Daily Scriptures Reflection for 9/17/11

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Scripture: Lectionary # 448: I Timothy 6:13-16. Psalm 100:2.3.4.5 Luke
8:4-15:

Saturday’s Readings

Luke records the earliest parable that Jesus spoke. He takes this from St.
Mark’ Gospel 4:1-25 and shortens it as is his way of handling sources. He
is not repetitive as Matthew nor as rich in description as Mark. He will
help us with our understanding of Jesus through handing down to us in his
Gospel fifty parables!  Some of these are one line and may be classified as
similes. The Jewish tradition named all sorts of genres under Wisdom and
called them “meshalim.” Jesus mastered them and created his own while being
indebted to what he learned from his “Jewish Bible.”

Luke’s theme of universalism is often seen in the parables he hands on from
the other Synoptic Gospels and from his own specific parables not found in
them. He tells us before today’s parable that “A large crowd was
gathering.”The listeners begin to realize this is how Jesus speaks about
the rule and kingdom of God. It is the layman’s theology lesson for them
before there was such a thing as theology!  Jesus teaching was new,
innovative, and compelling. Even those who were envious of Jesus were
amazed by his ability to put lessons about God and how to relate to God in
simple yet profound picture lessons and stories called parables.

In the second part of our reading the interpretation is given in an
allegorical manner in order to help later listeners to get something out of
the parable.  Usually in the original parable one point is being
emphasized. In this one, the great fruitfulness of God’s words produces a
hundredfold at harvest time.  Allegorizing the parable does a step by step
interpretation of each part of the parable and applies it to a different
type of reception by the soil and its surroundings. The listeners are then
brought in to identify themselves with the part of the parable that applies
to them.  This may be more Luke’s way of helping the generations who did
not hear and see Jesus understand some of the ambiguity that is always
present in the meshalim that delights in paradox, oxymora, and comparisons.

Luke is calling upon all who hear or read the parable to receive the
content of it as a seed on good soil. We do so with a spirit of openness to
the word of God spoken by Jesus who is the epitome of God’s wisdom here on
earth. Parables are part of Jesus’ remarkable wisdom and his teaching.

Luke has shortened the parable taken from his source (Mark) and makes the
point of emphasis the fullness and perfection of the harvest of what God
word is supposed to do when we receive it. The parables thus have a
subjective goal of effecting judgment upon the one listening to it. To
those who do not discern its meaning or those who do not take the time to
ponder the saying or parable, they remain unproductive words and seem to
them obscure.

The Lucan scholar, Fr.Robert J.Karris. O.F.M. says this about verse 11: “
the word of God: The explanation of Jesus’ original parable reflects the
experience of Luke’s communities as they struggled to preach the word to
others and to deepen their own response to it. ..This parable of the
historical Jesus paints a word picture of a trustworthy God, who ultimately
will bring God’s kingdom to fruition.”  Today, may this be so for us. Amen.

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