January 31, 2019
by Rev. Steve Ryan
Creighton University's School of Dentistry
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saint John Bosco, Priest
Lectionary: 320

Hebrews 10:19-25
Pslams 24:1-2, 3-4ab, 5-6
Mark 4:21-25

Praying Ordinary Time

We find some stand-alone fragments in today’s Gospel passage.  In seeking what such might mean, one usually looks to what precedes and what follows them.

The early Christian community struggled with the reality that many had rejected the message of Jesus.  How could they?  A theme in Mark’s Gospel finds the cause in the parables.   The disciples and inner circle apprehend their meaning—somewhat.  The rest remain mystified.

“The mystery of the kingdom of God has been granted to [the Disciples and inner circle].  But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that

  • They may look and see but not perceive, and listen but not understand,
  • In order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.” (4:11-12).


By telling his close followers that “there is nothing hidden except to be made visible, nothing is secret except to come to light.”  Christ is saying the hiddenness of the message is only temporary.  What was seen and heard by the inner circle will eventually come to full exposure.  Wait, hope and see.

But there’s a nagging related question that doesn’t want to go away.

Do parables harden hearts?

Take the parable of the good Samaritan.  The point is that any person, anywhere on the planet, is your neighbor. Period.  No exceptions. The parable will enlighten and soften some hearts, but not others.

Parables do not harden people’s hearts. 

Hearts do that on their own.

A cautionary tale, and food for thought, deep in the grip of winter, here in the northern hemisphere.

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.

Sharing this reflection with others by Email, on Facebook or Twitter:

Email this pageFacebookTwitter

Print Friendly

See all the Resources we offer on our Online Ministries Home Page

Daily Reflection Home

Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook