Then his disciples asked him what the meaning of this parable might be. (From Saturday's Gospel reading)
Reflection for Saturday: How to Hear Jesus
By Graciela Ramos, Director of Online Ministry
In reading the passage from Saturday’s Gospel, my first impression was: "Jesus is being indifferent and unkind to those who are not his disciples," because he tells the disciples that he will explain to them the parable and he’ll let everyone else leave without understanding anything.
Of course, Jesus could never neglect anyone. It is impossible since he is God. Each creature is important and unique to him. So, why won't he explain the parable to anyone but his followers?
Let's have a look at the end of verse eight. When the parable ends Jesus cries out: "Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear." Of course, everyone had ears. Then? It’s simple. Jesus uses the verb “to hear" as a synonym of "to pay attention and try to understand". He was inviting the crowd to try to understand what he had just told them in the parable.
Immediately after, in verse nine, we read: "The disciples asked him...." There is the key. There is the reason why Jesus explains it them and not to the rest of the crowd. The disciples came and asked him what he meant with that parable, simply because they wanted to know more, they wanted to understand the parable, they wanted Jesus to reveal to them the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. This "willingness" was the condition for Jesus to devote to them his time and effort.
Today, many new things and situations challenge our concepts or our ideas. Every day we find realities that confuse us, and sometimes we want to do as the crowd did and move away without understanding. We prefer to avoid the problem of making an effort to understand. Then, if someone questions us or asks us about the meaning of a Church law or teaching or what to think about a scandal, we can respond according to our own opinion. But this is not what God has in mind for us. This is not our calling.
As Christians, we are called to seek answers, to investigate all of the issues that challenge our understanding. God has enabled us (like he enabled the multitude who listened to the parable of the sower) to understand everything he came to teach us. And, if some subject is beyond our understanding and we cannot grasp the meaning, Jesus is always available to us through his Holy Spirit, to explain it to us and "to guide us to the full truth" (John 16, 13).
We just need to desire to understand, to desire to follow Jesus and to do only his will. We only need a heart that's open and willing to be invaded, healed and liberated by the Divine Physician. Jesus will take care of the rest.
Take a Look: Modern Day Parables
Jesus had a very popular way of explaining the invisible realities of the Kingdom of God, using visible realities from our daily life. He used the earthly realities of the sea and fishing to call his disciples "Fishers of Men". When he spoke of the end of times, he drew the attention of his followers to the signs for the times of the harvest. And he used crops to explain how his word is received according to a person's willingness.
In our WordBytes website, we have the "Modern Day Parables", http://wordbytes.org/parables/, which can help us to reflect about our dignity as God's children, about evil, the purgatory, etc. I invite you to read them and let the Holy Spirit deepen your faith.
Inside the Ministry Now: Online Retreats via Podcasts and WhatsApp
Praise the Lord, 105 people from around the world have just completed our first video retreat on WhatsApp!
On Monday October 1st the second retreat, "How to Live in the Power of the Holy Spirit", will begin as a series of short videos, delivered one per day. Click here if you want to join it; scroll to the bottom, to the WhatsApp Retreats: http://gogoodnews.net/whatsapp-ministries/
Next, we are launching The Good News Show. This is a podcast show, designed to help you live your best faith. Included are series with 5 to 6 minutes of inspirational teachings, single episodes on different topics to build your faith, and interviews that will uplift you and strengthen your own resolve to depend on God in all the challenges of life.
The first show will be 15 episodes on "How to Hear the Holy Spirit", published three days a week. This goes perfectly with the theme that Graciela wrote about in the reflection above. It begins on October 1st. Find out how to subscribe at http://studios.gnm.org/podcasts/.