Understanding parables


#1

Good day everyone!

I will make this first post very brief as if I am in the wrong forum, I do not wish to leave a lengthy, non-appropriate thread.

In past years (decades) I have had problems with the depths of parables as I knew there had to be more there and though I read scholarly (religious) explanations, it never really seemed that I understood it on the level of, for example The 10 Commandments, where they are extremely clear.

I have a couple of parables I would like to offer for possible discussion or at least comments on what I am receiving from the Scripture as I go through it and then when I pray and meditate on it. By meditation I mean true, go down a couple of levels meditation, not simply sitting still; no offense meant here, I simply wanted to clarify that I deliberately work to achieve a deeper meditative state, thanks to an excellent psychologist, before I pray and then meditation on something in the Scripture that is knocking on the doors of my mind, wanting to be given some deeper consideration.

Is this the appropriate place? If not, where should I try to post?

Any guidance will be wonderful.

Have a Blessed day!

OAD


#2

Well, I have no particular authority here, but it seems to me this is the place. There are some pretty deep biblical scholar-types that post here. I say lay it out and let’s talk about it.


#3

yes…keep going…we’ll probably all learn something!!:thumbsup:


#4
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#5

I have started reading Scripture every night before I sleep. When I am ready to sleep, I have a series of things I do to bring myself down into a true meditative state where I am totally aware and able to concentrate without any outside intrusions. Thanks to my wife, I have these wonderful little earpieces that exclude outside sound. I just put them into my ears and begin the process. All of this is with very controlled breathing. I pray The Lord’s Prayer which has a beautiful rhythm to it that has a remarkable effect almost immediately. Then I pray to Christ Jesus and since I am not a member of the Church yet (on the RCIA path but just the first step) I ask Christ Jesus to hear my confession of my life’s sins, Repent and then ask for Forgiveness though I am not worthy to even be in His presence or to touch the hem of his garment. I finish with Psalm 23 which also has a beautiful rhythm and always takes me to the level where I can truly meditate.

I apologize for the long beginning and it is not to elevate myself in any way but to simply, hopefully show how I truly love Prayer and know the Power of Prayer because I have felt it in my life. I hope that does not sound arrogant and I know I am apologizing too much but this is my first post here, I do not know anyone and though I read the rules, I have memory issues and constantly worry about offence.

I had been reading Luke 19 and was meditating on the parable that Jesus related. Two things came to me like light shining into my mind.

The first is that we seemingly hear everywhere that religion and quite often the Church is a relic and a means to trap people in the past. Nothing could be further from the truth. I believe that the Commandments, the Holy Words of Almighty God and the Holy Words of Christ Jesus are the most liberating forces that one could ever hope to receive. Why? If you simply follow the Commandments and stay with the Holy Word you live a life of peace and harmony with the world and everyone around you and that is true freedom. It liberates your mind to go down paths that do nothing but make you stronger in your mind, body and soul. People have taken as truth that possessions are what matters in this world which is the greatest of lies. The poorest man or woman that has shelter and food and lives a life on the Path of Righteousness is rich in the ways that matter for the soul grows as your life aligns properly with the ways that Almighty God and Christ Jesus meant for us to live. I know this has been discussed elsewhere but when the knowledge that what I was truly receiving was perfect freedom, all of my pain and all of my worries simply faded away and I drifted down a little deeper.

This was when I started going through the parable in Luke 19. I had never understood the parable before though I believe I might have come close at one time but could not fully grasp the true depth. Here is what came to me. Jesus was saying that if you know The Way, The Truth and The Life and you do something with it as the servants made their single pound each into more, they you are doing the true work of Almighty God and Christ Jesus, spreading the Gospel and making more from what you have. The servant who simply held onto the pound and did nothing with it lost even that pound for what good is Faith if you keep it to yourself and don’t at least attempt to share it with others? If I understand it correctly, simply going through the motions is not walking the Path of Righteousness, in a way it is a repudiation of Faith as why would you not want to share and increase something so wonderful? I am still working through the Scripture where Jesus talks about at least putting it into a bank so that interest would accrue and would appreciate any insight into that part of the parable.

Tonight I plan to consider the rest of Luke 19 because it is kind of “calling” to me to go over it in my mind some more.

If I have done anything wrong in this post, believe me, such was not my intention. In no way, shape or form am I trying to elevate myself because I know what I am, an old sinner with many confessions, repentance and begging Christ Jesus for forgiveness ahead of me before my soul can begin to become clean. I know Christ Jesus could Forgive my sins and cleanse my soul but in my heart and my soul I know I am simply not worthy. I have blood on my hands that refuses to leave me in peace but praying, meditation on Scripture and the only form of Confession I can do right now is helping me as I have finally begun to be able to sleep again. Prayer can do wonders in our lives and all we have to do is open our hearts, minds and souls to receive it.

If I sound pretentious, please forgive me.
If I mangled the real meaning of Scripture, please forgive me and may God Almighty and Christ Jesus forgive me for such a sin.
If I offended anyone, please forgive me.

Warmest regards and may Almighty God and Christ Jesus Bless you and Keep you and yours Always,

OAD


#6

I know that this is not what you are after and I will enjoy reading people’s thoughts on this subject but I want to express my own reaction to Christ’s parables. For me, the parables I find most difficult to understand are the ones in which He is speaking directly to me and I have trouble wanting to hear what He has to say. The parables I love are the ones that are for other people. The ones I have trouble with are the ones that are calling me to change.


#7

I understand you completely.

I have much to answer for in my life and whatever time Almighty God allows me before Final Judgement will be spent reading Scripture and trying to understand as best I can with all my flaws.

Warmest regards,

OAD


#8

I believe I posted this in the wrong forum so I will do as the forum rules indicate and look for a more appropriate place to post.

I realize now that my post is more a discussion of my journey to learn the Scripture whereas this forum is more devoted to those with deep knowledge of Scripture and wish to debate points therein.

My apologies to all.

OAD


#9

Thread is fine. Please carry on.:slight_smile:


#10

You say you are converting to Catholicism, I will make an assumption that you might have been raised as a Protestant. Perhaps the place to start to understand the parables is to agree what they are. In a Protestant Bible study that I attended, someone spoke to this simply and said that parables are heavenly thoughts in down-to-earth words. Did I get that reasonably correct?

The Catholic Church says that scriptures offer us an inexhaustible source of inspiration, so we might also agree at the start that we will find or hear different explanations of parables, so we need not be alarmed by this, we should expect it.

In the original post you said " It liberates your mind to go down paths that do nothing but make you stronger in your mind, body and soul." Well, first l’d say those paths are the ones that lead to God, paths of holiness. We want to steer away from any paths that do not lead to God and to his holiness. So, no road rage, no cuss words, no infidelity to spouse, using our resources in the right way to build up the kingdom of God, etc.

I read a lot of Jewish commentaries and Jews hold on to everything that has ever been said about the Torah. They are willing to listen and hold on to all the points of view, so that nothing has been overlooked. There are conflicts and contradictions in scripture, so it is no surprise that ordinary people have conflicts and contradictions. How can we grow from making ourselves consider all the points of view? – it may show us a path that we have never considered and at other times it may help deepen our convictions, for times (every day!) when we need help to get by.


#11

To quicly expand on my previous post (#10), I am reading about a famous and important Rabbi by the name of Akiva ben Joseph. He was a contemporary of another important teacher, Rabbi Ishmael ben Alisha. They frequently disagreed because Akiva studied Jewish mysticism whereas Ishmael was focused more on the literal meaning of scripture.

Maybe for that reason or for another, Akiva was much more influential in 1st to 2nd century Judaism (reinventing it after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD), or so it is said. Without a Temple to worship in, all of the Torah needed to be re-interpreted. For example, prayer became the replacement for animal sacrifice.


#12

need some time to read the parable, but from what you said about it, and I could be wrong
is , it’s like…“be fruitful and multiply”


#13

Speaking as a happy convert:

Becoming a Catholic is like entering a huge castle with many rooms. You think that you have seen all there is to know and then you step into another room and find that you have just barely stepped off the porch. You will never run out of things to learn and to contemplate. Sometimes it is overwhelming so my advice is to take it slow and just enjoy the ride.

Catholicism embraces 2,000 years contemplating human nature, the Bible and God.

The parables are as simple as a story for a child but with each reading, new meaning and new complexities come to mind. It is hard for me to say which is my favorite parable but the story of the Prodigal Son is probably the one that touches me differently each time I read it. As a grandmother I have identified with each of the main characters and with many of the characters in the background (the mother for instance - what was she feeling and thinking). I have identified with the younger son, I have identified with the older son and more and more I identify with the father. I have seen my children and grand children in the lives of the brothers.

Christ does not tell the ending of the story. He leaves that up to us. How do we end the story for ourselves? Does the older brother finally embrace the younger brother? Did the younger brother really learn his lesson? How did the father handle both of his sons?


#14

Luke 19:11-27:

This is the one parable that I find most difficult … therefore I figure that this is one that is speaking to me.

Is it fair that the one with the most is most rewarded?
Why is the nobleman so hard on the one with the smallest amount?

This is my latest thinking about this parable: (subject to change as I read what other people may write)

It has helped me to think in terms of gifts rather than money. Talents, for instance. Each one of us is given gifts that are to be used for the Kingdom of God - music talents, business knowledge, life experiences, artistic talents. Some of us receive many gifts and some of us not so much. But, no matter how much or how little we have been given, we are to use these talents and not hide them under ground and complain. We can not use the excuse, “But it is not fair that she has more than me.” We are to use what we have no matter what it is. Maybe we can’t sing but we can help with the music library. Maybe we can’t speak, but we can listen. Maybe we can’t donate much money but we could wash dishes for a funeral dinner.

This is a story to warn us about envy.


#15

ABSOLUTELY:thumbsup:

But keep in mind friend that SPACE is limited here on CAF so leave space for replies:)

God Bless you,

Patrick


#16

Peace be with you also.
This is a timely thread. I struggle with this parable more than any other. The passage of time can be a hard thing.

The master gives his servants coin, and time. The unfruitful servant still has his coin. What he has squandered is time and opportunity. That is a real hard thing for me. I have wasted the gifts God has given me for much of my life through sloth and neglect. And due to certain personality traits I can’t do much about, other than find gratitude for them.

So time has passed, and I haven’t been as fruitful as I think I should have been. You mention blood on your hands. I also have blood on my hands. I’ll leave the circumstances for another time.
All this adds up to temptations to fear, envy, and regret. I see others who have done great community service and parish service. They have houses and vacations and established charitable funds. It’s easy to feel small and insignificant, in comparison. My coin does not seem to have multiplied like others. And now middle age is here. This parable, which is true, weighs heavily on my mind.

I can’t get that time back. But here’s the thing:
God is beyond time. God has taken care of the past, and will take care of the future. God gives us today to live in.
In Christ Jesus we are re-created. We are made new. He has defeated death, time, fear, regret, shame, sin. Today is a new moment, in fact it is the only moment for us. And I cannot live in this moment if I am worried about the time before. I still have that coin in my hand, and through gratitude, repentance, conversion, and loving service to others, he will multiply His coin through me, as he wills. For me it starts with gratitude. Gratitude is the antidote to regret over lost time. And gratitude is the root of all other virtues. Gratitude opens up God’s presence in the past, for the present, and in the future. We see things through God’s eyes, not our own limited eyes, which can be tempted to only see the rough spots.

ευχαριστία
**Thank you Lord Jesus for this day to live with you. I give you my life. Multiply your coin in me as you will. **

Luke 19 is not the only parable. It is one parable and must be read in the context of the whole Gospel.
There is also the prodigal son, and the lost sheep, and others.


#17

Old Army Dog: I just wish to say that you are on the right track ion wanting to learn and understand Scripture better. One way is Lectio Dinina as its a great way to meditate on the Word. of course there are plenty of ways to study Scripture and anytime you find where there is a Catholic study group or even on line it can be very helpful to you and I also think many on CAF can be very helpful also so go for it and God bless!


#18

I apologize for taking out part of your wonderful post but I am taking the note on space usage to heart and trying to be more concise.

In many ways, you and I are in the same situation. In my case it was like waking up three years ago from a long nightmare and realizing I lost over 30 years of my life. I refuse to let this second chance Blessing go unused and plan to try and use every second of it to get on the Path and stay on the Path.

I wish you Peace, my friend in Christ Jesus and Almighty God. When you have those weights, they can truly hold you down until you are unable to move in either mind, body or spirit. For me, it began to lift after beginning intense psychological counseling with a doctor who believes (and practices) that Faith is an extremely important part of healing.

I pray that you find Peace. I know the road is hard and I’m not there yet but I am seeing light at the end of the tunnel that was not there before.


#19

Whenever confronted with a parable; SEEK the Moral Lesson:thumbsup:

Continued Blessings my friend,

Patrick


#20

Hi,

Which version of the Bible would you suggest is the best to read? I’m a Muslim and I recently listen a talk regarding interfaith presentations, and I just wanted to augment my knowledge of the Bible side of the narrative.

This question is for anyone who is able to explain.

Thank you and God bless.

:o


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