September 12, 2014
Dear brothers and sisters.
I have been away for a while. Today’s good news is from Mark 4:1-2.
On another occasion he began to teach by the sea. A very large crowd gathered around him so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down. And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land. And he taught them at length in parables, and in the course of his instruction he said to them, “Hear this!”
The New Jerome Biblical Commentary gives the meaning parable defined by C. H. Dodd, a Welsh new testament scholar and Protestant theologian: “a metaphor or simile drawn from nature of common life, arresting the hearer by its vividness or strangeness, and leaving the mind in sufficient doubt about its precise application to tease it into active thought.” Moloney in The Gospel of Mark explains that the word translated as parable describes “any parable, wisdom saying, similitude, or other indirect or symbolic use of language which ‘hides’ the immediate truth from those who are ‘outside.'”
I’ve always found that the best teachers don’t give me straightforward information or easy answers to my questions. They made me think for myself, to puzzle things out in a way that made sense for me. That way the lesson took hold in my mind and became a part of my view of the world and my approach to life’s choices and challenges. Barclay puts it this way, “Lastly, the great virtue of the parable is that it compels a man to think for himself….That is what Jesus was aiming at. Truth has always a double impact when it is a personal discovery….He presented them with truth which, if they make the right effort in the right frame of mind, they could discover for themselves, and therefore possess it in a way that made it really and truly theirs.”
That’s what my reflections do for me. They make me discover the truth of the kingdom of God that Jesus teaches about in a way that it becomes truly mine. That is the way I am able to change for the better — making his truth mine.