The power of parables

Sunday, June 17, 2012, is the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B.  

Lectio:  Read the Gospel text from Mark 4:26-34.

Read it slowly and reflectively, and maybe a second time.  Try to read aloud rather than with the mind.  Listen to the text as you read. 

Meditatio:  What is it about?   Some background so that we can better understand the text and make our response to it.

In order to understand this text it is helpful to go back over John Crossan’s teaching on Parables.  

It is one thing to communicate to others conclusions and admonitions based on one’s profound spiritual experience…It is quite another thing to try to communicate that experience itself, or better, to assist people to find their own ultimate encounter.  This is what the parables of Jesus seek to do: to help others into their own experience of the Reign of God and to draw from that experience their own way of life.  (In Parables, page 52).

We are given here two parables about the kingdom of God.
Many seeds
one seed

The common theme of both is the lowly beginning.

In the first parable, Christ is the sower of the kingdom.  Christ throws forth the seeds of God’s love, healing, forgiveness, compassion and so on.  Those who are receptive, begin to grow into 


The new
The high
The noble
Children of the kingdom.  
They produce a harvest.

In the second parable the mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds.  God is capable of bringing forth greatness from the lowliest (smallest) of seeds in the lowliest human being, providing that person is receptive.  The seed of the Word is planted in the soil of the heart.  There it takes root and grows into a massive Christian Heart which shelters others in its love.  The love it bears is the love of Christ.

Ponder over the text for some hours or days.

Listen to the Holy Spirit playing like a harpist on the fibres of your heart, to bring forth melody of your response.

I share my response in Evangelizatio No. 1

EVANGELIZATIO:  My lived response to the texts with which the Church exhorts me to pray.  St. James says “Be doers of the Word.”  And the Book of Deuteronomy tells us that the Word of God is in our hands to do it. 

I see these two parables as being essential to an understanding of Lectio Divina.  The Word of God challenges the way I live on earth.  It is there to form me into a new, high and noble child of God.  The Word of God is always new and always fresh.  The Word of God raises me on high and takes my mind off petty human problems and conflict.  The Word of God, when received and responded to, makes me into a noble, grand person, with a face that shines with the Light of Christ. And others are drawn to that light. 

Sr Hildegarde Ryan OSB lives and prays at Jamberoo Abbey

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