January 27, 2023 –
Friday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time
With many such parables He spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Jesus today proclaims two parables about the Kingdom of God. With St. John Paul adding the Mysteries of Light to the Rosary, we meditate in the Third Luminous Mystery upon Jesus proclaiming the Kingdom of God. St. John Paul did not go into great detail about the meaning of each of the new Luminous Mysteries, but—to me at least—that third mystery is the most mysterious of the Luminous Mysteries. After all, it’s very clear how, for example, the Institution of the Holy Eucharist or the Transfiguration shed light upon—illuminate—who Jesus is. But how does Jesus proclaiming the Kingdom of God do so? We’re forced to meditate upon what exactly the connection is between Jesus and the Kingdom of God.
Jesus never directly addresses this question. His parables are meant to be suggestive, not exhaustive. But even without defining “the Kingdom of God”, we can say that the kernel of each “Kingdom parable” describes in some way the reality of Heaven, and/or the Church, and/or the Christian’s soul. Each of these three have a clear relation to Jesus: the reality of Heaven, the life of the Church, and the nature of the Christian soul.
Take Jesus’ second parable in today’s Gospel passage. The change from the “smallest of all the seeds” to “the largest of plants” seems more easily applied to the Church and the Christian soul than to Heaven. Tertullian wrote that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church”, a phrase through which we can see how this parable applies to the Church. With God, all things are possible: from a natural death, springs supernatural life.