A kingdom full of surprises – Thursday, 16th week in ordinary time – Mt 13:10-17
Matthew chapter 13 is also called the parable discourse. It is the third of five discourses found in the Gospel of Matthew. In it are found seven parables attempting to explain what the kingdom of God is like. Remember that Jesus does not limit the notion of the kingdom of God to a specific idea but He always compares it; “ the kingdom of God is like”. Yet the kingdom is always greater than what it has been compared to.
A parable is really a ‘throwing alongside’. It is a comparison of two entities so that one may throw light on the other. There was a reason why Jesus spoke in parables. Parables embodied simple elements of everyday life, it avoided the jargon of the learned and it got the message across simply. For Jesus it was the best means of communication especially since His intended hearers were the simple folk.
There was a reason why Jesus took His message to the masses. Chapters eleven and twelve which precede this chapter, clearly tell us of the heightened tension between Jesus and the Jewish leadership. No matter what He did, they simply found fault with him. Their learning came in the way of the unfolding reality that Jesus had come as the Messiah.
It is for this reason, that chapter 11:25, has Jesus exclaiming a thanksgiving; for the mysteries are hidden from the learned and revealed to mere children. Our Gospel of today is a take-off from the issue at hand. There was nothing wrong with the sower or the seed, the problem is always the soil and the soil of the Jewish leadership was anything but receptive; it was hardened, shallow and thorn infested.
Perhaps the disciples wanted Jesus to speak in lofty words like the Rabbis, which necessitated their question; why do you speak to them in parables? There is a clear reference to the ‘them’ verses us in the Gospel of Matthew. So who were these ‘them’?
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