Tuesday, August 1, 2017
1) Opening prayer
God our Father and protector,
without you nothing is holy,
nothing has value.
Guide us to everlasting life
by helping us to use wisely
the blessings you have given to the world.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel Reading - Matthew 13,36-43
Then, leaving the crowds, Jesus went to the house; and his disciples came to him and said, 'Explain to us the parable about the darnel in the field.' He said in reply, 'The sower of the good seed is the Son of man. The field is the world; the good seed is the subjects of the kingdom; the darnel, the subjects of the Evil One; the enemy who sowed it, the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; the reapers are the angels. Well then, just as the darnel is gathered up and burnt in the fire, so it will be at the end of time. The Son of man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of falling and all who do evil, and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. Then the upright will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Anyone who has ears should listen!
• The Gospel today presents the explanation of Jesus, at the petition of the disciples, of the parable of the wheat grain and the darnel. Some experts think that this explanation, which Jesus gives to his disciples, is not Jesus’, but of the community. This is possible and probable, because a parable, because of its nature, requires the involvement and the participation of the persons in the discovery of the significance. Like the plant is already contained within the seed, in the same way, certainly, the explanation of the community is in the parable. And it is precisely this objective that Jesus wanted and wants to attain with the parable. The sense which we are discovering today in the parable which Jesus told two thousand years ago was already enclosed, contained, in the story that Jesus told, like the flower is already contained in its seed.
• Matthew 13,36: The request of the disciples to Jesus: the explanation of the parable of the wheat grain and the darnel. The disciples, in the house, speak and ask for an explanation of the parable of the wheat grain and the darnel. (Mt 13,24-30). It has been said many times that Jesus, in the house, continued to teach his disciples (Mk 7,17; 9,28.33; 10,10). At that time, there was no television and people spent together the long winter evenings to speak about the facts and events of life. On these occasions, Jesus completed the teaching and the formation of his disciples.
• Matthew 13,38-39: The meaning of each one of the elements of the parable. Jesus responds taking again each one of these elements of the parable and giving them significance: the field is the world; the good seed are the members of the Kingdom; the darnel is the members of the adversary (the evil one); the enemy is the devil; the harvest is the end of time, the reapers are the angels. And now reread the parable (Mt 13,24-30) giving to each one of these six elements: field, good seed, darnel, enemy, harvest and reapers, the right significance. In this way the story assumes a completely new sense and it is possible to attain the objective that Jesus had in mind when he told people the parable of the darnel and the good seed. Some think that this parable should be understood as an allegory and not as a parable properly so called.
• Matthew 13,40-43: The application of the parable or of the allegory. With the information given by Jesus, you will understand better its application: Just as the darnel is gathered up and burnt in the fire, so it will be at the end of time. The Son of man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of failing and all who do evil, and throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. Then the upright will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father”.
The destiny of the darnel is the furnace; the destiny of the grain is to shine like the sun in the Kingdom of the Father. Behind these two images there is the experience of the persons. After they have listened to Jesus and have accepted him in their life, everything has changed for them. This means that in Jesus what they expected has taken place: the fulfilment of the promises. Now life is divided into before and after having accepted Jesus in their life. The new life has begun with the splendour of the sun. If they would have continued to live as before, they would be like the darnel in the furnace, life without meaning, which is good for nothing.
• Parable and Allegory. There is the parable. There is the allegory. There is the mixture of both which is the more common form. Generally, everything in the parable is a call. In the Gospel of today, we have the example of an allegory. An allegory is a story which a person tells, but when she is telling it, she does not think about the elements of the story, but about the theme which has to be clarified. In reading an allegory it is not necessary first to look at the story as a whole, because in an allegory the story is not constructed around a central point which later serves as a comparison, but rather each element has its own independent function, starting from the sense which it receives. It is a question of discovering what each element of the two stories tries to tell us about the Kingdom, as the explanation which Jesus gave of the parable: field, good seed, darnel, enemy, harvest, reapers. Generally the parables are also allegories, a mixture of both.
4) Personal questions
• In the field everything is mixed up: darnel and grain. In the field of my life, what thing prevails: darnel or grain?
• Have you tried to speak with other persons to discover the sense of some parable?
5) Concluding Prayer
How blessed is he who has Jacob's God to help him,
his hope is in Yahweh his God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea and all that is in them. (Ps 146,5-6)