mustard tree 3

…for I AM does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but I AM looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16.7)
…he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples (Mark 4.34)

THE ANCIENT CHINESE TAO TE CHING begins, “Tao that is called Tao is not Tao.” The wise master Lau Tsu is opening to the listener that Tao, the Way, Road etc might be something he can point to but it is not something he can manifest in words. Tao is to be experienced rather than apprehended or communicated with the mind. Language cannot transmit the essence but merely signpost the presence. St Thomas Aquinas taught that when we speak of God we speak in analogia, analogy; we can say something about what an attribute of God is like by relating to some human or phenomenal experience but God is always more than we can imagine and are therefore able to name.
That Jesus taught with parable and metaphor is beyond any reasonable doubt. Even the most reason-conservative scholars accept that the parables are “among the sayings which we can confidently ascribe to the historical Jesus; they are, for the most part, authentic words of Jesus” (Dr Madeline Boucher). All Jesus’ major themes, most agree, are to be found in the parables. Why did Jesus teach in this way?
Just like the prophet Isaiah, Jesus makes comment in the Gospels that people often do not understand. In Mark 4.10-12, Jesus references Isaiah 6.9-10 when he says “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; in order that ‘they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.” But we can read this not as Jesus being harsh, angry or exasperated but rather as an exclamation born in regretful love. Jesus uses metaphor to flash light into people’s hearts and minds to illumine truth in them about God within and without them. Contemplating the flash and the light away from the crowds of our actions and thoughts, we let Christ take us to the Experience.


~ by Fr Tim Ardouin on June 14, 2018.

One Response to “LIKE…A MUSTARD SEED”

  1. Awww hyfryd this is!

    I think, When we have our own authentic experience with God it opens up our ‘hearts ears’ to hear and understand.

    He he he ‘heart ears’. Metaphor much!!

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