“On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he had to get into a boat and sit down while the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them at length in parables”. Matthew 13:1
Even though we find ourselves, more than ever, under lockdown or quarantined, Our Blessed Lord never allowed Himself to be held involuntarily under house arrest. During His time on this earth, He was more of an outdoors-type rather than a stay-at-home guy!
Often, we read of the many times Our Lord went down to the harbor, the shoreline, the crowded marketplaces and town squares where the crowds had gathered. He didn’t stand on the shore and look into the vastness of the ocean. Instead He gets into a boat (which is often used as a symbol of the Church), and from there, He looks at the whole crowd of humanity, upon the faces of everyone – yours and mine. Even though we may be wearing coverings over our mouth and nose, Christ’s look focuses on eyes. And what does He see?
Each face in the crowd, covered or uncovered, tells a story, a life. Christ does not speak to a crowd. He speaks to the individual, to one’s soul. For that reason, He often speaks in parables – coded language because not one of our lives is really the same.
His parables can sometimes go over our head. Sometimes they appear to be just nice stories, like storybook illustrations. But if we ask the Holy Spirit to open our minds and our souls to the Word of God, taking time to listen, to read His parables again and again, slowly, and carefully we will often see our lives somehow reflected in the images Christ creates in His illustrations. His parables can reach those unique moments in our lives when we know that He is speaking to me, individually, personally in the uniqueness of my life and circumstances. Christ is looking into my eyes, into my life!
Go back to that first line – “Jesus went out of the house”. How did He get in the house to begin with? Was He escaping a “stay-at-home order”. The final verses of the previous chapter of this portion of the Gospel (take a look at it) tells us that Our Blessed Mother came to visit Him at that time. He had just completed a preaching mission. Maybe, after He had finished, Our Lord took His mother to a private house to spend some time with her. And then the portion of the Gospel we read for this week picks up what happened next. “On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around… And he spoke to them at length in parables”
Having spent some quiet time with His Mother, which parable did He go on to speak to the crowd about? Open up your Bible and read Matthew 13: 1-23. It’s the Parable of the Sower and the Seeds. God is the sower and the Word of God as the seed! Could our Lord have been thinking of His Mother when He told the crowd that “But some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit”? For what do we say concerning Our Blessed Mother, “Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus”.
While we are at home, read this portion of the Gospel and allow it to unmask the circumstances of your life right now. How does the Seed of God find you? What type of soil do you find your life rooted in right now? The Lord’s parable allows us to test our soil, the garden of our souls.
If we are to hear God’s Word speaking to us in the secret of our lives, let us aim to do so by imitating Mary, who not only received and understood that Word, but who in turn gave that Word to the world so that we might hear Him speaking into the depths of and circumstances of our lives. He does so by first looking into our eyes, the windows of our soul, and addresses this parable to us. Sometimes, stay-at-home is not a bad thing after all, if we do so looking after our garden.