January 28, 2022

Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church

With many such parables, [Jesus] spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it. Without parables, he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples, he explained everything in private.

Matthew better describes the many parables that Jesus used with the people. Mark and Luke imply that Jesus used parables rather than speaking clearly so that the people would not understand what he was saying, though he did explain things to the disciples. One beauty of parables is that they do not have only one meaning. They speak to us at various moments of our lives and engage our imagination differently. Explaining a parable is like having someone explain a joke. That’s the quickest way to kill the joke!

Parables are brilliant ways of teaching. Does anyone need to hear an explanation of the prodigal son? Or the good Samaritan? They continue to speak to us through the centuries, and an explanation would rob them of their power. Jesus was one of the finest teachers of all time; in the same way, we can say that Saint Thomas was one of the finest theologians in our church.

Appreciating the teaching of Jesus requires familiarity with the Scriptures. We have the Liturgy of the Word at Mass, now greatly enriched since Vatican II. We would be remiss if we did not also read God’s word regularly and if we did not use our periods of adoration to deepen our appreciation of the teachings of Christ. The lessons are all there for us, but only if we take the trouble to study and ponder them regularly.

Let Us Pray:

O Jesus, my Master, help me appreciate your word more and more and nourish myself by the Scriptures you offer us to understand you and your teaching better and better.


Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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About Paul J. Bernier, SSS

Blessed Sacrament Father Paul J. Bernier served for many years as the editor of Emmanuel. He is a popular writer, preacher, and director of retreats. Among his many published works is Ministry in the Church: A Historical and Pastoral Approach, Second Edition, published by Orbis Books in 2015. His most recent book is A Eucharistic Spirituality: Inspired by Saint Peter Julian Eymard – Apostle of the Eucharist, which he co-authored with Jim Brown.