Then the disciples came and said to Him: “Why do you speak to them in parables?”
And He answered them: “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven but to them it has not been given…this is why I speak to them in parables because seeing, they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:
“You will indeed hear but never understand and you will indeed see but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull and with their ears they can barely hear; their eyes they have closed lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.”” Excerpt from Matt 13:10-15 and referencing Is 6:10
This section is subtitled: The Purpose of the Parables. The puzzling thing is that Jesus teaches in parables on purpose-why doesn’t He teach plainly instead of these head-scratchers?
Here are the disciples: “Uhh, Master? Could we have a moment?” “Sure-go ahead.” “You know that there aren’t many that understand Your stories, right? We’re hanging with You and sometimes we don’t get them either until later…Not complaining (much anyway) but why do you teach this way?” “Glad you asked, listen up…”
It makes me wonder why Jesus intentionally can be obscure. Actually, according to Isaiah, this obscurity is inherent in Man-my dullness of heart is directly related to me not being able to see, to hear, and to understand.
It is this principle that I can encounter every day. I can speak of the Kingdom of Heaven, I can present the Gospel point by point, I can present the points of the Gospel that convicted me and, I can get blank stares to open hostility. Why? It is because only the Holy Spirit can open a heart to understand the Mystery of the Gospel.
If there is one thing I can identify that is discouraging it is the lack of positive response or achievement to a goal when I put an effort in to do a thing. I want to see some feedback, positive feedback preferably. When I was in sales if I made a presentation I wanted to see it close in my favor-“Make the close, seal the deal.” It isn’t like that concerning parables.
I have to be comfortable with Mystery. I have to be comfortable with patience. I have to be comfortable taking the long view. I have to be comfortable that Jesus has the responsibility for results-I have the responsibility only for presentation to others and personal execution in my own life (the guy in the mirror).
So, Lord God, speaking as a guy who frequently flirts with being deaf, dumb, and blind, please open my heart and all of my senses to understanding. The Psalmist says: “Make me understand the way of your precepts…”(Ps 119:27a) If the Psalmist is asking for this, I couldn’t do any better than piggy backing on his prayer. Hear my cry for understanding, O God. AMEN.