trusting person who acknowledges their need for God and for his truth. 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 approach God’s word with indifference, skepticism, and disbelief, then we, too, may “hear but not understand” and “see but not perceive.” God’s word can only take root in a receptive heart that is ready to believe and willing to submit. If we want to hear and to understand God’s word, we must listen with reverence and faith.
Knowing Jesus personally, understanding the things of God, is not reserved for a privileged few. It’s for everyone who desires it; everyone who looks with eyes open, hoping to see; everyone who listens with ears tuned, longing to know more of God, not just to hear the sound of his words. God delights in satisfying hearts that hunger and thirst for more of him. It is possible to hear from Him personally, to experience His presence, to learn from Hm, and to gain understanding.
When it comes to Jesus there is a lot to be seen and a lot to be heard. Jesus is worth more than a cursory look and a half-engaged listen. The more carefully we look at Jesus the more we will see, and the more attentively we listen to him, the more we will hear. That is what Jesus means in the gospel reading when he says, ‘for anyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough’. The more we attend to the Lord, the more we will receive and the more blessed we will be.
As Jesus declares at the end of the reading, ‘Happy are your eyes because they see, your ears because they hear’. Jesus is alive among us as risen Lord; he is there to be seen and to be heard by us all. He is visible and audible to us in and through each other, especially in and through those who are most vulnerable. We pray for eyes to see and ears to hear his presence among us.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord, I do want to know You. I do want to seek You and to discover all that You have to say. Help me to turn to You in all things and to grow continually deeper in the life of faith. Jesus, I trust in You. Amen.”
One goal of a parable is to get someone thinking. It’s a way of drawing them in so that they can engage their minds with the Word that was spoken. When someone is open to the Truth, such as the disciples, Jesus is able to lift the veil and speak clearly, deeply and beautifully about the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven. This must be our goal. We must seek to understand all Jesus speaks and believe it wholeheartedly. In fact, once we do begin to believe and, subsequently, live what we come to believe, we will begin a wonderful journey of faith and understanding that we never knew existed before.