Today’s gospel clearly pictures Our Lord’s frustration with the men and women who had walked daily with Him for almost three years. He is astonished that the apostles understood neither the true meaning of the parable which He had just given that morning, nor the reason he used parables in the first place; Parables He had used since the first early days of His preaching. Why had they not asked Him about using parables long before this moment?
Having created us, Christ knew that humans are better able to comprehend and remember instruction presented in story form rather than dry enumeration of fact or direction. The parable is a form of Aristotle’s method of teaching: drawing the learner to comprehension of the subject being taught rather than simply presenting it. The parable is a gift to unwrap, a mental puzzle of sorts that increases the true understanding of Christ’s message.
If these, His hand-picked followers, could not grasp His meaning or the way it was presented, how much more must we strive to understand His words? The Sower of seed may appear nonchalant about broadcasting his precious seed amongst the rocks and thorns. But the Holy Land is a desert country of rock strewn, dusty, parched fields. Good land is rare and must be sought out and cared for. Even then the seed may fall on rock, bare baked earth, or among the weeds. Rock, weeds, thieving birds, poor earth are always a challenge to a good harvest. So Christ’s truth is that the sower, having been given the gift of good seed, must care for the way it is sown, watered, cared for, until it brings forth a bountiful harvest. We were each given gifts which must in turn be cared for, increased, then brought to full harvest.
Just for today, I will sit in the quiet of this summer evening and think of all the gifts I have been given, the talents I have received, and how I am using them. Then as twilight slowly overcomes the day, I will thank Our Lord for all that He has given me and remember that those gifts are merely entrusted to me. I must account for them at the final Harvest.
Ray Alonzo is the father of three children, grandfather of two, and husband to Jan for 45 years. He is a USN Vietnam Veteran, and a 1969 graduate of Mother of Good Counsel Passionist Prep Seminary. Ray currently serves on the Passionist Alumni Council.