Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wednesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

(II Samuel 7:4-17; Mark 4:1-20)

In an appeal for simplicity, “Thank God I’m a Country Boy,” a song John Denver made famous, calls life “a funny, funny riddle.”  In a similar way Jesus in today’s gospel explains that the secrets of life are revealed in parables.

Jesus’ usage of parable seems strange, even inimical.  At first hearing he makes them sound like riddles that are told so that people would have trouble understanding.  On the other hand, parables are known today as comparisons to help the simple-hearted believe in the mercy of God.  Which explanation is correct?  Unsurprisingly, both are.  The parables are indeed meant to help simple people trust in God.  Sophisticated people also may interpret them correctly.  But if sophisticates are driven by the thirst for power, pleasure, or prestige, they will dismiss parables as foolish folk tales and be unmoved by their wisdom. 

Jesus is asking that we prepare ourselves to be receptive ground for the word of God.  He wants us to make its understanding our priority in life, preferable to watching television, making money, or going to the gym.  To accomplish this goal we must read the word it slowly, ponder it carefully, and pray to God to enlighten its meaning.