He taught them by telling many stories in the form of parables.
Later, when Jesus was alone with the twelve disciples and with the others who were gathered around, they asked him what the parables meant,
He replied, ‘You are permitted to understand the mystery of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables for everything I say to outsiders, so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled:
‘When they see what I do, they will learn nothing. When they hear what I say, they will not understand. Otherwise, they would turn to me and be forgiven’.
(Mark 4: 2, 10-11)
This weekend a concert of Christmas carols and organ recitals took place at Harrington church. The church was full.
The audience was engaged with popular carols in which scripted verses were reserved for men or women respectively, assisted by the appropriate choir members. In addition, the Director taught a new variation of The Holly and the Ivy, which involved splitting the audience into two sections to sing independently.
After several rehearsals, the first verse of the live performance ended with a solitary voice over-singing the end of the music. The solitary voice was mine! Although convinced that I had somehow been ‘set up’, others insisted that I had not listened to an important instruction which was to ‘Follow the choir!’
The words spoken by Jesus are not difficult to understand. He speaks in parables using familiar themes to explain spiritual truths. He describes the loving Father God and creator, Jesus’ own sacrifice to save us from the consequence of our sin, and the Holy Spirit to guide us in behaving like Jesus.
The framework is simple and straightforward. ’Come, follow me! says Jesus. Nevertheless, the truth is concealed from those who are too stubborn, arrogant or prejudiced to hear what is being taught. Poor listeners will also miss important components of Jesus’ teaching.
To truly hear Jesus’ word is to listen, believe and live one’s life accordingly.
May the Holy Spirit, each and every day,
Help us to hear and understand the word of our Lord Jesus Christ,
So that we may behave as he asks of us
and reflect his light throughout our community.