Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas
Today’s Gospel includes one of the most well known of the parables-the parable of the mustard seed. It is tempting to share thoughts on this beautiful parable. But the last two lines of today’s Gospel are also worth contemplating.
"With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private."
A parable is defined as the telling of a story to convey a message. We often think of the parables as being only the Jesus’ parables of scripture, but I think we can find many great parables – or messages in everyday life. I know a priest who takes great delight in going to movies. And in all the movies he sees, he looks for and almost always finds a moral – something he can use in a homily or in the counseling he does.
Sometimes, when we are very quiet and listen, we can distinctly hear God’s message, God’s will for us. At these times we are like the disciples, to whom Jesus explained things in private. At other times, we need to search the world around us to find Jesus’ message. Perhaps we walk down a tree lined street and see God’s care for all that grows and thus know that God loves us, or perhaps we see people involved in prison ministry and remember that all are called to practice justice and mercy. Or perhaps we see a movie, read a book or even watch a TV show and find the kernel of morality there. Maybe the reason Jesus uses parables, and the reason we should seek parables in our everyday life, is partially because the time is taken to discern the message helps deepen and root the message in our hearts.
Today is also the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas, the great Doctor, philosopher and teacher of the Church. Thomas changed our church with his profound writings and teachings. I was recently reading of Thomas Aquinas’ love of poetry. Since most poetry is a really a type of parable, perhaps we can assume that while God’s voice was undoubtedly heard distinctly by him, St. Thomas also listened to and contemplated messages found in parables.
What parables do you find in your life? And do you find time for quiet so that you can hear God’s voice?
Mary Lou Butler ([email protected])is the administrator of Christ the King Passionist Retreat Center in Citrus Heights, California.