Jul 30 – Memorial for St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop & Doctor
An adult convert, St. Peter (406-450) fought paganism and heresy, enforced reforms, and built several churches and ornate altars in his see. A preacher with outstanding language skills, he was given the name ‘Chrysologus’, referring to his ‘golden word’. 176 of his sermons have survived; it is the strength of these beautiful explanations of the Incarnation, the Creed, the place of Mary and John the Baptist in the great plan of salvation, etc., that led to his being proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1729.
– Patron Saint Index
The Lord said this to me, ‘Go and buy a linen loincloth and put it round your waist. But do not dip it in water.’ And so, as the Lord had ordered, I bought a loincloth and put it round my waist. A second time the word of the Lord was spoken to me, ‘Take the loincloth that you have bought and are wearing round your waist; up! Go to the Euphrates and hide it in a hole in the rock.’ So I went and hid it near the Euphrates as the Lord had ordered me. Many days afterwards the Lord said to me, ‘Get up and go to the Euphrates and fetch the loincloth I ordered you to hide there.’ So I went to the Euphrates, and I searched, and I took the loincloth from the place where I had hidden it. The loincloth was spoilt, good for nothing. Then the word of the Lord was addressed to me, Thus says the Lord: In the same way I will spoil the arrogance of Judah and Jerusalem. This evil people who refuse to listen to my words, who follow the dictates of their own hard hearts, who have followed alien gods, and served them and worshipped them, let them become like this loincloth, good for nothing. For just as a loincloth clings to a man’s waist, so I had intended the whole House of Judah to cling to me – it is the Lord who speaks – to be my people, my glory, my honour and my boast. But they have not listened.’
Jesus put another parable before the crowds, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest shrub of all and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches.’
He told them another parable, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.’
In all this Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables; indeed, he would never speak to them except in parables. This was to fulfil the prophecy:
I will speak to you in parables
and expound things hidden since the foundation of the world.
I will speak to you in parables and expound things hidden…
One of the earliest books I remember growing up with was Aesop’s Fables. A Greek storyteller, Aesop imbued his stories of everyday life with moral truths. Perhaps we might recognize some of the titles: The Hare and the Tortoise, The Lion and the Mouse, The Boy Who Cried Wolf. All these stories served to help us understand in simple terms the message behind them.
Jesus taught in parables, keeping things simple and based on rural themes. But even the disciples could not understand everything that was taught, and would ask Jesus to explain. At times, they were also even too afraid to clarify with Jesus. When they asked Jesus why he taught in parables, Jesus said, “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand”
There are times when I have read passages in the Bible myself, and not fully understood, despite reading over and over. While writing this reflection, I understand what the disciples must have felt. More importantly, I understand what Jesus meant by seeing and not seeing, hearing but not hearing or understanding. For if I had known from the start what the passages meant, then I would have moved on to the next, and the next, without probably pausing long enough to let the full meaning sink in. If I had understood at the start, I would not have asked the Holy Spirit for the wisdom of discernment. I would instead, have leaned on my own understanding, instead of allowing God to work in me and revealing it to me.
Sometimes things are hidden from us for a reason, but it is in trying to uncover the meaning where the real message truly is.
(Today’s Oxygen by Annette Soo)
Prayer: Lord, we pray for the Holy Spirit to open up our hearts and our minds to understand the Word of God.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for showing us that with time, God’s purpose for us will be revealed, and it is in looking for the meaning that we may discover God’s message to us.