The Mysteries of the Kingdom

June 16, 2024
Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
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With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it. Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private. Mark 4:33–34

The deepest mysteries of our faith can only be understood by someone who has deep faith. Understanding requires much more than just a keen intellect; it also requires an interior attentiveness to and familiarity with the voice of God. For that reason, as Jesus spoke to the crowds, He used parables and figures of speech rather than speaking directly about the mysteries of Heaven.

By analogy, if you were to attend a very special feast and you had well-formed taste buds, you might enjoy being served the best cut of meat cooked to perfection with a fine glass of wine. But to a small child, such a meal might not be that appealing. The same is true with music. If you were a musician who studied and played music throughout life, then you might have a greater appreciation for certain types of music. Others might simply be drawn to a certain type of music by the beat or because it has catchy lyrics.

In a similar way, a person who has only a little faith might not be immediately drawn into the deepest mystical truths of God when they are explained directly and clearly. Instead, they might find that a simplified Gospel message that uses familiar imagery or stories is better able to catch their attention and communicate the message.

This is good for us to understand because it’s good for us to turn to the means of communication with God most suited for our depth of faith and understanding. For most people, it will be very useful to see themselves as one of those people in the crowds to whom Jesus spoke His parables. We should especially see ourselves as a part of the crowds as we begin our journey of faith. However, when a person has spent much time in prayer and meditation over the years and their faith begins to deepen, they may find that parables and stories are not as inspiring as they once were. They need more. They long for God to speak to them more clearly and deeply.

Practically speaking, as your faith grows, it is good to look for the deeper ways that God speaks to you. How does He come to you and explain His will and the truths of faith more directly as Jesus did to the Apostles? Perhaps reading the lives of the saints, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or some other spiritual book will engage you more deeply. Also, some Scripture passages may feed you more as you grow in faith, such as the passages where Jesus speaks more directly to His disciples.

Reflect, today, upon the way that you are most fully fed by God’s holy Word at this point in your life. The best way to identify this is to consider what it is that has given you the most consolation and inspiration as of late. How has God’s Word most powerfully resonated within you over this past year? Identifying the way that God has spoken to you recently is the best way to decide how to continue to receive from Him all that He wants to teach you and reveal to you at this point of your journey of faith. Continue to seek out God’s voice, and be open to letting Him draw you ever more deeply into the beautiful depths of the mysteries of His Kingdom.

Glorious Word of God, You choose to speak to Your people in varied ways. To some, You speak through parables and figures of speech. To others, You speak more directly and intimately, revealing the depths of Your Heart. Please speak to me in the ways that will deepen my faith so that I can continue my journey into the many mysteries You wish to reveal. Jesus, I trust in You.

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Featured images above: Sorrowful Mother Shrine Chapel (Bellevue, Ohio) – stained glass, Jesus Zealous for Souls – detail, via Wikimedia Commons