Homilette for Monday, July 28, 2008

Monday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

(Matthew 13:31-35)

The parable section in Matthew’s gospel challenges astute readers. In it Jesus says that the comparisons or parables he uses are intended to confuse listeners. Yet we hear the parables as expressive images invoking wonder for God’s Kingdom. The paradox may be explained by observing that believers take the parables as true revelation of God’s love while skeptics only find them indicative of Jesus as a creative preacher.

Still we must struggle at times to understand the parables which are by nature open to different interpretations. The parable of the yeast, for example, may be heard as an indication of how a small infusion of grace can reap great blessing or as a mode of expressing God’s ability to transfer a defect into an instrument of His glory. An example of the latter interpretation is a priest who confesses that he spent much of his youth in egotistic pursuits. Then he converted his ways and felt God’s call. Now as pastor of a small church, he specializes in youth ministry.

Jesus’ parables do reveal him as a mesmerizing preacher. But this is only one aspect of his multiform identity. He is also recognized as a prodigious healer. We can easily expound on the list of characteristics. Most significantly, Jesus is the God who humbled himself to become our brother and savior.