The Gospel of Matthew: a commentary & meditation 
 "This people's heart has grown dull and their ears are heavy of hearing"

Scripture:  Matthew 13:10-17

10 Then the disciples came and said to him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?" 11 And he answered them, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.  12 For to him who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which says: `You shall indeed hear but never understand, and you shall indeed see but never perceive. 15 For this people's heart has grown dull, and their ears are heavy of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn for me to heal them.'  16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not  hear it.
Meditation:  Jesus told his disciples that not everyone would understand his parables. Did Jesus mean to say that he was deliberately confusing his listeners? Very likely not. Jesus was speaking from experience. He was aware that some who heard his parables refused to understand them. It was not that they could not intellectually understand them, but rather, their hearts were closed to what Jesus was saying. They had already made up their minds to not believe. God can only reveal the secrets of his kingdom to the humble and trusting person who acknowledges the need for God and for his truth. The parables of Jesus will enlighten us if we approach them with an open mind and heart, ready to let them challenge us. If we approach them with the conviction that we already know the answer, then we, too, may look but not see, listen but not hear or understand.  God's word can only take root in a receptive heart that is ready to believe and willing to submit.  If we want to hear and to understand God's word, we must listen  with godly fear and reverence.   Do you believe God's word and do you submit to it with trust and reverence?

"Holy Spirit, fan the flame of God's love within me and consume me with your fire, that I may grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ and ever seek to do his will. May my heart never grow dull and may my ears never tire of listening to the voice of Christ."


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(c) 2002 Don Schwager