July 27, 2015

Gospel MT 13:31-35
Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds.
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed
that a person took and sowed in a field.
It is the smallest of all the seeds,
yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants.
It becomes a large bush,
and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.”
He spoke to them another parable.
“The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast
that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour
until the whole batch was leavened.”
All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables.
He spoke to them only in parables,
to fulfill what had been said through the prophet:
I will open my mouth in parables,
I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world.
Today, Jesus quotes Psalm 78:2: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world.”
Parables were used as a common method of teaching among the Rabbis of Jesus’ time. They legitimized the teacher as a person well versed in scripture.
These short stories engage the listener, teach important lessons and are easily remembered.
Today’s gospel gives two parables.
The parable of the mustard seed teaches that from the smallest effort may come the largest reward. The lesson of the yeast in the bread is that as Christians, we too may influence our environment to grow in the ways of God.
My Brother’s Keeper uses modern day stories (parables) when we share our experience from serving those who reach out to us for help.
When talking to a group of teenage boys, I may tell them a story about a girl their age who is filled with embarrassment when she opens the door to find a boy from her class holding a food box to be delivered to her house.
We go on to tell the boys that although their parents and grandparents have taught them that it is more blessed to give than to receive, it is equally true, it is more difficult to receive than it is to give.
The gift that those whom we serve give to us is their humble acceptance of our help.
“We learn best – and change – from hearing stories that strike a chord within us.” John Kotte