Our scripture this week is Matthew 13:31-43.
He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.” Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
Jesus quotes from Psalm 78:2, “I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old”, as part of this lesson. It was written long before that this method of teaching would be used by God’s Chosen One to help people learn about the kingdom. We can better understand our relationship with God and our responsibility through these short examples.
The Pharisees taught the people from a position of knowledge, and often their pride in their learning and their position got in the way. Jesus taught the people simply, relating directly to them using situations and objects with which they were familiar. We still need intelligent, learned teachers but it is important that people are able to understand the lesson.
An internet meme has Jesus ask “who do you say I am?” and the theologians reply “You are the eschatological manifestation of the ground of our being, the kerygma of which we find the ultimate meaning in our interpersonal relationships.” And Jesus said, “What?” I’m sure that some of these terms make sense to the theologically educated, but to most people they are just noise. We need to make sure the things we share about God and His love are understood by those we hope to reach, as Jesus did with His gentle teaching.
Loving Lord, sometimes we get wrapped up in how we do things and neglect why we do them and for whom. Help us to be caring and patient in our sharing of the Good News, that all may come to know You. Amen.