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Reflections: Scripture (Parables)

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Reflections: 

Holy Scripture:

Parables

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Parables

 

Category
Quotation

Parables

"The Greek word 'Parable,' is rendered in Latin 'Similitude,' by which truth is explained; and an image or representation of the reality is set forth." (Remigius)

"He rouses the minds of His hearers by a parable, pointing out objects to the sight, to make His discourse more manifest." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"Now we must not take every thing contained in the parable literally, but bringing out the meaning which the author had in view, search for nothing farther." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"But we ought not to pursue through every particular the circumstances of a parable; but enter into its general scope, and seek nothing further." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"Note that this is the first parable that has been given with its interpretation but we must beware where the Lord expounds His own teachings, that we do not presume to understand any thing either more or less, or any way otherwise than as so expounded by Him." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church) 

"For though He had spoken many things not in parables, when not speaking before the multitudes, yet at this time He spoke nothing without a parable (Mt. 13:34)." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"Yet He spoke not in parables to the disciples, but to the multitude; and even to this day the multitude hears in parables; and therefore it is said, And without a parable He did not speak to them." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"It is certain that the Lord spoke the things which the Evangelist has recorded; but what the Lord spoke was a parable, in which it is never required that the things contained should have actually taken place." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"And it should be noted, that not only what He spoke but also what He did, were parables, that is, signs of things spiritual, which He clearly shows when He says, 'That seeing they may not see; but words are heard and not seen'." (Remigius)

"As though He had said, I who spoke before by the Prophets, now in My own person will open My mouth in parables, and will bring forth out of My secret store mysteries which have been hidden ever since the foundation of the world." (Early Gloss)

"The reason why He spoke in parables the Evangelist subjoins, saying, That it might be fulfilled that was spoken by the Prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world (Mt. 13:35)." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"He had not done thus on the mount; He had not framed His discourse by parables. For there were the multitudes only, and a mixed crowd but here the Scribes and Pharisees. But He speaks in parables not for this reason only, but to make His sayings plainer, and fix them more fully in the memory, by sayings things before the eyes." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"['But without a parable spoke he not to them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples' (Mt. 4:34).] For they were worthy to hear mysteries apart, in the most secret haunt of wisdom, for they were men, who, removed from the crowds of evil thoughts, remained in the solitude of virtue; and wisdom is received in a time of quiet." ('Psuedo Jerome', as quoted by St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church)

"For since the multitude was unlearned, he instructs them from objects of food and familiar names, and for this reason he adds, But without a parable spoke he not to them, that is, in order that they might be induced to approach and to ask Him. It goes on 'And when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples', that is, all things about which they were ignorant and asked Him, not simply all, whether obscure or not." (St. Theophylact)

"And so that which is spoken in the Lord's person, 'I will open my mouth in parables', if considered attentively, will be found to be a description of the departure of Israel out of Egypt, and a relation of all the wonders contained in the history of Exodus. By which we learn, that all that is there written may be taken in a figurative way, and contains hidden sacraments; for this what the Savior is there made to preface by the words, 'I will open my mouth in parables'." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"That which David had foretold in the person of Christ, 'I will open my mouth in parables', the Lord here fulfills; as it is said, And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spoke by a parable. But the Lord speaks by a parable, first indeed that He may make His hearers more attentive. For men were accustomed to exercise their minds on dark sayings, and to despise what was plain; and next, that the unworthy might not receive what was spoken mystically." (St. Theophylact)

"But to those who are unworthy of such mysteries, they are obscurely spoken. Hence it follows, But to the rest in parables, that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. For they think they see, but see not, and hear indeed, but do not understand. For this reason Christ hides this from them, lest they should beget a greater prejudice against them, if after they had known the mysteries of Christ, they despised them. For he who understands and afterwards despises, shall be more severely punished." (St. Theophylact)

"A parable is a comparison made between things discordant by nature, under some similitude. For parable is the Greek for a similitude, when we point out by some comparisons what we would have understood. In this way we say an iron man, when we desire that he should be understood to be hardy and strong; when to be swift, we compare him to winds and birds. But He speaks to the multitudes in parables, with His usual providence, that those who could not take in heavenly things, might conceive what they heard by an earthly similitude." ('Psuedo Jerome', as quoted by St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church)

"And it is to be noted, that He spoke not all things to them in parables, but many things for had He spoken all things in parables, the people would have departed without benefit. He mingles things plain with things dark, that by those things which they understand they may be incited to get knowledge of the things they understand not. The multitude also is not of one opinion, but of divers wills in divers matters, whence He speaks to them in many parables, that each according to their several dispositions parables receive some portion of His teaching." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"But His speaking to them only in parables, and yet not leaving off speaking to them entirely, shows that to those who are placed near to what is good, though they may have no good in themselves, still good is shown disguised. But when a man approaches it with reverence and a right heart, he wins for himself an abundant revelation of mysteries; when on the contrary his thoughts are not sound, he will be neither made worthy of those things which are easy to many men, nor even of hearing them. There follows, And he said to them, Know you not this parable, how then shall you know all parables?" (Pseudo Chrys, as quoted by St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church)

"As if He said, As a lantern is lighted that it should give light, not that it should be covered under a bushel or a bed, so also the secrets of the kingdom of heaven when uttered in parables, although hid from those who are strangers to the faith, will not however to all men appear obscure. Hence he adds, For nothing is secret that shall not be made manifest, neither any thing hid that shall not be known... As if He said, Though many things are spoken in parables, that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand, because of their unbelief, yet the whole matter shall be revealed." (Eusebius, as quoted by St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church)

"[O]ur Lord spoke to the multitudes in parables, because they were neither able nor worthy to receive the naked truth, which He revealed to His disciples. And when it is said that 'without parables He did not speak to them,' according to Chrysostom (Hom. 47 in Matthaeum), we are to understand this of that particular sermon, since on other occasions He said many things to the multitude without parables. Or, as Augustine says (De Qq. Evangeliorum, Q17), this means, 'not that He spoke nothing literally, but that He scarcely ever spoke without introducing a parable, although He also spoke some things in the literal sense.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Christ spoke certain things in secret to the crowds, by employing parables in teaching them spiritual mysteries which they were either unable or unworthy to grasp: and yet it was better for them to be instructed in the knowledge of spiritual things, albeit hidden under the garb of parables, than to be deprived of it altogether. Nevertheless our Lord expounded the open and unveiled truth of these parables to His disciples, so that they might hand it down to others worthy of it; according to 2 Timothy 2:2: 'The things which thou hast heard of me by many witnesses, the same command to faithful men, who shall be fit to teach others.' This is foreshadowed, Numbers 4, where the sons of Aaron are commanded to wrap up the sacred vessels that were to be carried by the Levites." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"But that what He had said might be made more manifest He adds, 'Therefore I speak to them in parables: because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand'. Had this been a natural blindness, He ought to have opened their eyes; but forasmuch as it is voluntary, therefore He said not simply, 'They see not,' but Seeing they see not. For they had seen the demons going out, and they said, He casts out demons by Beelzebub, they heard that He drew all men to God, and they say, This man is not of God. Therefore because they spoke...contrary to what they saw and heard, to see and to hear is taken from them; for they profit nothing, but rather fall under judgment. For this reason He spoke to them at first not in parables, but with much clearness; but because the perverted all they saw and heard, He now speaks in parables" (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"Just in the same way as He speaks parables, so also His deeds are parables; therefore He comes hungry to seek fruit off the fig tree, and though He knew the time of figs was not yet, He condemns it to perpetual barrenness, that He might show that the Jewish people could not be saved through the leaves, that is, the words of righteousness which it had, without fruit, that is, good works, but should be cut down and cast into the fire. Hungering therefore, that is, desiring the salvation of mankind, He saw the fig tree, which is, the Jewish people, having leaves, or, the words of the Law and the Prophets, and He sought upon it the fruit of good works, by teaching them, by rebuking them, by working miracles, and He found it not, and therefore condemned it. Do you too, unless you would be condemned by Christ in the judgment, beware of being a barren tree, but rather offer to Christ the fruit of piety which He requires." (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: Parables of Jesus

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