July 23, 2020
by Larry Gillick, S.J.
Creighton University's Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
click here for photo and information about the writer

Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 398

Jeremiah 2:1-3, 7-8, 12-13
Psalm 36:6-7ab, 8-9, 10-11
Matthew 13:10-17

Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Gather Us In: Thoughts on the Synod on Family

Shakespeare, in Sonnet 116, spends sixteen lines of flowery words with a couple of fine images and some good words. Why didn’t he just come out clear, straight and simple and say that he’s in favor of married-love? He closes his poem with a clever little thought that if what he wrote is proved to be not true, then “I never writ nor no man ever loved”. He could have said that more plainly, too.

I once taught Shakespeare to high school Sophomores and they would often sound like the paragraph above. “Why didn’t she just come right out and say it!” I once memorized this very sonnet for my learned Jesuit English professor. I went to his room and declaimed it with as much of my heart as I had at the time. He listened to it quietly and then responded, “The only problem with that, Gillick, is it sounds like you’ve never been in love”. That darn Shakespeare.

In today’s Gospel we hear the Sophomore-class of His disciples wanting to know why He speaks poetically in these parables. Why doesn’t he just come right out and say, that some are going to get it and some just might and some really will. That’s very clear!

Parables, like Aesop’s Fables, are easier to remember; they’re catchy and employ the imagination. What Jesus is doing is more than teaching them to memorize. Jesus is revealing to them that they are receiving something which is new and will always be new.   The disciples are hearing, listening, seeing and taking it all into their hearts, but slowly, because they are only in their Sophomore year with their Teacher.

What is all this for us? There is something just under the surface in us which desires certainty, clarity and solidness. This is human and healthy. There is something deeper within us which longs for completion and not easy answers. Poems like parables touch that deeper place which desires searching, pondering and actually trust more than the boredom of finding solutions.

Do you want a clear explanation of human love? That would not walk with you very far and you would not ever know what love is. Love is the basis of the very existence of God Who cannot be figured out. Love and be loved and you will never be able to explain it, especially to Sophomores.  Jesus never wanted to be explainable, but gracefully experienced.
If this be not true, then I never writ either! 

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