Father Ricardo's Column

Living here among all of these lakes, we are
familiar with the interesting ways that sound travels
over water. In today’s gospel, Jesus’ popularity is
so extensive that he has to get into a boat to use
the water to convey his message to a very large
crowd. Jesus is very aware of his audience, not
only does he use the water to enhance the volume
of his lesson, but he also uses a teaching method
known as parabolic teaching. Parables draw on
what is familiar and observable to illustrate what is
unfamiliar and unseen.

In the earlier chapters of Matthew, there is a
progression of depth in the use of parables. Today
the stories begin to have a particular meaning:
they serve to reveal the mystery of the Kingdom of
God present in the midst of people and the activity
of Jesus.

From his place on the water, Jesus looks at his
audience. He sees the people. He sees the harsh,
rocky land difficult for farming. “A sower went out
to sow.” The comparison used in parables is of
things known by the people, things that they would
understand: Seeds, ground, rain, sun, harvest.
Jesus’ strategy is to enter the imagination of his
listeners, to enable them to connect with what is
still unknown. Jesus is inviting his audience to
become engaged in active thought. He is requiring
a search. “Try to understand!” The understanding
does not come immediately. We are pushed to
think and to make our own discoveries. “He who
has ears to hear, let him hear!” Such active
listening opens us to creativity and to participation
in the revelation itself. The Kingdom of God is not
a doctrine that is easily accessed by most people,
and it is not easily taught.

As we stand on the shore, as we make a habit of
reading and listening to the scriptures, the words of
Jesus have mysterious ways of entering our ears,
our minds, and finally our hearts. During these
beautiful summer days, as we fill our eyes with the
wonders of the natural world and listen to the words
of our weekly scripture s, may we challenge
ourselves to hear in new ways.

FATHER RICARDO