Understanding the Word
“When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. “ MT 13:18
The word understand is sun-istimi in the original Greek text. It means to put together primarily by hearing, “to accept something by hearing” It is used some 26 times in NT If we don’t accept the word it will be snatched away by the evil one. We must understand what an awesome gift the word of God is! We run the terrible risk of it being snatched away us if we are slow to cherish it. When Jeremiah experienced the word of God he ate it! “Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart;’” He literally placed the word in his being! That is what you call sun-istimi !
“After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, “Hear and understand.” See how anxious Jesus is that His word is digested. Notice He just doesn’t say hear, but also understand! One way we can understand His word is by carefully listening. I think for most of us listening is one of the hardest things in life for us to do! How often we feel that others really don’t understand us. Solomon prayed ““ So give Your servant an understanding heart” 1 K 3:9 Actually, the word in Hebrew is a listening (šāmaʿ) heart. Our understanding of God’s word has to have a lot of heart in it!
Understanding the Word is an intimate experience of God. If we make our interest in Scripture only an academic endeavor it will soon become lifeless. Listening with the heart is a love affair with God!
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Louisville, Kentucky.