St. Ignatius of Loyola, Priest
Jeremiah 14:17-22 + Matthew 13:36-43
July 31, 2018
“Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
In today’s Gospel passage Jesus offers a point-by-point explanation of the parable that He had preached about the weeds in the field [Matthew 13:24-30]. The evangelists rarely offer us examples of Jesus explaining a parable, so today’s passage is insightful not only in terms of the parable’s content, but also in terms of understanding how Jesus uses parables.
We might wonder, to start with, what the significance is of the evangelist telling us that it’s after “Jesus dismissed the crowds” that “His disciples approached Him” to ask for an explanation of the parable. This is an important distinction that the evangelist didn’t have to note for Jesus’ explanation to make sense. Perhaps the evangelist is highlighting the importance of petitioning God for deeper insight into His revealed Word.
Jesus explains the meanings of seven persons or things within the parable. This allegorical explanation of the parable is important because it’s in accord with the method of interpreting Jesus’ parables commonly found in the writings of patristic and medieval saints. This allegorical method is often rejected today by scholars who offer modern theories about how to interpret parables. It’s important to note that among those whom modern scholars criticize are not only canonized saints whose holiness is proven, but also—as we hear today—Our Lord Himself!