Queen of Heaven Catholic Church

1800 Steese Road • Uniontown, Ohio 44685 • 330-896-2345

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Pastoral Letter

July 23, 2017 - The 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

A Note from Deacon Steve

Our Gospel passages from St. Matthew, last week, this week and next, focus on a number of the parables of Jesus. Over these three weeks, we hear our Lord speaking of sowers, seed and corresponding various kinds of ground. He tells us of treasures buried in a field, a pearl of great price and nets thrown into the sea. All in all, our Lord’s parables form approximately one-third of his teachings in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.
We’ve heard them often, and most are familiar – but do we truly understand their message? If, at first glance, we think we know what the parable means, chances are we’ve missed the point of the story.

Parables were a common way for Jewish rabbis to teach. And Jesus, being the good rabbi that he was, often used this literary device as a way of conveying a deep, theological truth. In his parables, Jesus offers his listeners a chance to accept certain truths in the abstract, before they perceive how those truths apply to them personally. It’s a way of slipping potentially uncomfortable realities through his listeners’ mental defense mechanisms.

Parables use illustrations from everyday life that are simply understood and readily brought to mind – illustrations that invite the listener into the image and the message. Although they may reflect everyday life events, parables at the same time maintain a sense of mystery about them. In fact, these seemingly straightforward stories are intended not to settle issues but to challenge the listener to think more deeply about what it is Jesus needs to convey.

I invite you to spend a few moments this next week and reflect on the meaning of one of the following parables. Or, if you care to choose, dive into any of the other fifty or so parables found in the Gospels. Think about what Jesus has in mind for you specifically when he tells you the story. What’s he trying to get across? How does our Lord want you to think or act differently after hearing the parable? Do our Lord’s words challenge you to think or behave differently? The following are a few of our Lord’s great stories:
Matthew 13: 1-23
The Parable of the Sower Luke 10: 25-37
The Parable of the Good Samaritan Luke 15: 11-32 The Parable of the Prodigal Son
Stop by and say hello after Mass next weekend; I’d like to hear how our Lord challenged you in your parable prayer time!
May God bless your soul with his great blessings and make it all His!
Deacon Steve