Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
August 20 A..D. 2009
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Psalm 40:5, 7-8a, 8b-9, 10
A reflection on today's Scripture:
In today's gospel we hear another long parable that Jesus tells the people. Instead of looking at the parable itself, let's take a few moments to look at why He used parables at all.
In today's parable, as well as many others, we hear our Lord start with "The Kingdom of heaven may be likened...." This happens many times in the gospel and it is key to understanding why Jesus uses parables.
The fact is: the Kingdom was beyond the people's understanding in two regards. First, their hard hearts (particularly those of the chief priests, the scribes and the Pharisees) closed their minds to what Jesus was saying, so He had to use parables as a teaching method.
But more important is the second reason He used them, and this is simply that the Kingdom is beyond all peoples' understanding due to our very human nature. The Kingdom and all that surrounds it is a mystery and beyond what we can comprehend. The bottom line is that we cannot fully understand the mystery in our limited nature as human beings.
Much of our faith is centered around mystery. Let's face it, we start with baptism which by all outward appearances seems to be nothing but a washing with water, but in reality is a very holy and soul-cleansing act that brings us salvation.
Then we have confirmation which by all outward appearances seems to be a man putting his hands on someone else, but in reality it is one of Christ's bishops conveying the Holy Spirit. And then we have the Holy Eucharist which by all outward appearances seems to be nothing but bread and wine, but in reality is the saving Body and Blood of our Lord. The fact is that most of our faith is mystery!
I once had a conversation about death with a very old and holy man and in that conversation he said something very profound. He told me he feared the act of dying and its associated pain and suffering but he actually welcomed death for a number or reasons, the most important of which was that the mysteries would be revealed to him at last and he firmly believed his communion with Christ would be complete as a result. I am sure he was right. For now we must admit that we must study the parables in our attempt to better grasp what the Kingdom and Christ and His mysteries are really about..
~ Don Claunch, SFO
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Thursday, August 20, 2009
Thursday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
St. Bernard, abbot and doctor of the Church
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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