Sunday, 2 October 2016

The Reading of the Scriptures by Fr Felix, O.F.M.Cap. part 3.

Closely allied to the simile is the parable, which we meet especially in the Gospels where it is so frequently made a vehicle of His teaching by the Son of God. A parable is a sustained or continued simile. The parables of the Gospel are of surpassing beauty, rich in glorious and varied imagery simple, yet profound; abounding in force and divine eloquence—God condescending not only to teach us the truths of eternal life, but further to accommodate that teaching to our limited understanding so that we may be led from the things of sight and sound to the higher truth; of the immaterial order. "The kingdom of heaven is said to be like to things of space in order that the mind may rise from the things which it knows to those which it knows not.'' (St. Gregory, the Great,* Homily II on the Gospels). In all these similes and parables there is first of all the image taken from ordinary human affairs; for instance, the unjust steward of St. Luke 16, 1-9, who, having neglected his employer's interests, is called to account. This must be studied and clearly visualised, to begin with. Secondly, there is the point of comparison,—in every case one particular truth is emphasised, and the comparison is pointed to demonstrate that truth. In this parable of the unjust steward the point of comparison is his sagacity and foresight in making provision for his future by remitting debts due to his master while he still has power to do so; "And the lord commended the unjust steward, forasmuch as he had done wisely" (i.e. prudently). (St. Luke 16, 8). The question of the dishonesty of his action does not enter at all. The only point at issue is the prudence he displays in regard to his future temporal welfare. This then leads on to the third feature of the parable, viz., the spiritual truth to be demonstrated. This is demonstrated in our parable here by force of contrast: "the children of this world are wiser in. their generation than the children of light.." (St. Luke 16, 8). People display keener astuteness in their temporal than in their spiritual affairs.