From the Pastor’s Desk
These Sundays of July, the Lectionary for Sunday Mass proclaims some of the parables found in chapter 13 of the Gospel according to Matthew. The parables of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) are unlike any other genre of Biblical literature. For those who have studied the great literature of the world, they might be compared to Aesop’s Fables, but even then the parables of Jesus are so much more.
The Hebrew (Aramaic) word for “parable” is mashal which was rendered in Greek, the language of the New Testament, as parabolē. The Hebrew means “to be like” while the Greek means “to set beside” as a way to compare. If we listen closely to how Jesus’ parables are introduced in the Gospels we can see why these words were chosen. So often the passage begins with our Savior proclaiming, The kingdom of God is like….
And yet, Jesus’ parables are not really comparisons. Rather, they point to something much deeper, much more profound. One modern Biblical scholar defines our Lord’s parables as “a story which employs short, narrative fiction to reference a transcendent symbol.” This simply means that the parables of the Gospels point to something that is beyond our human experience. We might say that they point us to the Mystery of God and the grace He alone bestows.
The parables of the Synoptic Gospels are grace-filled so that they may allow us to see God’s grace, God’s divine life at work – in us, in others, in the world.