Tuesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time [II]
Jeremiah 14:17-22 + Matthew 13:36-43
July 28, 2020
“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, proclaimed at Holy Mass on Saturday of this past week. The evangelists rarely offer us examples of Jesus explaining one of His parables. So today’s passage is insightful both in terms of the parable’s content, and 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 of the parable to make sense. Perhaps the evangelist is highlighting the importance of petitioning God for deeper insight into His revealed Word.
Jesus then 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. The allegorical method of understanding Sacred Scripture is often rejected today by scholars who prefer to use only rationalistic forms of the historical-critical method. Nonetheless, central to all the elements of Jesus’ allegorical interpretation is His call for each of us to be among the “good seed”, sown by the Son of Man in His preaching, Passion, Death and Resurrection.