Scripture: Lectionary 397. July 25, Feast of St. James Apostle. Jeremiah 1:1.4-10. Psalm 71:1-2.3-4.5-6. Matthew 13:1-9:
Sometimes it is amusing to hear the expression used in the Gospels, “Let him who has ears, let him hear.” Today we might translate it in this way, “Let everyone give consideration and attention to what you hear.” Jesus uses the expression at the end of some of his parables and sayings. We have an example of this in the very first parable of
Jesus that ever was written down by an evangelist. Mark did that and soon Matthew and Luke followed him in copying that same parable with a few differences in their wording. The Synoptic tradition often has such agreements which may be called “multiple attestations”.
On our part we should be responsive to each parable by letting it strike us where we are in our spiritual journey of discipleship with Jesus. This is characteristic of the power of the best parable speaker of all times, Jesus of Nazareth. He even was aware to use a boat for getting a larger crowd to gather on the shore and to have the good acoustic of the surrounding mountains of Lake Galilee on the western side to help people hear him.
Most parables make one specific point that helps us to hear and understand where they are to help us. We, however, bring ourselves into them and allow them to speak to us where we feel and think they are challenging us.
Since Mark’s Gospel was the first to be written, we can always go back to it when Matthew uses the same parable; the same holds for Luke’s taking up the same parable. It appears in chapter four of Mark and is the very first parable we ever hear in the New Testament so it is important that we have ears to hear what it is saying. (Mark 4:1-9).
We may wish to go back to Mark’s version and then read what we have for today from Matthew. This will enhance our lectio divina (our praying with the Scriptures for the day). Even the lead-in and locating of the parable has some differences from the perspective of each evangelist. It is only Luke who will tell us that the boat belongs to Simon (Peter). Mark gives us in his Greek text probably a literal translation of Jesus’ Aramaic words. (Matthew Black).
Despite the unresponsive listeners and we may sometimes be among them, the people who listen attentively realize that Jesus is telling them that the field is ripe for harvesting (John 4:35) or as C.H.Dodd puts it, “The crop is ripe; it is time to reap.” Jesus is speaking to us directly through this parable. How are we receiving his words today and what do we need to do about what we are hearing in our prayer and our listening? Amen.
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.