Gospel Reflection Thursday (21 July) – 16th week Ordinary Time – Why don’t you understand
Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Matthew (13: 10-17) in which Jesus explains to his disciples why he talks to the crowds in parables.
Fr Paul says, like the writer of the Gospel of Mark, the writer of Matthew inserts between parables here the question of why Jesus teaches in parables.
Firstly, the use of stories and images is a great way of getting the message across. An image or a story can stick in our minds much, much longer.
Secondly, the difficult nature of the Kingdom of God and the task of the Messiah needed forceful and repeated explanation.
Many at the time of Jesus were expecting a forceful and political and military Messiah, so a whole new idea of what the Kingdom of God was had to be built up – a kingdom of love, a kingdom of hope, a kingdom of trust, a kingdom of forgiveness, a kingdom of generosity and lots more – far different from that political and military idea. The best way to build up this new image of the Kingdom of God was by telling stories.
The long quote that we hear in this Gospel from Isaiah, Fr Paul says, is for the benefit of the Jewish readers who simply failed to grasp the message of the Messiah. After that prophecy the Gospel ends on a positive note of a blessing on those who understand the secrets of the Kingdom.