I had a Sunday Catholic childhood. I had a fallen away Catholic late teens/early twenties. But by my thirties, Catholic had become the defining characteristic of my life, personally and professionally. What set my foot upon this path wasn’t theological treatises or detailed explanations of doctrine. For me . . . it was stories and conversations.
What drew me into a deeper understanding of and appreciation for my Catholic faith was J.R.R. Tolkien and Sigrid Undset, blog posts about hospitality and moms at our homeschool parkday who didn’t know how many kids they were going to have.
These stories and conversations that imparted Catholic Truth, but in a way that was comfortable and accessible, remind me of what we read about Jesus in today’s Gospel.
“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 4:34)
Just as Middle Earth and medieval Norway and party planning tips and jokes about NFP gave me that yearning to discover more about the Catholic faith and life, Jesus’ stories of commonplace things and places, like vineyards, seeds, and wedding banquets, allowed His followers to connect His messages to their own life experience. Even to skeptics, parables gave Jesus’ words a more conversational feel which must have been less intimidating than laying a bunch of straight-up doctrine on people.
Now, as then, God speaks to us through stories, through our experiences, and the people around us.
After drawing them in with parables, Jesus called His disciples to private conversation with Him, in which He explained everything. How beautiful is that? Even now, in the privacy of personal prayer, we can seek those same revelations.
See a deeper discussion into the "why" behind the parables in the Catechism.
Kendra Tierney is a forty two year old mother of nine and wife of one living in and working on a big old fixer-upper house in Los Angeles. She's a homeschooler and a regular schooler and is relishing the new freedom from carpooling that's come with a sixteen-year-old in the house. Her new book, The Catholic All Year Compendium, Liturgical Living for Real Life, is here. You can find her first book, A Little Book About Confession, here, her blog here, and her word art here.